Jack is a 96 year old veteran of WWII. He was a medic and was active in the Battle of the Bulge and other campaigns. After the German surrender, he was sent to Washington State in preparation for the upcoming invasion of Japan. However, he says he was “saved” from sure death by the atom bombs, which forced the Japanese surrender. He then returned to Florida to resume his life and became employed as a jeweler. In the 15 years following the war, he was widowed, remarried, fathered three children and adopted another. In 1954 he bought his own jewelry store and prospered in a small town in Florida, where he became a significant community leader. His mother and father both lived into their 90’s, and since he was in good health most of his life, he often said that he would live to 110!
And all who knew him didn’t doubt him. He amazed his children and friends with his ability to work in his store all day, never sitting down, and staying active with his friends, customers, church, and community activities until he was 95!
Jack had two sons, two daughters and three step children from both his marriages, but at age 93 or so things began to “fall apart” in his relationships with several of his children. After his second wife died, the children he fathered and adopted began squabbling over the distribution of his second wife’s property, which consisted mainly of jewelery, some land, and antiques. This squabbling accented the unresolved dysfunctional aspects of the family which had laid “underground” for many years.
His three stepchildren pretty much stayed out of the situation and watched from afar. The daughter from the second marriage squabbled with her brother and his wife and the two children from the first marriage about the distribution of these goods. Aside from the three stepchildren, the infighting threatened to get violent at times, but thankfully never progressed beyond a hostile standoff, where it remains today. Because his second daughter spent a considerable amount of her time caring for him, as well as working with him in his store for 30+ years, while his son remained absent as much as he could, Jack gave the store to his daughter, from which they are both now earning a modest income.
There are many more dysfunctional aspects of this entire family too numerous to detail, but suffice it to say that Jack is now very feeble, entirely dependent upon the VA medical sytem for all his health care needs. He still goes down to the jewelry store most days and talks with customers, while his daughter does all the work. But he can no longer drive, so the daughter has to pick him up daily to take him to the store or to the VA medical center 50 miles away.
The brother who lives in town with them does as little with his father as possible. Based on all this one would ask, how can things like this happen? This is an important question if one is considering Long Term Care Insurance. The answer lies in the fact that Jack was in such good health most of his life. He never went to see doctors! His mother and father lived into their 90’s, then died with little need for any medical assistance. Jack never smoked, or drank excessively. He didn’t even drink coffee. He was a milk drinker at all meals. No wonder he believed he would live very long! Thus he never bought any type of health insurance.
But therein lies the paradox. We might surmise that Jack suffered from a wee bit of denial of potentially needing Long Term Care. In his mind he carried around this image of himself that he was somewhat invincible, and even though time is eroding this invincibility, he still maintains the attitude that he’ll live to 110. When one talks to him there is a lot of denial about his increasing dependency on his daughter and the neglect from his near-by son–as if these factors are irrelevant.
Jack still has a very strong heart, a good long term memory, and good verbal skills. But his short term memory is very poor, he has very risky balance, and cannot walk far without becoming extremely tired. Based on conversations with his VA doctors, his daughter reports that he will need more extensive nursing care within a year or so, and the only place he can go will be to one of the VA domiciliary-type facilities. And based on a strong heart he may be confined there for many years. If he had a private long term care policy it would be possible for his small home to be modified and receive at-home care from local professionals or other hired parties.
While the VA option is there for eligible veterans, due to aging of WWII, Korean and Vietnam veterans, and the influx of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, the VA’s resources are now being severely stressed, and what will be available in the future is uncertain–especially considering the current political climate in America.
Furthermore, even if a person qualified for the VA long term care services one would have to go to a VA nursing home. It’s easy to say oh I’ll just put me in the VA nursing home when one is healthy, but when the day comes and one if faced with that decision most will choose to pay out of pocket for a nice assisted living facility or to have a home health care aide come and take care of the person at their house. Planning ahead and having long term care insurance will make that decision much easier and all while protecting your nest egg you worked so hard to build. If you’d like to learn more please simply fill in this form and thanks for reading our blog.