Thinking About The Future

Me and Fabgrandpa

Fabgrandpa and I have lived a great life–we have traveled the United States in our RV for going on twelve years, and lived in some of the most beautiful places in the country.  Along the way, we have met many other couples just like us, and singles too, who have shrugged off the strings that bound us to one place in favor of the gypsy lifestyle. We always knew, though, that “someday” we would buy a small house and have a place to park our trailer. We have planned for this from the moment we signed the sales contract on our very first RV.

my mother in law and me

My mother in law and me

Another thing we have often talked about has been the question of what we would do if either one of us needed long term care. This has been more in the forefront of our minds lately because while we are relatively healthy, we each still have our parents to think about. His Mom and Dad are both still living. Last year, his mother fell and broke her hip, and wound up in a rehabilitation facility for about three months, after spending a couple of weeks in the hospital.  She needed more intensive care than her elderly husband could provide, but less than what she would receive in a hospital. And all of their children live more than a hundred miles away. The facility she was in was very nice. It made it possible for her to get her daily physical therapy, and to get to the point where she could get herself around in a wheelchair before going home.But having the broken hip, combined with an arthritic knee that needs to be replaced, peripheral neuropathy and a pacemaker makes it very difficult for her to get around.

My Mother and Me

My own mother, who is 84, has been having trouble lately with her legs and feet. She also has peripheral neuropathy , which makes it difficult to walk or stand for very long. Her eyesight is getting worse–she needs to have corneal transplants. Her eye doctor won’t even write a prescription for new glasses because he says glasses won’t help until after she has surgery. And for the last three or four years, whenever she has exerted herself enough to prepare Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, she has wound up in the emergency room the next day. She has been living alone since the death of my father in 1992, and has always been a very independent woman. It is very hard to see her get to the point where she needs help with the most ordinary things, like cleaning her house or decorating her Christmas tree. She voluntarily gave up the keys to her car a few years ago, and depends on my sister to take her everywhere she needs to go.

While we as the “children” in this scenario are thinking about our own future needs for paying for long term care, it is so difficult to even think about when it will be time to have a talk with our parents about what to do about long term care for them. It is hard to have to make decisions that affect someone else’s life. When is the right time to discuss something like this? Do you wait for your parents to say they need help, or do  you step in and make a decision for them?  No matter who brings it up or when, how do you decide what is the best thing to do? Do you or your parents have long term care insurance? Would having long term care insurance make the decisions any easier to make?

This post was sponsored by Genworth Financial, providers of various types of insurance, including long term care, and information on paying for long term care. The opinions and worries are my own.

About Karen

Karen Eidson is telling the world way too much about her, whether they want to know it or not. She writes about her life of living full time in an RV, eating a gluten free diet, things she does for fun, and things that are important to her. She makes you look at photos of her grandchildren, talk about her husband's survival of oral cancer, and shows you things she has made. You know you want to look.


  1. Probably one of the least thought of yet more important insurance decisions.

  2. Having worked in long term care case management, I can’t BEGIN to tell you the importance of having a long term care policy. !01-365 policies are also essential!

  3. My mother-in-law is 80 years old and lives by herself in Hawaii. I hate that she is alone and the fact that my husband’s brother moved to Japan this year for his work (he was the one who helped mom when needed) makes it even harder. We have asked her to come live with us, but it’s ultimately her decision. She still has her wits about her (mostly LOL) and is an adult, so we can’t very well make the decision for her. I just hope she takes us up on our offer.

  4. Such a hard subject to bring up,even though it’s one of the most important! Having insurance in place would definitely make things a bit easier when the time comes!

  5. Our family recently learned first hand the importance of a plan for long term care. My grandmother suffered from lymphoma and we called on her long term care plan in her time of need. It was truly a blessing.

  6. I have never heard of long term care insurance before. I wonder if we have it in Canada. We have dealt with family in long term care though, but they have all passed on now. I’m not looking forward to dealing with this with my parents! Great post.

  7. This is one subject that I have no idea what we would do. My mom is fine and could take care of herself with no problems if something happened to my dad.

    While my dad is dependent on my mom for so many things. I am just not sure what we would do.

  8. My grandmother is in her 80’s and lives alone. She is so stubborn and will not leave her home to live any where else. I know how much of a strain it is on my mom and aunt trying to figure out how to care for her.

  9. Those are tough questions and tough choices. My parents just had to go through this my grandmother and long-term care insurance would have saved everyone a lot of grief and frustration.

  10. I think every individual is going to be different with their parents. With my parents, I want to discuss those things before they are faced with the situation. That way we are both on the same page.

  11. This is such a tough subject. I mean, who wants to think about it EVER? But the reality of it is, NOT talking about it and doing something about it could be much harder in the long run.

  12. We bought LTC policies when we first retired — because our parents didn’t — (we have been there/done that — with where you are with your folks now)….Hard decisions to make on all counts — best wishes to all.

  13. Been There done that too ! Its hard to make all those decisions. Best of luck.

  14. This is one of those talks that no one in my family ever brings up. My parents are young, and my grandparents are (relatively) young, especially in my eyes. But I’m the oldest, by many years, of the “children” and sometimes I think I should bring it up. (I was also the one to bring up things like AD when a few family members had surgeries. Thanks for sharing your take and giving me more to think about.
    PS For some reason I want to hug your Mom, LOL.

  15. Hard subject.
    Our parents are passed and we never had to make a decision for long term care. We do not have the insurance for long term care.

  16. Long term care is so important! Your mom sounds like a great independent woman – it’s so hard to see when the start to lose that independence. 🙁 (((hugs)))

  17. ive never had to deal with this yet and come to think of it, I’ve never heard of Long-term health care. I can’t believe how important it sounds like it is. My parents are getting older and even though it’s a hard subject I think I should ask them about this and get them the health care they need.

  18. I totally get what you are saying – these are important things to consider because I know, in our family, my grandparents all lived to ripe old ages (87, 90 and 94!). I know my parents think about it all the time because, even though they are in their late 60s, they could possibly live for another 25 years! Thanks for writing about it – it’s given me a lot to think about!

  19. That is such a hard thing to talk about! Especially when its family. Its hard to make such a huge decision, but you will make the right choice.

  20. This is so important to discuss and plan about. It is hard to talk about,but it is a necessity. Long term health care is very important. I have seen this first hand with my grandparents and what could happen.

  21. Tough subject indeed. I know what you mean about your mom, it’s so hard for extremely independent people because they want to hang on to their autonomy, but it becomes hard to do when you have health issues which is difficult to come to terms with.

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