The financial & personal costs of caring for a loved one are extreme.
Who is going to take care of your loved one as they age and can’t care for themselves?
Will you send them to a nursing facility?
Will you personally care for them in your home?
What is the cost in dollars and emotions?
Join Dan Wendol and his special guest Linda Burhans, a care giver expert, as they share stories and tips from experiences on the costs of caring for their aging parents.
Watch Video Version:
Daniel Wendol 0:00
Today’s topic is about the true costs of caregiving. We’re going to talk about the financial and the personal cost of caring for a loved one. We’re talking about an aging parent or family member. And to help me with that, I’m going to bring them about some emotions and some insight from my experience caring for my mother, who passed away last year. To help me with it, because it is a very difficult topic to talk about, I’m bringing in a special guest, Linda Burhans, who is the “Gal Who Cares For Caregivers.” She’s written a book on the topic, and she’s an expert in caregiving. So hopefully you’ll learn a few tidbits about caring for a loved one.
Hello and welcome to another Dolphin Financial Radio. I’m Dan Wendol host of the show. Alongside me today I have a special guest, Linda Burhans. She is the “Gal Who Cares For Caregivers.” She’s going to help me talk about the true cost of caregiving today. She’s got some great insight. She’s got some great ideas as well. And we’re going to get to that in a moment. But before we do, I’ll let Linda Introduce herself.
Linda Burhans 1:31
Hi, I’m Linda Burhans the Gal Who Cares For Caregivers with love, laughter and lessons learned because I have a lot of all of that. I am a caregiver advocate. I do support groups and workshops. I have a radio show for caregivers. But I just want to help caregivers find some joy in the journey. I always say caregiving can be the most horrific experience of your life, or close to beautiful depending on how you handle it.
Daniel Wendol 1:55
That’s so true. I didn’t really appreciate that until I went through the experience myself. And it’s kind of like retirement planning. I do retirement planning, right? And people say, well, you’re not retired, so how do you know what it’s like? I’ve done it enough. But you can only get so much from an outside perspective.
Linda Burhans 2:13
And after your journey is over and you’re still not in it, that’s a whole different thing too. Because I’ll tell you people come into my support groups, and they’ll say to me, mom keeps repeating the same thing 50 times. I always say, I’m very sorry, that’s part of the disease. Well, recently, my brother came to visit who has Parkinson’s and dementia. And he walked in, he asked me to fax something. I don’t have a fax machine. And this went on for like three hours until I took him somewhere. It was God reminding me that when you’re not in it, you don’t get it either. You may have lived it, but until you’re back in and again, it’s a whole different thing.
Daniel Wendol 2:47
And that is one of the fundamental problems we have right now for my clients, and that is planning for it, prepping for it. And first of all, long term care is going to become a big issue in this country. Lifespans are increasing. As we get older, we’re not necessarily in a position where we’re just young and bountiful, and we can sprint around. We get older physically, but also mentally. And that’s causing some major, major problems. Now, in the past, if we’re going back several generations, we lived together. You lived with your parents and your grandparents. And that’s the way it was. But now, my parents live in New York, I’m in Florida.
Linda Burhans 3:31
Yeah, we have that issue. But then you also have a generation of children that are 40 years old, that is still living with their parents. Now, how are they going to take care of anybody?
Daniel Wendol 3:40
Those are called the boomerang children, did you know that? You throw them out and they come right back. But you also have people in the middle. The Sandwich Generation. For example, somone still taking care of their 30 year old and taking care of their aging parents. They’re in trouble. No one’s taking care of them. Nobody. But they don’t want to talk about it. People don’t want to talk about long term care.
Linda Burhans 4:03
But everyone is dealing with it though. It’s on every corner. It’s in every house. And it’s so funny, even like when someone walks into a support group, they walk in and they say, oh, there’s a whole bunch of people here just like me. Yeah, yeah. They’re everywhere.
Daniel Wendol 4:17
Are you finding that more…the stats show that it’s mostly women taking care of others.
Linda Burhans 4:23
Well, women just live longer?.
