Each generation, it seems, strives to distinguish itself from the former generation. Trendy hairstyles, funky fashion, special slang, alternative lifestyles, and even different ideals are eagerly adopted in an effort to differentiate “us” from “them.” Consequently, it takes years—maybe even becoming parents ourselves—before we can recognize and fully appreciate the wisdom of former generations.
Perhaps it was painful memories and lessons learned from The Great Depression and two World Wars that yielded the fiscally reserved, financially disciplined people we call Mom and Dad. They embraced simple mottos like “patience is a virtue,” “good things take time,” and “the early bird gets the worm.” They worked hard, planned and saved diligently for the future, and lived frugally in the present. If you want something done right, they said, do it yourself.
Maybe we can take a cue from Mom and Dad, after all.
Of course, we want the confidence that comes from planning ahead. But, it’s hard to think about a time when we or a loved one might need long term care. If we don’t plan now, our options may be limited when the need arises because it will be immediate and perhaps pressing. It may be difficult to get on a waiting list for a preferred facility, for example. What’s more, we may lack information and funds to pay for care. Maybe Mom and Dad knew that planning ahead would grant them more control over their future.
Advance planning allows us to investigate services in our community, find out about eligibility requirements for receiving services, and learn what services cost, as well as what payment options are available. Obtaining this information before the need arises may ensure that we will have a range of options and more control over where and how we receive care.
By planning ahead, we may preserve our assets and income for purposes other than long term care, such as maintaining the quality of life for our spouse, partner, or other loved ones. With planning, there is a greater likelihood of leaving our estate to heirs, as we are less likely to consume our financial resources paying for care.
Planning ahead also may help minimize the emotional and financial toll on everyone involved. It provides a way to involve family in the decision-making process without depending solely on them to bear the burden of cost and care.
We all want to maintain our independence for as long as possible, and we all want the freedom to choose how and where we receive the necessary services. Maybe it’s time to forget about “us” and “them.” Maybe it’s time to take a cue from Mom and Dad, and like the old adage says, “never put off until tomorrow that which can be done today.”
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
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