JOYN’s Behavior Wealth Management model teaches that your wealth is much more than just money. A key element of wealth is it helping you nurture relationships with your spouse or partner, parents, siblings and other family members.
If you haven’t already, you probably someday will face difficult conversations, and complex and frightening decisions, about caregiving for an aging family member. You may need to address: Where he or she should live? Which daily activities are still practical and safe? What kind of specialized treatment is needed and how to pay for it?
“Many of our clients are part of a first-time ‘sandwich generation’ that will help care for parents who will live for long periods of time with chronic illnesses and dementia while having children at home,” notes JOYN CEO David Geller. “They are desperate for more information about what to do.”
These topics were addressed at JOYN’s first ever Conversations on Caregiving Panel event held November 29, 2018.
The evening was designed to help our community find tactics and actionable information for family caregivers either during or beginning their caregiving planning. The panel presentation will feature recognized experts providing clarity on the tough subjects and the unknowns that drive our sense of fear and anxiety in caring for our aging loved ones.
The expert panelists represented a wide array of caregiving sectors, including elder law, geriatric care, real estate, and wealth management fields. Collectively, they have over 97 years of experience in their fields. JOYN’s investment advisors and outside partners offer consultation and analysis that can help you more confidently address these elder care issues. In addition to the panel, you can garner benefits from our other workshops, such as our next Seasons of Care Workshop on Jan. 31.
Here are a few of the challenges the panel discussed.
Long Term Care Insurance
The evening featured an emphasis on long term care insurance. While the need for, and cost of, nursing homes and other care sources continue to climb, there are some encouraging developments for you in the U.S. marketplace, including
1) “More insurance companies are creating and selling hybrid products that add long term care coverage as a rider to their whole life policies or annuities,” Charlie says. These hybrids often give you the choice of collecting long term care benefits at one time as an indemnity, rather than in smaller amounts as you are billed by a care provider.
2) “A number of life insurers also now offer long term care policies with guaranteed premiums and caps on how long they will be paid,” Charlie adds. That could lead to more people buying coverage at the recommended age 50.
3) More than 40 state insurance departments have passed rules to hold down the size and frequency of long term care premium hikes.
Approaching a Parent About Change
What are some warning signs that should push you to initiate a conversation with a parent about investigating an assisted living or nursing facility? A few are if he or she:
▪ is cooking less often and has a poor diet.
▪ often gets lost driving unless a passenger is along.
▪ is spending less time out of the house with friends.
▪ shows increasingly poor grooming.
▪ has a hard time keeping up with basic finances.
▪ is more forgetful and has difficulty following instructions.
“Once you get to the table, it is critical to talk with and not at a parent,” says Sherri Selman, co-founder of NexSeason Transitions, an Alpharetta senior real estate advisory business.
“You’ve got to make sure that the elder loved one feels included in this conversation,” Sherri says. “Kids can’t tell them what to do, or you can get into a battle of wills where nothing gets accomplished.”
Choices at the End of Life
An even more devastating conversation involves a seriously ill family member who faces end-of-life care decisions.
In her experience, JOYN panelist Dr. Dwana Bush, a Roswell specialist in hospice and palliative care, has learned that most of her patients (as well as their spouses) are resolute about spending as little of their remaining time as possible in treatment centers. Most often, their highest priority is to maximize the time they spend with loved ones or on treasured activities.
“They want more hospitality, less hospital,” Dwana explains. A doctor who continues to make house calls, she has shaped her treatment approach around these wishes and seen shorter drop-offs in patients’ health and longer periods of stability before hospice admittance is needed.
“If you address tough caregiving issues with a parent in the right way,” David summarizes, “you move from what you saw as this terrible burden to also giving your parent the great gift of dignity, and a way to show love back and forth.”