Daniel Wendol 4:25
Yeah, but not that the women need the caring, but the caregivers are mostly women.
Linda Burhans 4:30
Yeah. Because you’re born to be a caregiver. A woman’s born to be a caregiver. It’s something you do.
Daniel Wendol 4:35
Are you seeing more grandkids or is it still children that are taking care of their parents?
Linda Burhans 4:39
It’s starting to be with grandchildren because now too, we’re getting diagnosed with dementia at 50 years old.
Daniel Wendol 4:47
This is crazy.
Linda Burhans 4:51
When a 20 year old comes to a support group and is taking care of Mom who has dementia at 50 years old…they’re not even grown up yet.
Daniel Wendol 5:00
I was reading somewhere that 26 is the age at which your brain stops growing and stops maturing.
Linda Burhans 5:10
We don’t have the conversation. You think they’re having any conversations? I got a call one time for my radio show – A woman said I’m calling for my neighbor. He wants to say thank you. She said he cares for his mother. He’s 29 years old. He’s a landscaper. He cares for his mother who has dementia. He’s the only family member there is. The other day he gets really frustrated with his mom has an argument with her leaves the house, slams the front door and gets into his truck and turns the car on and my show was on the radio. Well, he didn’t know that someone could come in and bathe his mother and he hasn’t been taking care of her properly. So now he has a home health care company coming in twice a week to bathe his mother. So he wanted to call up and say thank you because he doesn’t speak very good English and then his mom want to say thank you too.
Daniel Wendol 5:57
That is a very specific example that I want to harp on because one of the things that I experienced with my mom..there was a point where she needed that type of care. Just transferring her from the bed. Diapers. Horrible, right? I did that with my kids. No problem. That was part of the deal. And I had twins, so I got pretty good. And my wife, if she’s listening, she’s saying “you didn’t do it!” But I was there. And I did a lot of the diaper changing. But, to do that for your mother or father. It’s really difficult…emotionally.
Linda Burhans 6:34
Yeah. I never thought I would ever have to change a diaper on my mother I had to for both my parents I had to at some point. Thank God they were the point where they were pretty accepting of it. And I think they were glad it was me. And they trusted me. But it’s tough.
Daniel Wendol 6:52
The emotional cost can be very draining. Hearing the same story over and over again. It get’s annoying. But having to do the physical parts of bathing, you know, helping them eat…
Linda Burhans 7:04
And then you get to be worried about the money. You get to worry about the doctors. You get to worry about if they’re being diagnosed correctly. Are they on the right meds?
Daniel Wendol 7:14
People don’t want to go into a nursing home. No one does know. I’m guessing here, but from my conversations, anecdotally, my clients don’t want to go into nursing home and they don’t want to put their parents in a nursing home because they feel it’s cruel.
Linda Burhans 7:32
It’s abandoning them. Okay, first of all years ago, you know what nursing homes were like. They were horrific. And people at that time too just put them in the home. Just like sometimes at home, they just put them in the room,they put them to bed. And that’s what it was. Nobody wants to go into a nursing home. But if we don’t start making preparations, we’re gonna have nursing homes everywhere else and nothing else. What are we going to do with all these people?
Daniel Wendol 8:01
Well, that’s the idea. What are we going to do? What can we do to prepare? You have to prepare financially because it’s not cheap. I was looking at a private nursing home in the Tampa area…close to $100,000 a year. That’s a private nursing home. But if you go on a low end, you’re at least $60-$70,000 a year.
Linda Burhans 8:18
I’m telling my girlfriends that we should buy a five bedroom house on the Gulf. And five of us live there. Or a six bedroom house and have one room where a nurse would live there full time. That could be much more affordable.
Daniel Wendol 8:30
You’re going to do a reboot of the Golden Girls and put a nurse in there?
Linda Burhans 8:33
Really, why not? That’s affordable.
Daniel Wendol 8:36
I think it’s great idea.
Linda Burhans 8:38
I’m telling you, on Monday, if I want to keep my pajamas on all day, I don’t want somebody bossing me around.
Daniel Wendol 8:45
But parents are living with their kids longer…and grandparents. So maybe we’re heading toward that way. We’re going back to the multi generational families.
