I recently made a long-term care (LTC) insurance presentation to a 62 year old woman, still working full-time. She was very eager to meet with me and learn about how LTC works and how much it costs. Before my visit, she explained that she smokes and is so small she’s almost below desirable height and weight guidelines, because she is a caregiver. She went on at length, emptying her heart to me before we even met. I think she knew I understood what she was going through. I think she is in a state where she is continuously overwhelmed by her circumstances, to the point where they pre-occupy her subconsciously. I’m sure she is effective at work, but I feel her load is so heavy and overwhelming that it must cast a gray cloud over everything she does.
She described her constant state of concern about her husband, because he suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease. Evidently, he is still able to stay at home, unsupervised, during the day, while she works. I believe she realizes this may not be the optimal alternative for him, and that he may fall into harm’s way. When she returns home at night, and during weekends, her life is consumed by her caregiving responsibilities. To hear her tell it, she has no social life whatsoever. She is extremely aware of the fact that although her husband is presently able to remain home during the day unsupervised, she knows its only a matter of time before this will no longer be possible. She also expressed fear of when that day might come. Hers is a one day at a time existence. She cannot make any plans. Indeed, she commented that all the plans they had made, have changed. I think she’s like a bird in a cage. I have tremendous empathy for her.
Who would understand better than this woman, the urgent need for her to buy LTC insurance?
During my presentation, we talked about the fact that if LTC had been in place for her husband, their economic and social situation would be entirely different. For example, there would be a caregiver at home, to offer her respite. She would not be worrying about how to pay for care. She would not be carrying the same large burden, and nagging fear of the worst. We talked about LTC being necessary so that her son would not be caught in the same dilemma if she winds up needing any type of care. We talked about the dignity of having choices, and not having to depend entirely on loved ones, that LTC insurance can provide.
I am blogging about this because of the disturbing outcome of this story. Unfortunately, I have encountered similar circumstances and outcomes over and over, in my 19 years as a long-term care insurance specialist. Perhaps no one understands the importance of LTC insurance better than this lady. Often, people in these situations get paralyzed, like a deer caught in headlights. They are unable to see the forest for the trees. They are panicked. They are frozen. They are unable to come to decisions. They feel they cannot afford to spend any money. I showed this lady some very low LTC premiums, but she was unable to go forward with an application.
This makes me so sad.