This post was brought to you by J Women’s Network and Genworth. All opinions are my own.
Eleven years ago, shortly after my mom passed away from Ovarian cancer, I asked my dad if he had any long term care plans in place. As an only child I had spent a year and a half struggling to help care for my mom, care for my young children, teach full time and work on my Master’s degree. It was a situation I was not anxious to be placed in again. My dad’s pat answer was, “I plan to live to be 140.” Finally, after asking me this repeatedly, suggesting he make some contingency plans just in case he didn’t make it to 140, and being rebuffed, I gave up. I did, however, make sure that all my options were up to date for long term care and give a detailed list to Bryan of my wishes for almost any situation. My threat to come back and haunt him if he didn’t care out my wishes was met with laughter, but I am sure he would follow through with my requests.
Fast forward to the present when my father has various illnesses, including degenerative spine disease and several TIAs (or mini strokes.) He’s also suffering from the onset of dementia. His doctor suggested that my dad consider assisted living or possibly a nursing home and was met with stubborn resistance. “I have a home of my own and I am not moving out of it!” This leaves me in the precarious position of providing twenty four hour care for my father, while still trying to juggle the demands and responsibilities of my own family. Having to care for my father is like having an extra child, but one I can’t boss around like my own children, even though I try.
If you are in a similar situation, I found an article from Genworth that discusses what to do in those difficult situations and an article to help with The Expenses and Emotions in Preparing for Long Term Care. Having rational discussions isn’t easy and is often frustrating, but it is better to be prepared than leave your child wondering what she should do and how to handle difficult situations. I know what my children say they are going to do with me, but I am prepared to come back and haunt them too. Just saying.
Have you thought of long term health care for your family?