Linda Burhans 8:52
Plus both of the people have to work today. So they need babysitters. That’s what started when mom came home. Mom came home to start with the babysitting. And then all of a sudden, turn it around, that the ones that she’s babysitting for now got to help her!
Daniel Wendol 9:07
This is true. So the parallel between stay at home moms caring for children, and now working moms leaving to care for aging parents, it’s basically the same thing. And as a country we understand that Mom and Dad want paternity leave. Even paternity leave is kind of new, right? Maternity leave -people don’t think twice about that much anymore. That’s okay. Do we have respite leave? Caring for an elderly leave? Caring for Mom.
Linda Burhans 9:43
You know, we talked a little bit earlier today about adult day care. That can give respite care to the people and can also be very good for your loved one because now they’re not isolated home by themselves. I think big companies, not just big companies, but all companies, got to start looking at adult daycare on site.
Daniel Wendol 10:02
I agree. I think that’s something that’s going to happen. The baby boomer generation is going to be living a lot longer but health wise, it’s not there. I think something’s gotta give. But even the cost of adult daycare, which people still don’t realize exists . Tthat’s exactly what it is – you drop aging parent off and you pick them up.
Linda Burhans 10:35
And you tell them it’s the club. It’s the gym. It’s the Rec. Or it’s where they go to volunteer. Because then they feel useful.
Daniel Wendol 10:47
Right. You don’t want to make it like it’s the Romper Room. But that’s not cheap either. Just like daycare is not cheap for a kid. It’s the same with an adult, what’s the difference really? In fact, might be even more straining.
Linda Burhans 10:58
But the amount of money itcosts you to put them in daycare, the money is going to save you in aggravation, and you having to go to the doctor, and everything else, it really is cost effective.
Daniel Wendol 11:08
Well, not only does it save you money, well, it saves you the aggravation, and the difficulty, and gives you a break. But it allows you to go to work, and get money, right? Because if you think about a stay at home Mom, there’s a couple of things that happen. And correct me if I’m wrong, but the same exact things that happen if you’re caring for an aging parent. You don’t go to work, so therefore you lose your salary. Not only do you lose the income, but you probably are losing it during your peak wage years. 50s and early 60 s, that’s when you’re making the most possible money you can just because you worked your way up the corporate ladder. That’s exactly when “aging mom” happens, right? So now you’re going to leave the workforce just at the peak of your earning.
Linda Burhans 11:53
Maybe lose part of your pension.
Daniel Wendol 11:56
You lose your pension benefits. If you don’t have a pension, which most people don’t. you have a 401k. You’re losing the 401k match. So you’re not contributing to retirement anymore. Your Social Security work history is being depleted because it takes your top 35 years. So you will have some zeroes. All of a sudden, we see this isn’t cheap. Maybe $100,000 to the nursing home is a bargain.
Linda Burhans 12:13
Daniel Wendol 12:20
Because, like I did, I did the math when we had our oldest, Peter, we both worked. We were able to pull it off. But when we had the twins, my wife looked at me and was like…are you staying home or am I? Just the cost of with three kids in daycare is outrageous. So the cost to put someone into adult daycare, or a nursing home might seem outrageous, but what’s the alternative? So the alternative is that you stay home and raise them as a grandchild or as a child.
Linda Burhans 12:51
Or they’re hom and you have to hire a home health care company to come in to take care of them because they really can’t be left alone. But if there are adult daycare, that’s different.
Daniel Wendol 13:00
But even an adult coming into the home for home health care, that’s going to be….
Linda Burhans 13:05
That’s more expensive than adult daycare.
Daniel Wendol 13:06
And it’s only going to be during work hours so are you still going to be looking at $35,000 a year. Which to most people it’s not happening.
Linda Burhans 13:13
People are living from paycheck to paycheck.
Daniel Wendol 13:17
So what are we going to do about this?
