How long has it been since you have seen all of the family?  How are they doing?  Perhaps not as well as last year?  Perhaps it’s time to talk.

It’s the holidays, this is the time of year when many families realize a family member is not doing as well as s(he) has in the past, and may need some help.  Perhaps s(he) just need help with lawn care or snow removal.  It might be the house is not as neat as it always was, or perhaps bills and paperwork are being neglected.  Maybe it’s time to talk.

It’s the Holidays, many families realize a family member may need some help

This is not something we look forward to, and it seems the job more often than not falls to the women in the family.  Women seem to be overwhelmingly tasked with caregiving.  Employers know that the holidays are when female employees often request leave to deal with family issues, making caregiving a workplace issue as well.  Wages are sacrificed and productivity falls; seasonal demands may exacerbate the problem.  An article in the AARP publication estimated that in 2009, there were 66 million unpaid caregivers in the US, and the number is growing.  Unpaid caregivers average 20 hours of caregiving a week.

This caregiving is not without cost.  Caregiving takes a toll on the health of caregivers which lingers long after the death of the family member cared for.  It also costs real money.  In addition to the career and income sacrifices, many caregivers contribute significant dollars while assisting loved ones.

By having a Long-Term Care (LTC) discussion, plans can be made to share the responsibilities.   Other family members may discover they can contribute time and resources to help.  Perhaps professional caregiving either at home or in a facility is required and planning – even at the last minute – can provide solutions, rather than simply spending available money and hoping to qualify for government assistance.  Once financing strategies are discovered, more planning options may become available.

It is the Holidays, family time, perhaps it’s time to talk

The holidays can be an appropriate time to discuss these issues because the family member’s needs might be more apparent.  Any time of year can be a good time to consider how the care you may someday need will impact your family as well.  Are you prepared to handle your long-term care needs?  If you might pay for care, where will the money come from?  What will be left for family after your care needs are over?  Perhaps you might investigate LTC insurance while you are still healthy so that funding is not an issue when you need care.  LTC insurance pays for care in your home, day care facilities, assisted living facilities commonly called CBRF’s or RCAC’s, and traditional nursing homes.  Pennies on the dollar now can save hundreds of thousands of dollars later.

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