Through a series of tragic events, my dad’s sister has entered her late 70’s without any of her 5 children willing or able to take care of her (2 passed away and the other 3 for unknown reasons). My Dad and his sis are not close and the fact that she ended up retiring to SA after visiting here only once from the Bronx, NY (where Dad is originally from) is still somewhat a mystery. I met her one time prior to her moving here when I was in the 8th grade. Without sounding harsh, I have to say that I am not particularly close to my Aunt. I do, along with the rest of my immediate family, want her to be taken care of and in a good situation. Over the course of the 15 years she has lived in Texas life has brought her unthinkable challenges. The worst of these challenges was the loss of the three family members she moved to Texas with…in three consecutive Decembers. She lost her husband, her daughter and then her son one after the other…each December for three years.
For the next few years my elderly parents did their best to care for my aging aunt. She was not in good health and the stress was taking its toll on my sweet parents. My two sisters and I along with my parents then handled another few years working all together to get her what she needed and to keep her in her own home. Ultimately we had to move her to a “senior apartment” where she lived well for about 5 years. Then–last year–things got to the point that we knew we had to put her in a nursing home. I hold power of attorney to handle financial and legal issues and I knew it fell to me to make this tough decision. I say tough not because my aunt was objecting (really–she was pretty cooperative but sadly somewhat unable to fully understand) but instead because of my own mother. At 80 years old herself the task of putting a loved one in a nursing home while facing her own physical limitations was very stressful for my mom. We all got through it but not without a lot of tears, frustration, disagreements….etc.
Aside from the emotional impact that this had, I was ASTONISHED at the financial impact! My aunt worked much of her life as a Registered Nurse and her husband worked for the City of New York. Her monthly income was right around $2500 a month and as some of you know I’m sure…that won’t touch the monthly cost of a nursing home. I was forced to do a spendown of her accounts so that she could receive assistance for her long term care. She didn’t have a lot of money in her accounts and no longer owned property but it was SO SAD and felt just SO WRONG to have to handle it this way. After months and months of getting everything in order things are okay now and she is well taken care of and doing much better overall. The kids and I visit as often as possible. I think this is both good for the kids but I also love brightening the faces of the nursing home residents!
So I am writing this post because this experience made me stop and think about long term care. I have done no research at this point but am curious if any of you have insight on the topic of purchasing a long term care insurance policy. I’m not going to run out and get this tomorrow but after seeing what this did to my aunt and to my parents (thankfully they DO have their long term care plans in place…as well as their funeral arrangements DONE…thank you Dad for saving your five children that stress!), I just want a timeline in my head at this point. Feedback welcome! 🙂