Linda Burhans 13:21
I just came back from Germany. I got an opportunity to go to a Memory Cafe which was very interesting because they have memory cafes all over the United States and it was exactly the same as here just there was a different language. The same issues, the same everything. I also got to go to this residential community, where college students live with seniors and the college students get to live for free or for very small amount. They cook for the senior, the do the senior’s laundry, they remind the senior take their medication, they take the senior to the doctor, to the supermarket, or whatever. And it’s like a dorm. So one side of the hall is the seniors rooms and the other side of the hall is the students’ rooms. So they don’t sleep together. But you know, they live together.
Daniel Wendol 14:19
I think that’s brilliant. I wonder how much it costs for the senior.
Linda Burhans 14:23
Since I don’t speak German, it was difficult to find out more.
Daniel Wendol 14:25
We did a show on seniors going back to school and we’re talking people in their 60s, going back to school. Some to learn but more for the social aspects. They suggested that the interaction between the younger students with a more mature person in the classroom actually boosted their creativity and learning. But that was not cheap. I think it was the University Arizona and you had to pay $800,000 for the two bedroom, or something like that. But when you pass away 85% of it goes to your beneficiary. But you have to have the money to do it. It’s like tuition. Right? But people don’t have the money. They don’t have the money for adult daycare. They don’t have the money for nursing home, home health aides. So they wind up staying home, but if you do the math, you’re missing out. So it’s usually going to be that of the kids bears the brunt. When my mom was at the end, my dad took care of her. My dad was capable, but it became a full time job. He was totally worn out. You don’t see it, because I’m here in Florida. My brothers saw it.
But he’s fine when he talks to you on the phone….
But when you go there and you see it, and you see that he became a chemist, with all the drugs, and a clock…I’m looking, I’m like, I can’t do this. I can’t do this. And I’m in my prime. He’s got to be struggling. And I saw it. He became robotic. He became detached emotionally from it, which I think was a coping mechanism. But it wasn’t fair to him.
Linda Burhans 16:17
Yeah. What kind of life is that?
Daniel Wendol 16:18
But we didn’t opt to go with hospice care at a facility. We did it at home. And my oldest brother, I have three brothers, my oldest brother, left Florida, left his job. I mean, he’s self employed, but he stopped working. And he said, I’m going to go up there, and I’m just going to stay there until I’d have to stay there. Now my two other brothers and myself kind of looked at that and said, well, we don’t want you to bear that burden, but he took it upon himself. And that was a blessing for me. I mean, I went up there and I did “my time” as I was calling it, because it was not fun. You know, Mom was not really herself. She was a different person at that time. But the cost to my brother, and to me, and to my other brothers, was immense. Just drop what you’re doing. Now, luckily, we could afford it. Because we had saved or we had awareness. I’m in a job where I work for myself, so there’s no one saying “you’re fired.” But can you imagine? My other two brothers couldn’t do that.
Linda Burhans 17:24
And what happens to the couple that has no children?
Daniel Wendol 17:29
Exactly, right. That’s why you have children, right? I’m putting up with my children right now. I hope my kids are listening! They do the outro of the shows. Alright, so lthat worked for me.
Linda Burhans 17:43
That worked for you and that’s wonderful. And I’m very happy about that. But that’s not for most people.
Daniel Wendol 17:47
And even if there are children, my brother took that burden and he took it on the chin. God bless him for doing that. But I saw it weighing on him. After three weeks…
Linda Burhans 18:03
It’s hard to see your loved one failing. People that you love so much and you know it’s not going to get better.
Daniel Wendol 18:12
The dynamics between family members was tough too. So what do people do? Do you buy long term care insurance?
Linda Burhans 18:18
Yeah, if you can.
Daniel Wendol 18:21
People can’t afford that either.
Linda Burhans 18:23
If you start young enough, though. Isn’t it that younger you start, the better you are.
Daniel Wendol 18:27
Yes. But I have a client, several of them actually, that got letters from their insurance, Long Term Care Insurance- 98.3% increase in their premium over the next three years. I’m not even joking about that. Basically, they’re paying double.
Linda Burhans 18:43
So some of them aren’t even going to be able to pay it.
