Lori is a typical woman of the so-called “sandwich generation.” At age 46, she and her husband are providing care to two energetic young children and also to her aging mother and mother-in-law. After an extended hospital stay due to a variety of complex medical issues, her mom required continued care and supportive services. Thinking that she did not have long to live, the family tried to make due and kept mom at home, moving her in with Lori’s brother and his family. But that burden proved too much on everyone. What they thought might require some family sacrifice for six months turned into six years. It was at that time that the family decided to find a place in a nearby assisted living facility for Lori’s mom.
Today, her mom is in an assisted living facility and is paying out of her income and savings, both for the monthly fee and for meals and help with personal care. Because of her limited financial situation, her mom had to relocate from a larger and more attractive facility to a more affordable one, which is also considerably smaller.
Until a few years ago, Lori knew she should be thinking about planning ahead for her own long-term care needs, but she felt that there was too much else going on in her life between work, parenting and helping her mother and mother-in-law to focus on planning for herself. But as she saw her mother’s life choices being limited by her constrained financial resources, she knew that taking steps now to plan for the future would help her and her husband have better outcomes and not have to rely upon their children for care. During one of the open enrollments at her workplace, she enrolled in the long-term care insurance program that her employer had been offering each year, but that she’d passed on previously.
“It isn’t a matter of if we’re going to need this, it is a question of when we’ll need this,” said Lori. “And it is just so important to plan ahead.”
That’s why Lori finally decided to sign up for the long-term care insurance offered at her work. Now she’s glad that she can put it out of her mind and know that their future needs are being taken care of. It makes her sad to see the compromises her mom has had to make in finding affordable care and she is glad that her own children won’t have to worry about how her care needs will be met in the future.