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Policy Matters

Fourth Quarter 2022


Once upon a time there was a lady who would go home to Canada to visit her widowed mother at Thanksgiving. OK, seriously, I go home once or twice a year and I’ve started seeing a difference in my mother (now 92). My brother, who lives near her, keeps me up-to-date on her wellbeing regularly. Here is what we’ve noticed in the last few years:

  • It started with insecurities about doing her own finances and banking (my brother has been helping her for the past three years)
  • Mom is increasingly confused, not just about her finances, but life in general
  • Forgetfulness. I tried to explain it away and thought “I forget things too,” but on my last two visits, I’ve really noticed it. She has even missed some doctor appointments because she doesn’t mark them down in her calendar or didn’t enter them in correctly.
  • Her license was taken away two years ago so my brother now drives her to all her doctor appointments and keeps the dates and times (in addition to mom doing it)
  • Balance issues. She has fallen several times and, thank goodness, has not hurt herself. She has not had a stroke or any medical event to cause this issue with balance; it just seems to come on with age. She now knows to use her cane when she goes out, but around the house she doesn’t use it. She recently fell in the bathroom between the sink and toilet. We cross our fingers and pray that she doesn’t fall again and have broken bones or head trauma.
  • Mom now does (thankfully) realize she needs to wear her 24-hour-service medical alert device at all times. We purchased this for her about six years ago when she had a heart attack, but for several years she would only use it occasionally. So her confidence in her own health and stability has declined.
  • She doesn’t prepare and eat meals that are nutritious enough, so this summer I tried several senior meal services for her. The first service delivered meals frozen and, according to mom, they had no flavor. So that didn’t last long. Next I tried another service that my friend uses for her own mother and my mom put those in the freezer and eventually ate them, but she doesn’t want any more. So for now we just check to make sure she is eating OK and my brother brings her occasional meals his family has cooked.

About two years ago we contacted a service to have a caregiver come see mom and help with household chores, grocery shopping, and food prep. The first day, the lady came and mom ended up serving her coffee and cookies. Mom told us she didn’t need to come back; that she could look after herself.

We have talked to mom about going into an assisted living facility where several of her friends live, but she doesn’t want to talk about it now (“Maybe in a few months,” she tells us). As my brother says, mom is very good at deferring or saying what she knows we want to hear and then doing what she wants. If we could convince mom to allow a caregiver to come in to assist with everyday activities, it would make my brother’s life easier (and allow him to be son, not full-time caregiver), plus we know mom would enjoy the company.

If she had an LTCi policy, she wouldn’t be eligible to go on claim yet because she can still take care of herself. But when the times comes, if she had a policy I know it would be easier to convince her to get help.

When I saw this article in Think Advisor, I thought it hit the mark with what your clients (and you) ought to be thinking about with the holidays and visits approaching. And timing is everything: By the time I started in the LTCi arena, my parents were already in their 80s, so getting them a policy wasn’t possible. And please urge your clients to talk to their parents sooner than later. When they start seeing differences like the ones we’ve been seeing in my mom, it’s too late to get coverage.

I hope you glean some good tips to share with your clients. And I'm just a phone call or email away for help.

Jill MacNeil
LTCi and Hybrid Specialist


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