Daniel Wendol 18:45
And you know, who’s keeping it? The ones that don’t have kids. Because they’re asking me what to do because I’m the closest thing to a child that they have. And I’m looking at it and saying, Yeah, this is going to strain like budget. But what else you gonna do? And they’re thankful they have it in a way, but they hate the fact that they had to pay. Now I keep telling them, look on the bright side, you got a really good deal for the last 15 years. They underpriced you because they didn’t expect what to have happen.
Linda Burhans 19:18
They probably feel- I started in the beginning it should be the same always. That’s what I’d be thinking if it was me.
Daniel Wendol 19:22
Totally. But the insurance companies pled to the State, the State said, Yeah, you’re gonna go bankrupt if you don’t. All the companies are pulling out. They don’t even sell this anymore. It’s so minimal now. So what people are doing is they’re buying long term care that’s built into life insurance. That’s more palatable. I’ll buy a $300,000 life insurance policy, that if I die, at least my kids get that. But if I need it to pay for a nursing home, I’ll spend it down myself and nothing’s left for the kids. And I’m suggesting if you’re listening to this, and you’re saying, I can’t afford that, well, maybe your kids can. Have their pay for it. I would have been glad to pay for you long term care for my parents.
Linda Burhans 20:05
I tell this to people all the time- all chip in for Christmas buy your parents a policy. And every year pay the premium.
Daniel Wendol 20:11
Yeah, a Christmas gift.
Linda Burhans 20:13
It’s a great idea.
Daniel Wendol 20:14
I think it is and you just get used to it. Basically you’re budgeting. Who’s going to pay for it? If you don’t pay for it now, your parents are going to pay for it. So they’re going to spend your inheritance anyway. Or at that time, you’re gonna have to make some hard decisions then. So why not budget for it.
Linda Burhans 20:32
Maybe you just know to you’re not the one that’s going to be a good caregiver. You know, some people are not good at caring for people. They gotta say, Well, I need to do something different. I need to put some money up here to you know…
Daniel Wendol 20:45
Were you a good caregiver for your mom?
Linda Burhans 20:48
I thought I was. Yeah, but I’m a comedian too. So that’s part being a good caregiver. I don’t kno…I lost my business. I lost my business during my caregiving experience. I was a party planner and a caterer at the time. There was no time to be doing any of that. Everything stopped. Everybody went away. Nobody wants to believe your person is sick either. That’s the really hard part. When you said something about, the costs, the emotional costs, the heart costs. When someone you thought was going to be there. Or someone was just going to ask you how you are. And nobody. That’s why when a person comes into a support group, the first two things that they say, my life wasn’t supposed to be this way…and what happened to my family and friends?
Daniel Wendol 21:40
Well, you find out who your true friends and family are.
Linda Burhans 21:43
But sometimes they’re taking care of their family too.
Daniel Wendol 21:44
Yes, it’s true.
Linda Burhans 21:45
It’s not that they don’t want to. They’re stuck in the same situation you’re in
Daniel Wendol 21:50
It’s true. I don’t think anything more or less of my brothers, because I know that they have their own problems.
Linda Burhans 21:57
And everybody has different personalities. You know, my mother was dying and my brother wasn’t getting it through his head, you know, and I kept wanting him to come. I wanted him to come and he wasn’t doing what I thought he should be doing. And one day I realized he was with her the longest. He was the youngest. He lived with her the longest alone. And it was so painful for him to see her that way that he couldn’t do it. And when I did that, then I was okay. Then I realized that he was just doing the best he could and then when the day came, I said, you need to be on the plane now, he was on the plane immediately. But sometimes you got to do some more forgiving with your brothers and sisters too.
Daniel Wendol 22:39
I don’t want to open this scar, but I want to talk more about how you lost your business. That’s what we spoke about in the beginning. You stop your job. You stop your income. You stop your savings for retirement.
Linda Burhans 22:53
Yeah. And then I start taking money out of my 401k to pay my mortgage.
Daniel Wendol 22:57
And if you’re under 59 and a half, you have to pay penalties for that.
Linda Burhans 23:00
Oh, I did. Every penalty there was I paid. I had to end up claiming bankruptcy.
