Daughters and Unplanned Long Term Care Needs

I have become that statistic - an adult child who changes her life when parents age and the inevitable happens. What's the inevitable? One parent dies.

In my case it was sudden, unexpected and the parent we thought would perish first didn't. My dear father passed quickly from pancreatic cancer this year. He and my Mom were married for 61 years and had a wonderful life together.

So in my Mother's worst year ever I have planned with her what will happen next. For many years Mom and Dad were Idaho residents who were Arizona snowbirds. Now widowed, Mom wished to live year round in Arizona. But that was not a good idea if her only option was to live on her own and far from any other family.

I've spent the intervening months planning with Mom to relocate myself and my business to Arizona, to the same little community she has been coming to with Dad. Much of this time I was unable to share my thoughts and plans with people I knew, even those closest to me. I needed to cope internally first, and now can be more public. This writing is the start.

It has taken a huge effort to make it all happen and I'm not done yet. Far from it. We know the future probably holds some care for Mom and it is likely I'll be doing that. She didn't purchase long term care insurance. So we as family will have to manage what we can and she'll likely spend all her money for what she needs at some point.

What's it done to my business? Essentially put me out of business for the balance of this year. I hope to begin in the new year. But I don't even know if I'll be able to work full time because an unforeseen event occurred!

I'm seeing my future today. Mom injured her back packing her personal belongings so we could move and that injury worsened when we arrived in Arizona. She has been to the hospital twice[i] and is now a patient in a rehabilitation hospital. Will she fully recover? We don't know yet. Right now she can't walk and do things she needs to do daily for her independence without help. It could be chronic, she could have some improvement or she could return to her pre-injury abilities and health.

If you prefer that your children don't disrupt their lives, change all their own plans and perhaps live someplace they didn't intend, plan ahead. My family's situation is different. Usually the parents move in with the adult children. Without planning ahead, one of these IS probably your plan. And, again, I can't say this strongly enough. She'll likely use all her funds and some of mine to pay for what care she needs as she ages and reaches end of life. Consider some type of insurance designed to help with long term care costs so people can be hired to assist, your family can be your family not your caregiver, and everyone can have peace of mind, dignity, and a brighter future.

Andria Bovey



[i] Mom's hospital stays were under "observation". See our October 15 blog about that subject.

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