I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone as stubborn as my client Jane.

Within minutes of arriving at my office for the first time, she stuck out her chin and stared me down defiantly, stating: “I’m just going to tell you right now, I won’t put him in a home.”

She was referring to her husband, Jack, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. He was standing next to her at the time and shook his head ruefully. He was used to Jane’s declarations.

When he first got the diagnosis, she made a promise to him that she would take care of him, that he would not end his days living at a long-term care home. But being a doctor himself, he knew just how tough that promise would be for her to keep. Especially considering Jane was less than five feet tall and barely a hundred pounds …

They came to me together, to discuss their options: how could Jane keep her promise to Jack?

At some point, Jane would need help in their home. Neither wanted to burden their adult children with either the financial ramifications, or the physical care of Jack. And they wanted to plan for the worst – what if something happened to Jane, too?

Having someone come to their house to help with Jack’s care was their ideal.

But Registered Nurses and Personal Support Workers who offer home care are expensive. Jack also wanted to consider meal services and housekeepers, and overnight care options, to reduce the burden on Jane.

That type of skilled assistance can run anywhere from $30-$70 per hour. Home care services for five days a week for four hours a day at $40 per hour would add up to $41,600 per year. Although they had a very robust retirement plan, an additional $41,600 of expenses would be a shock.

Their original retirement plan had them both living out their days in their family home, Jane puttering in the garden and Jack passing long hours in his shop.

But this diagnosis threw a wrench into those plans.

Or did it?

I suggested that they invest in long-term care insurance.

Long-term care insurance is coverage for assisted-living facilities like nursing homes, home care, or at-home support when you can no longer do 2 or more of the 6 acts of daily living (things like feeding yourself, bathing yourself, dressing yourself, toileting, transferring to and from bed, and controlling both bladder and bowel movements).

Jack and Jane went with a comprehensive policy that also included occupational therapy, rehabilitation expenses, and personal care task reimbursement. Jack’s own father had suffered from Alzheimer’s, and he knew first-hand how expensive it is for loved ones to arrange care – he wanted as many options for Jane as possible.

So we discussed the next steps: when and how to engage their policy, what the benefit would look like, how to source the assistance they were looking for, and how this might affect other aspects of their financial plan.

By the end of the meeting, Jane was no longer defiant. She was hopeful. Keeping her promise (perhaps rashly made!) was within reach. Jack felt far better about his diagnosis knowing that there was a clear path forward for them both.

Jack and Jane’s story is not unique. As we live longer, far more of us will require additional care as we age. Putting protections in place – whether that means an insurance policy or something else – means that you can make decisions that align with your values, not just your bottom line.

If you want to make sure your retirement plan includes protections like this, book a call with me.