Promises That Can Bend Without Breaking is the title of a Modern Love column in the New York Times. I am a faithful reader of Modern Love. Each column features the most intimate, interesting, and unusual aspects of loving relationships.
This column features a couple, married 28 years, who live in an assisted living facility. They are only 49 and 50 years old. He is perfectly healthy, but his wife is suffering from dementia that is comparable to mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
As odd and unusual as it is to see people this young living in an assisted living facility, this is the right solution for them. With this arrangement the husband can be with his wife and safely continue his full-time job.
The column reads like an obituary of sorts, and that’s what it essentially is. The couple had a wonderful, joyous, interesting marriage for most of their 28 years together until the wife’s health issues occurred about six years ago.
Because they have the income (he is still working) I must guess they can afford assisted living, which normally runs $4,500 – $6,000 per month. (Here is Genworth’s current Cost of Care Survey.) I am nearly certain she does not own long-term care insurance.
The author talks about the marriage commitment, “until death does us part.” No doubt this commitment is much easier for this couple to uphold because sufficient money is available.
This column also illustrates the fallacy of a common objection to long-term care insurance (LTCi) purchase: “I’m too young; I’ll wait to purchase LTCi.” Sadly, at age 43, the wife in this story became uninsurable. Then she began to need the care LTCi would have paid for.
People who are insightful and mature enough to purchase LTCi in their 30’s and 40’s save a lot of money on their LTCi by capturing much lower premiums. They also lock in their policies when they are still insurable, so they don’t have to deal with unexpected tragedies without the resources of an LTCi policy.