By Anthony Kimbrough
She simply would not have it any other way, and no amount of persuasion by anyone would have changed her mind. The result: She gave the rest of her best years to him, leaving little left for herself when his body finally joined his mind and departed this earth.
Mama Brightwell was a strong lady. Strong at home, work, church and even at play with her four grandchildren, one of whom was me. She squeezed everything out of life you possibly could, and still had a lot to give when life decided to take something back.
What it took, very slowly at first, was Daddo’s mind. The retired railroad lineman had switched roles with his only bride in their middle ages; he stayed home as housekeeper and chef as she hit the road becoming one of Stanley’s top salespersons nationwide. (I loved counting cash from those pink envelopes after a home party with Mama, where she wowed everyone with the finest in brooms, degreasers and Germ-trol, which I can still hear her explaining how great it worked on a bumblebee sting, too! She was right.)
Mama had retired from full-time sales when the disease began to rob Daddo not just of his mind, but also his strength and coordination. She was still strong in every way, poised to enjoy the retired life she had earned. But Mama made another decision, which was really no decision at all for her – she would stay at his side, tend to all his needs in their own home, until the end. She did exactly that, for a full dozen years. The physical and emotional toll it took on Mama meant she gave the gift of the rest of her life to Daddo.
I don’t know how Mama managed to afford the help that she occasionally turned to during those days, and that was then. Experts today tell us if the growth rate of the last 20 years continues, long-term care costs will triple in the next 20 years.
“And it’s easy to think we won’t need long-term care, especially if we think of long-term care as nursing-home care,”explains Phyllis Shelton, a long-term care consultant. “The reality is that most people will never be in a nursing home as less than 15 percent of long-term care happens there. Most extended care is at home.”
Mama’s story, at least in that respect, is the norm and not the exception. That’s why Shelton stresses baby boomers must not ignore long-term care planning now – when they are younger and still working and benefit from the most affordable rates. Many families who did plan for their long-term care needs, she says, contend long-term care insurance was the only thing that kept their loved one out of a nursing home by providing money to pay for caregivers at home.
We at the Farm Bureau believe this is such an important matter that we’ve provided an exclusive discounted offer for qualified members who have wondered about the affordability of long-term care insurance. Call (866) 808-2077, email LTC@trh.com or visit trh.com and click on Long Term Care Coverage.
Someone will answer your questions about a simple cash product that will pay benefits directly to you, the policyholder, instead of to a provider. In other words, you will make the decision how, where and from whom your care will be delivered when you need it. That is, for me, a Mama Brightwell kind of decision.