Daniel Wendol 23:09
That’s emotional. That’s an emotional situation.
Linda Burhans 23:11
Oh my God! That was horrifying. It wasn’t until one day my dad, who was bedridden at the time, he said, just do it, Linda. When my dad said I could do it, it was okay. But it was embarrassing. It was humiliating. You don’t want anybody to know you did that.
Daniel Wendol 23:29
Other people do that.
Linda Burhans 23:30
Yeah. People that just waste money. That buy junk. I didn’t do that. I was doing that to eat. To pay Duke Energy.
Daniel Wendol 23:38
What would you say to somebody that is facing this situation? Because let’s be real, long term care insurance is great. Having a family member that can do it is great, but not everyone has it. So they have to make a decision. Do I try and have my parents go on Medicaid and let the state take them? Or do I quit my job and I bear the burden? You had that choice. You could have spent down your mom’s assets.
Linda Burhans 24:05
I could have told my brother and sister – You’re not getting that money. I’m using it.
Daniel Wendol 24:11
Or you could have said, let’s spend it and I’m going to let someone else take care of her.
Linda Burhans 24:15
But they didn’t even get it. They didn’t get. They just didn’t understand. Because they weren’t in it. I think they were disappointed in me. Financially. Which was very interesting.
Daniel Wendol 24:31
What do you say to someone that’s facing that decision? Do I declare bankruptcy? Do I take out of my own pocket to take care of my mom? Or do I try and let the state come in? It is a decision. It’s a financial decision, but it’s so emotional.
Linda Burhans 24:46
How valuable would you say that four hour break is, having gone through it?
One of the big things I think you need to do is you need to build a community for yourself. And we need to have a lot more conversation about this with your neighbor, with your friends from Kiwanis, with your people at church, because we’re not talking about this. We can find ways to work together as communities that is going to help in some way. So for instance, and this is just a teeny little thing, but there are two women that come to my support groups, and their moms are both about the same diagnosis. So on Tuesday, the one woman takes both of the moms for four hours. On Thursday, the other woman takes both of of the moms for four hours. And on Fridays, the four of them go out together for lunch and go to a movie. But now they each got four hours of respite care week that they didn’t have before. And they’re in it with somebody that’s in it exactly like they’re in it. So mom does something a little screwy or whatever, it’s okay because next week it will be the other moms turn. That’s just a teeny piece, but we need to start building more communities like that.
What’s funny, people think, oh, you’re gonna get that four hours, you’re gonna go get your hair cut. You’re going to do this. This is what you do. You sit in a chair. Yeah, you just sit in a chair. Think about what I would like to do, you know. That’s another thing too – I wouldn’t have given up a minute of it to be with my mother.
Daniel Wendol 26:09
See, that’s a huge statement, because you put yourself bankruptcy. You bankrupted yourself, literally. And you were at an age where recovering from bankruptcy is impossible. Try going back to work, right? Who’s gonna hire you? Oh, there is no ageism….please. Normally people at your age, at that point when you take care of parents, you’re at the point where now I have to double down on my retirement. You were doing the complete opposite. You were spending it. You would still do it though?
Linda Burhans 26:48
Yeah. To be with my mom. A hopefully what goes around comes around.
Daniel Wendol 26:57
That’s the thought, isn’t it? What do you say to the people that don’t want to bankrupt themselves.
Linda Burhans 27:15
They need to take care of themselves too or they can’t take care of mom. Becaus who’s going to care of them. But we need to have the conversations, and we need to have the conversation with our families. Early, very early. We’re talking about a lot of preparation here. Let’s think about your final wishes.
Daniel Wendol 27:37
Yeah, you need the legal documents in order.
Linda Burhans 27:39
I just paid for my cremation this week. Ugh! But you know what? It needs to be done. And if I just keep avoiding it and avoiding it, besides it not getting done, it’s gonna be a pressure on somebody else. The price is going to be triple because I’m living for a while. So certain things you can prepare ahead of time.
