I just finished two days of intensive long term care insurance education followed by two days of meetings at the Intercompany Long Term Care Insurance conference in Chicago.
I will spend some more time studying this week and take the CLTC exam to be certified as a Long Term Care Specialist.
The time spent at the conference allowed me to connect with LTC Specialists from across the country and learn all about the products now available in the marketplace to better serve my clients when health care crises occur.
I believe insurance is the cornerstone of financial security and because we never know when health issues will occur or how long they will last, it is a financial vulnerability that affects not only ourselves but our loved ones. Long term care insurance quite simply allows you to afford the care you’ll need and pay for the kind of care you want. Many people think LTC insurance is “nursing home” insurance, and so, have no interest in even thinking about buying a policy because many people never want to live in a nursing home.
LTC insurance has come a long way since its early days in the 70’s when skilled nursing home care is all it was good for. The innovation in the types of care available and the flexibility of today’s insurance allows you to pay for care in your home or assisted living or other “day-care” programs so your primary caregiver (oftentimes a spouse or adult child) can get a much-needed break.
Caregiving is exhausting work and expecting your loved ones to do all of it is not the best scenario for you or for them when the need for care lasts beyond weeks into months and years. Hence, the terms: “Extended Care” or “Long Term Care”.
Caregivers need resources.
Many policies will even allow you to pay your loved ones for helping you – even if they are not a certified care provider.
The closing session of the conference included a trio of speakers from the Alzheimer’s Association. The first speaker was Tom Doyle. Tom shared his personal story of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and secondary Parkinsonism in 2016 at age 63. He went from being a successful college professor to a retired person practically overnight due to his dementia. “He wants to be seen as ‘an individual who has the disease but is not defined by the disease’. He hopes to raise awareness that people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are productive and vibrant, with full lives. He also wants to stress the benefit of early detection and diagnosis.”
The other speakers from the Alzheimer’s Association educated us on the disease and the resources available. The increasing prevalence of Alzheimer's is mindblowing and scary, as was this little tidbit: Cognitive processing power peaks at age 27.
Here are a few of my other notes from the closing session:
Dementia is a syndrome. Alzheimer's Disease is the 5th leading cause of death for those aged 65+. The cost of care for those with Alzheimer's is $290 billion per year currently.
There are 16.1 million Alzheimer's caregivers now.
Caregivers need resources; 85% want respite care and 78% want assistance with chores. The Alzheimer's Association has many resources to support caregivers, including free care consultations. These care consultations have shown to have a positive impact to the emotional health of the caregiver.
There are Alzheimer's Association chapters all over the U.S. and they have many resources to offer. There is a 24-hour helpline: 1-800-272-3900
Awareness is so important – not only about Alzheimer's, but the significant care needed for our elders. Our society is aging and the ramifications will continue to unfold and impact all of us.
I hope this blog gives you some helpful information and also prompts you to consider the importance of long term care insurance, not only for yourself, but for the sake of your loved ones.
Alzheimer's - Know The Signs:
- MEMORY LOSS THAT DISRUPTS DAILY LIFE.
- CHALLENGES IN PLANNING OR SOLVING PROBLEMS.
- DIFFICULTY COMPLETING FAMILIAR TASKS AT HOME, AT WORK OR AT LEISURE.
- CONFUSION WITH TIME OR PLACE.
- TROUBLE UNDERSTANDING VISUAL IMAGES AND SPATIAL RELATIONSHIPS.
- NEW PROBLEMS WITH WORDS IN SPEAKING OR WRITING.
- MISPLACING THINGS AND LOSING THE ABILITY TO RETRACE STEPS.
- DECREASED OR POOR JUDGMENT.
- WITHDRAWAL FROM WORK OR SOCIAL ACTIVITIES.
- CHANGES IN MOOD AND PERSONALITY.
 Cook, Elizabeth “Alzheimer’s Association National Early-Stage Advisor: Tom Doyle” Alzheimer’s Association - Illinois Chapter (blog). October 4, 2018.