See any new grey hair when you woke up this morning? America is getting older, and more family members find themselves becoming caregivers for their Mom or Dad. The family usually finds itself in a crisis when no advance plan was put in place to address the financial costs and burdens of aging.
Being a caregiver is not easy. A considerable amount of stress and physical effort comes with being a caregiver for a person in a long-term care situation. Helping a person with their daily activities of daily living is hard on a good day. When you add the stress of caregiving and its pressure on the caregiver’s other responsibilities, it becomes a recipe for disaster unless you can manage the pressure effectively.
Remember, a caregiver needs to juggle caregiving responsibilities with their own responsibilities, including their obligations for their families and careers.
Experts say you should watch for the signs that the stress is becoming too much. These signs include:
- Swings in emotions – from crying to anger
- Wide swings in weight
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Lower interest in family and friends
- Frequent headaches or stomach issues
There are several ways to address stress. Some people seek counseling. The ability to discuss your concerns and emotions with a professional can bring peace to your life. The professional therapist is not there to judge you but to listen. The therapist can give you strategies to deal with your emotions and stress.
Wipe Away Stress with Meditation
The Mayo Clinic says that meditation is a way to “wipe away” the stress and high emotions that come from having the responsibility of caregiving.
You don’t need to keep your worry inside you, and there is no need to live with the anxiety. While some people have medical issues where anxiety medications can help, experts suggest using meditation to see if it helps.
There are many benefits to meditation. It may help you gain a new perspective on your situation. Sometimes a caregiver places blame on their loved one. Often, they place the blame on themselves, and both are wrong.
You can also gain skills to manage your stress better. If you can manage the stress of caregiving, it will benefit your health and that of the loved one you are caring for.
There are many varieties of meditation. Click here and see the many types available.
Time Management Reduces Anxiety
The ability to manage your time will also reduce stress and anxiety. Most family caregivers still have careers and their own families that they must juggle. Once you manage your day and schedule time for yourself and your family, you will reduce some of the pressure that the role of caregiver places on you.
AARP offers ten tips that can help you manage your time – just click here.
If you are already a caregiver, you must deal with the hand you are dealt with. However, what have you done to reduce the stress and burdens placed on your family when you need long-term care in the decades ahead?
Prepare Your Family and Finances for Your Future Care
The best time to prepare your family and your finances for the financial costs and burdens of aging is before you retire, ideally when you are in your 40s or 50s. For many American families, the solution is affordable Long-Term Care Insurance.
You might have read that Long-Term Care Insurance is expensive and very hard to get. The truth is if you purchase a policy at the right time, an LTC policy is very affordable and easy to apply for and own. There are a few basics you should be aware of when thinking about planning:
- Purchase when you enjoy good health. You can’t wait until you need the care to buy a policy. Every insurance company has different underwriting criteria. When you speak with a Long-Term Care Insurance specialist, they will ask you many detailed questions about your health, including getting the names of your medications. Family history also plays a role. If they don’t ask you many detailed questions, you better move on and speak to another agent.
- Premiums vary over 100% between insurance companies for the same benefits. Be sure you speak with a specialist who represents the top companies. They will match you with the best company based on your age, health, and family history.
- Forty-five states offer Partnership Long-Term Care Insurance. These policies provide dollar-for-dollar asset protection. A Partnership policy could be a significant part of your retirement plan by safeguarding your assets even if you were to exhaust all your benefits.
- Several insurance companies offer Hybrid Long-Term Care Insurance policies. The selling point here is you get both a death benefit and a long-term care benefit. These policies are not for everyone, but again, a specialist can help you determine if this might be a good option.
- Many companies offer shared spousal benefits. This means benefits can be shared between partners, even if one passes away.
- Many policies include case management. A nurse case manager can help your family design a plan of care and even find appropriate care. This gives the family time to be family.
Tools to Research LTC Insurance
You can compare the major features of the top insurance companies by clicking here. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator will show you both the current and future cost of care services where you live. You will see the financial consequences professional care services would have on your savings and income.
You also will see state-specific information about long-term care, taxes, tax incentives, and ways to find quality care services. Just click here to access the calculator.
Remember, while long-term health care is expensive, the costs vary depending on where you live and the type of services you require.
Be sure to work with a qualified and trusted Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you navigate the market and design an affordable and appropriate plan. Just click here and find your specialist.
Don’t place your family into the role of caregiver. Give them the time to be family. Your family will have less stress in their life, and everyone will be better off.
About the Author
Linda is a freelance writer interested in retirement planning, health and aging.
Contributor since October 31st, 2017
The problem of long-term care is both a cash flow issue and a family issue. Preparing your family and finances for the financial costs and burdens associated with long-term health care is key to enjoying a successful future retirement.
Being prepared for the costs and burdens of aging is more than just about how you will pay for quality care services. Being prepared is about family. Your family is affected by your changing health, aging, and disability.
Simple mobility problems or even light dementia can create dependency on your family - even if they are not providing the care themselves. When you own an affordable Long-Term Care Insurance policy, you have access to your choice of quality care services, including in-home care - but it doesn't stop there.
LTC Insurance safeguards your income and assets so you can maintain your lifestyle and preserve your legacy. But, perhaps as important as anything else, Long-Term Care Insurance gives your loved ones the time to be family, reducing the stress and anxiety otherwise placed on them.
The time to obtain coverage is before retirement, ideally in your 40s or 50s, when premiums are lower, and your health is better.
Available Resources on LTC NEWS
LTC NEWS offers several tools and resources to help you in your research for a planning solution or help your family find the appropriate care for a loved one at the time of crisis.
To help you plan for the future costs and burdens of changing health and aging, LTC NEWS can put together several resources, including:
- The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator will show you the financial impact of long-term health care where you live. It will also show you state-specific information on tax benefits, care options, rules, and more.
- The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide is an outstanding read to help you get a good overview of the topic area.
- Compare the major insurance companies that offer Long-Term Care Insurance products here - Top Insurers for Long-Term Care Insurance | LTC News.
- A detailed tax guide that includes available tax incentives can be found by reviewing the Long-Term Care Tax Benefits Guide.
Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.
Seek Professional Advice
Experts suggest using a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you navigate the many options available to you and your family. Insurance rates are regulated, so no insurance agent, agency, or financial advisor can give you special deals. However, premiums do vary over 100% between insurance companies for the same coverage.
A specialist who works with the top companies can match your age, health, family history, and other factors and find you the best coverage at the best value. A specialist will save you money, and you will have the peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.
Find Quality Caregivers and Long-Term Care Facilities
If your parent or loved one needs care now - or soon - you will need to find the appropriate care in the right setting depending on their needs.
Take a moment and read -
Get Expert Help Filing an LTC Insurance Claim
LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you, or a loved one complete the claim's process with your Long-Term Care Insurance policy. You can also support finding quality caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News.
Benefits of Reverse Mortgages
Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance.
Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, even help with cash flow during your retirement.
Learn more by asking questions to an expert. LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages.
Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.
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