The Fearless Cregiver

Gary Barg - Editor-in-Chief, Today's Caregiver Magazine

Racing Through The Hourglass

”Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Days of Our Lives.”

So goes the familiar opening refrain to the daytime soap opera my grandmother loved so much.  It runs through my mind whenever I think back two decades to when both of my grandparents took ill. Although, when I remember the constant financial challenges we faced as our grandparents’ family caregivers, it felt more like being trapped in the hourglass as it rapidly filled with quicksand.

This once proud and resourceful couple ran every possible bit of savings through that hourglass (as well as monies from family members); but after a while, they were simply financially unable to remain at home and we opted for long-term care placement.  While it was an appropriate care option for them—they were treated well and were regularly visited by family members—it (according to Gramp) still wasn’t home.

Over these past years, it has been motivating to see that so many caregivers are conducting a fearless analysis of their loved ones’ resources and equities. Many of these financial options were not available to us so many years ago. A thorough review of these resources would include: determining what insurances do they have (including pre-need and long-term care); what financial accounts are available (stocks, bonds, savings and checking); what support is available from family (can/will family members pitch in?); what government resources are available (Medicare, Medicaid); and what assets do they own (including home equity). If you feel you need assistance when you take on this task, make sure you seek expert advice.  Do not be misinformed by what your brother-in-law’s plumber’s aunt’s hairdresser’s sister said about the current state of the financial options available to you.

Only after such an analysis can you fearlessly review what resources you have at hand to help your loved ones remain in their homes. For example, one family caregiver I met realized that by developing a resource and equity plan for her loved ones, she was able to fully rehab their home of 50 years, allowing them to age in place safely and comfortably.

And don’t forget that after you have finished determining your loved ones’ financial options, you might think about developing a plan for your own future needs.

Twenty years ago, we needed to move our grandparents from their home in order to maintain their quality of life. Maybe, with the right information and support, your loved ones’ home can, safely and securely, remain their castle.   




  Genworth Financial - 866-643-2231
Genworth Financial
Gary Barg
Today's Caregiver magazine
Wednesday October 13 , 2010
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