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Goodbye in Her (or His) Eyes

"...in sickness and health, until death do us part..."

We all know the timeless wedding vows and most of us have spoken them.

When caregiving becomes 24/7, sometimes these vows are broken. An awful thought, you say? Your spouse would never leave you if you became a quadriplegic at age 42? And you know for certain you would never leave your spouse if she developed a brain tumor at age 47, needed constant care and due to the location of the tumor, didn't know you? "Goodbye in Her Eyes" by the Zac Brown Band is a very moving, poignant song that could be construed to contain the very message that none of us would want to think we would ever hear.

Our kneejerk reaction is to think of spouses who bail in such a situation as the scum of the earth. But sometimes a caregiving spouse leaves for a different reason. He or she dies. Yes, I said dies. From the stress. From the strain. From the heartbreak of being on call 24/7 without money to hire help.

Christopher and Dana ReeveOr maybe she is a hero at caregiving and makes it all the way to the enduntil the person she is caring for dies. Then she leavesa 13 year old boy, their son Will Reeve. Did Dana Reeve want to die at age 44, just 17 months after her husband Superman Christopher Reeve died? Did she want to leave a boy who was only three years old when his dad became a quadriplegic at age 42? No, she did not. She was full of life and inspiration, but die she did, of lung cancer. At least that's what the death certificate said. She had never smoked in her life. Did caring for her husband almost 10 years have anything to do with her early tragic death? If you believe all you read about unrelenting stress taking a toll on the human immune system, it had everything to do with it.

The Reeve family had resources and other actors pitched in financially to help them. What about the ordinary family? What do they do when an early LTC need strikes? How many marriages and family relationships can be saved if there is money available to hire help? How many caregivers would be able to keep their jobs?

My little book The ABCs of Long-Term Care Insurance includes two true stories about women I know personally who had a husband develop a long-term care need in his 40s. One couple had LTC insurance and one didn't, so it really drives the point home to your clients.

Last week I promised to talk about who is using LTC with a breakdown by age. Here's a summary quote from the prominent research:*

Although older adults are much more likely than younger people to need long-term care, approximately half of the broadly defined long-term care population living in the community is non-elderly. Even among the narrowly defined long-term care population in the community and facility, whose disabilities are more significant, one third is under age sixty-five. [Note: I like to use "narrowly-defined" as it means people who would qualify for LTC insurance benefits.]

Here's the entire picture of the "narrowly-defined" LTC population:

You can choose to look at this data as the glass half empty or half full. Some people will look at the All Settings chart and say "2 out of 3 are not under 65 so it will for sure never happen to me at a younger age". Others will say "1 out of 3 is actually a pretty high number, so yes, it could happen to me."

But here's the thing. The people you know won't say or think anything if you don't share this information with them and then if they become a younger LTC patient, how will you feel?

"It's too complicated to share all that, Phyllis!" Is that what you are thinking?

No it isn't. The ABCs of Long-Term Care Insurance will do it for you with a friendly, simple approach.

We sold out of the ABC books we had in stock, but we have a new shipment on its way. I offered 30% off through January 31st and I will stick to it. Remember, they accomplish my 2 minute educational presentation to sell the need, plus address individual, worksite and combo products....so don't wait – order today!

Send the hard copy, audio CD or ebook to your clients and prospects,
leave them with centers of influence and most of all,
don't leave home without a few to give away!

Phyllis Shelton

*Kaye, H. Stephen. Charlene Harrington, and Mitchell P. LaPlante. "Long-Term Care: Who Gets It, Who Provides It, Who Pays, and How Much?" Health Affairs January 2010 29:1, p. 13. [Note: this is still the best article I know about for this information. Research on this topic was published in 1991, 2006 and in 2010 with this article.]


LTC Consultants provides long-term care insurance training to agents and educates consumers with information about long term care insurance. This website contains reports and articles about caregiving, assisted living, nursing homes, aging, senior living and elder care, home health care and other long-term care related articles. Order Phyllis Shelton’s Protecting Your Family with Long-Term Care Insurance with articles about whether or not to self-insure or buy combo life insurance and annuity policies or a traditional LTC insurance plan. The book also contains ideas for people who don't qualify for LTC insurance such as Medicaid, life settlements, reverse mortgages, critical illness and also contains in-depth information about Medicare, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplements.


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