Many of the seniors I work with want to age at home for as long as possible. However, most people will need help at some point in their lives with household tasks such as shopping and cleaning, with personal care, or other activities of daily living. Family members are often the first to notice that a senior is having trouble preparing meals, taking medications as directed, or keeping the house clean.
This was the case with “Marcus,” my 82-year-old client who lived alone. Marcus’s daughter, Ginny, hired me to be his care manager when she became concerned that her father was having some difficulty caring for himself. He did not have much food in the refrigerator, there was a pile of dirty laundry that had been there for a couple of weeks, and he seemed somewhat disheveled.
“I want my father to get some help, maybe a home care aide or someone like that,” Ginny told me, and I agreed after I had done an assessment. The tricky part was convincing Marcus that it was time to tap into the sizeable retirement nest egg that he had been saving “for a rainy day.” He was thrifty, rarely spending any money on himself. Even though he agreed he needed help, he was reluctant to use retirement funds or even consider activating his long-term care insurance.
“But what if I need it later?” he said.
“Think of it this way,” I said. “You’ve worked hard and saved money your whole life. It is time to reap what you’ve sown. Using funds for this purpose will enable you to stay at home safely.”
In fact, assistance in the home can make the difference between a senior comfortably living at home or struggling with everyday tasks and possibly ending up in a nursing home because of a preventable injury or a fall.
Ultimately Marcus decided that using the funds to get the help he needed was in his best interest. He checked with his financial advisor, who assured him he would not run out of money and that he could afford the help for years if he needed to. Together we discussed how I could help as a care manager by making sure that he had quality assistance in the home, knew how he could use his long-term insurance, and would make sure that he could live independently in his own home.
“I know Dad wants to leave me and his grandkids an inheritance,” Ginny said. “But I’d much rather see him use his money to improve his quality of life now.”
If you or someone in your family are facing aging challenges, please give us a call at (203) 258-2640 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be happy to assist!