In order to put these difficult emotions of fear and anxiety to good use, Dr. Nusbaum suggests:
- Remind yourself that everyone feels some fear, anxiety, sadness, and worry when thinking about a long term care event. Don't feel badly about these feelings. Be resilient by using them and not avoiding them.
- Choose a trusted long term care planning partner who can help carve out a plan that addresses personal anxieties and concerns for yourself and your family.
- Get clear and specific on anxieties, thoughts and wishes by creating a 3-column list. In the first column list anxieties; in the 2 nd column list specific thoughts about that anxiety; and in the 3 rd column list what a wished-for scenario looks like. The wished-for scenarios are the goals for your long term care plan.
- Don't have a drive-by conversation with your planning partner. Have the conversation in at least three scheduled meetings. A conversation on the fly is a form of avoidance. Don't let lack of money -- or worries of not enough money -- stop you from planning. Concerns about money are more often than not a part of the long term care planning process. Not planning because of money concerns is a form of avoidance and the potential cost of not planning can be far more expensive and worrisome than planning.
- Educate yourself by speaking with others who have had a long term care event, caregivers and long term care plan experts to get a clear and true picture of what long term care may actually be like. Also speak to a long term care planning advisor to see what your options are, particularly focusing on your wish-list (watch for avoidance).
- Finally, with a long term care partner and long term care advisor, develop a plan that gets as close to your wish-list as possible.
Facing Unique Situations
'State of Planning' also found that 60 percent of females report not having a plan in place for future long term care, an interesting statistic considering women tend to have the most exposure to long term care issues as caregivers and are aware of the challenges that coordinating care can pose. Women were also found to be significantly more likely (18 percent) than men (9 percent) to cite not having found the right time to bring this up with loved ones as the most important reason preventing them from creating a plan.