Sunday, May 8, 2011

One oh one ninety-nine

A major aspect of caregiving is the financial impact it has.I recently heard Maria Shriver (a woman who probably doesn't need to worry much about how she'll pay for care) say that the long term care requirements for the dementias, and other ailments I would add, will lead many families to financial ruin. This family, even with its PhD and its MBA graduates, would have to concur. We would both have to have scaled some pretty significant professional heights for this not to hurt at all. We're not there yet unfortunately.

Today's story.......
Today, I went to the pharmacy to pick up a drug. This drug, an eyedrop, I bought only a week ago for Mummy. Her prescription, filled using her health insurance, was quite reasonable. Well, let me be completely honest, we could have bought the brand name drug with insurance, for $73.00 (yikes!) or the generic for $5.00 Guess which one I took?

This week, I filled my prescription for the same drug. We share many genes, mother and I, including the gene for this particular eye condition. I, however, have no insurance. It was one of the early casualties of the costs of her care. So I filled the prescription, without insurance. Wanna guess the price? You got it. One-oh-one ninety-nine. Should have saved my "Yikes!" for today. I should have bought the cheaper version...oh yeah. I DID! The brand name drug would have run me an additional $67.00. Yeah well that wasn't any kind of option. And so it goes. 

Where's the prep course for this? It's not just the logistics of getting the patient around and managing daily activities that's hard, it's the daily grind of managing the person's financial affairs and ensuring that whatever funds they have don't run out before the end of the race that gets no attention. It's the figuring out how to meet their needs and yours at the same time, on the one pool of funds that is stress inducing. That's the stuff for which no advance notice is given and no preparatory course is offered. It's about having the conversation with oneself, as the pre-retiree or one's parents, as pre-retirees to ensure that everyone is on the same page. It's about making a plan. It's about retiring READY. It can be done. I spend many hours playing catch up now, but we are catching up because I've got a plan.

After three years of hands on management of Mummy's affairs, and seven before that talking about just this set of circumstances to my family (to no avail, I might add), I am an expert. I really should teach a class.

Actually, I really will teach a class. Soon. Really soon. You should come.

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