Daniel Wendol 28:01
But that goes with everything. Retirement Planning, you start when you’re in your 20s, add more to your 401k than you need and you will notice it right? You get the legal documents in orde. Who wants to hire a lawyer? But you do it, because you never know when you’re going to need a power of attorney.
Linda Burhans 28:18
Right. You never know.
Daniel Wendol 28:20
I was just on an accident right in here in front of my office on US19. Someone cut me off. Now, it was during rush hour, so I wasn’t going fast, but if I was going fast that that person may not have survived, I may not have survived, right? Or I could have been disabled. So you got to get legal documents in order. Those conversations need to start. And I’m a huge proponent, I think we should start a trend here, getting the kids, if you have them, they should be the ones talking about it and paying for the care in advance. Paying for the long term care policy or a life insurance long term care combo.
Linda Burhans 28:57
They’re usually more than happy to do it.
Daniel Wendol 29:00
But why aren’t the boomers talking to the kids about it?
Linda Burhans 29:04
Because I don’t want to stress my children. And I definitely don’t want to lose my power.
Daniel Wendol 29:12
Yeah, there is that.
Linda Burhans 29:13
I don’t want you to take anything away from me. I don’t want you telling me I can’t drive anymore. I don’t want you telling me that.
Daniel Wendol 29:25
You’ve helped thousands of caregivers. What the top financial things that they say I wish I would have. or I didn’t realize…financially.
Linda Burhans 29:38
Nobody realizes how much assisted living is going to cost. Nobody realizes what memory care is going to cost. No way. The biggest things people say to me though, is I wish I would have taken better care of myself or my mother. I wish my health was better. I didn’t pay attention to that. Because I look at my neighbor who did, and I see he may not have to ever go to that plance that I’m going to have to go to.
Daniel Wendol 30:02
That’s a good point. Just caring for yourself. And you know, who buys the long term care and who preps. are the people that have gone through with their parents. Because they’re like, I’m not doing that to my kids.
Linda Burhans 30:13
Right. But we need to take care of ourselves. You know, I go to the chiropractor twice a week, I go to curves three mornings a week, I walk three miles a few days a week. I can’t be out there yakking this if I’m not doing it. I see what happens every day, so I want to feel as good as I can feel for as long as I can.
Daniel Wendol 30:29
My mom was a big proponent of living while you’re young. She we went on trips when she was in her 40s and 50s. And yeah, they didn’t have the money when they were older, but who cares, right? And look what happened. She died at 72. But she did everything. No regrets. Now, if she needed longer term care, because she had cancer and she lasted about a year I think. If it was dementia where you might live for 10 years with it. That’s even more difficult to prep for.
Linda Burhans 31:01
Well, I tell you, it was interesting., when my mom moved into Freedom Square, there was a deal where we put down I think like $50-$60,000 or something like that. So she started in independent living, and then she’d be able to move to assisted living at the time, and then she’d be able to move into a nursing home at the time if it was necessary. And even if she ran out of money. And that’s what we did. The day she moved in there, we thought she was healthy. We didn’t find out until four months later that she had stage four colon cancer, but that was our plan. So she’ll be in the independent for a long time. We felt she was gonna live a whole lot longer life. So that’s how we covered our bases. We were very fortunate because my mom only lived there for like 18 months before she passed away. They did give us a good amount of that money back.
Daniel Wendol 31:49
But you’re right, people don’t know how much it costs. So do some shopping now. Even that conversation is tough. People don’t talk about money, and they certainly don’t want to talk about Long Term Care and assisted living, sickness, death and mortality.
Linda Burhans 32:07
Please get your papers in order. Especially your healthcare surrogate, you know, like, Lynn is all my stuff. My best friend is all my stuff. And she does the show with me. My sisters, I love my sisters, my sisters would leave me plugged in until I was a 102, even if I couldn’t speak anymore. Lynn would be like “Done!” You need to think about that. If I was laying in a bed, they were keeping me plugged in and I didn’t want to be plugged in, I would be so angry. Do I want the last of my life being angry?
