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.