Daniel Wendol 32:41
Good point. But you can control that. While you’re sane. While you have your wits about you. Do it now. Why not? You can always change it. You can always change your mind until you can’t. And then it’s too late. So I want to wrap up by saying that the the financial costs are high, but you can manage it if you start early and work as a team. The emotional costs are even higher. And you still have your family and friends. Get that support network. What is your advice to people that don’t have kids? Where do they go if they need help? There are caregivers that are going to hear this, they’re going to want to know, what do I do? How do they learn more from you?
Linda Burhans 33:25
Well for me, they can just tune into my my show or go to my website, Lindaburhans.com. There’s a lot of references there. They need to build that community. They need to be friends with their neighbors, or their Kiwanis people, their Rotary people, their church people or whatever, because they’ll kick in together. They’ll be there for you. Their other one that’s going to help you go to drive to the doctor when you can’t go to the doctor so you don’t have to pay somebody to take you to the doctor. So your kid doesn’t have to take off from work. But we need to build those communities now when you’re in your 40s and start building it not, you know, not all of a sudden you know, I’m 75 I’m sick, I want to be your friend. And reach out and do something nice for a caregiver, please. Anybody that’s listening to this show. Don’t wait for them to say, Can you do this? Because they’re not going to say that. And don’t say, What can I do to help you because you’re just putting another burden on them? Oh, now I got to think about what she’s gonna help me with? No, just make dinner and bring it over. Just tell them I’m going to be there at Tuesday, and I’m hanging out from two to six. There was a woman listens to my show, and she said, I’m a slow learner. She said, My husband’s dementia is so bad that I can’t even go to church anymore. I don’t go anywhere and I want to go to church. She says finally, my neighbors Jewish and he’s always asking if he could help me. She said I went over and said, Can you can hang out with my husband when I go to church? He said, I would love to do that. So she came home from church and they’re playing dominoes. We don’t need you here go away. So she gets four hours every Sunday morning now. That’s community. The neighbor is so glad to see her husband. And one more thing caregivers- as much as you think you’re the bomb caregiver, many times your loved one is saying inside please go away. Take a break! You’re much nicer when you come back!
Daniel Wendol 35:19
Well, if anyone wants more information they can contact Linda. You do a weekly podcast Lindaburhans.com. Also you do a tip of the day.
Linda Burhans 35:31
Yes. Tuesday Tip which is on YouTube and Facebook. Yes.
Daniel Wendol 35:37
I love the new business card you have….
Linda Burhans 35:39
On the back of the card it says “The person on with has Alzheimer’s or dementia and may not be able to communicate or understand what you’re saying thank you for your patience.” And when you give that to a server, or someone in a store or maybe even your neighbor, they understand what’s happening and you’re given some dignity to your loved one too. The last thing I want to be in a retaurant and pointing behind your back.
Daniel Wendol 36:04
It’s just a matter of communicating. You can’t be afraid embarrassed. Ask for help.
Linda Burhans 36:10
Well, I told you the one neighbor, her husband has dementia and he was roaming around people’s yards and he was letting the dog poop on the sidewalk and not cleaning it up and she went into one of those cards to all the neighbors. They’re like “he could have coffee with us!”
Daniel Wendol 36:22
They went from their pitchforks and torches to “come on my lawn.”
Linda Burhans 36:28
You know what, but they didn’t know.
Daniel Wendol 36:30
People don’t know. Generally people are there to help you. Start early. Get your friends and neighbors involved. Contact people like Linda, if you need financial assistance, contact people like me. Get this conversation going while you’re young. While everyone’s healthy. Yeah, it’s not a fun conversation. But you do it once and you get the ball rolling, it will make life so much easier later.
Linda Burhans 36:54
It’s so much more painful to do it later.
Daniel Wendol 36:55 Or potentially impossible to do later.
Daniel J. Wendol is the owner of the Dolphin Financial Group. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, licensed as an Investment Advisor Representative, and also has an insurance license. He combines the investing and insurance worlds with a focus on retirement. ‘
Each week Dan hosts Dolphin Financial Radio, a podcast about the wide-ranging issues people face leading up to and through retirement.
Dolphin Financial Group acts in a fiduciary capacity to help people make life’s toughest financial decisions.