Hope for living, loving and caring with no regrets!

Benefits of Day Stay Programs

Episode 64

Rayna Neises, ACC, host, and Karen Weaver, PCC, co-host, reflect on last week’s interview with Victoria Lowell. Victoria shared information regarding finances and their impact during the caregiving season. Additional thoughts:

  • When retiring early to care for a loved one, you need to consider lost wages.  Also, the lost opportunity to contribute to social security and personal retirement plans.
  • Finding a side hustle can help with income, but also can provide stress relief helping you feel like you are adding value and that you have something of your own.
  • Understand the difference between health insurance, long-term care insurance, and Medicare/Medicaid.
  • Power of Attorney is only good while the person is living.  Once they pass, then the will dictates the handling of the estate.
  • Medical Power of Attorney and Financial Power of Attorney can be separate documents or can be one comprehensive document.
  • It is important to have cash available and accessible at the time of the person’s passing as it can take time to liquidate funds and obtain a copy of the death certificate.
  • Check out Podcast #32 with Kira Reginaldo for additional tips.   

Transcript

*Transcript is an actual recount of the live conversation

Rayna Neises: 

Welcome to A Season Caring Podcast where there’s hope for living loving and caring with no regrets. This is Rayna Neises, your host and Karen Weaver, your cohost. And today we’re going to talk more about our finances and caregiving. Last week with my interview with Victoria, she just brought out some really great points of how our finances are impacted during the season of caring. Karen had you heard of the caregiver penalty box before?

Karen Weaver: 

No, I hadn’t heard that term before. But I have heard of it before. So when she said the term, I was like, what in the world is she talking about? But I have heard that women are adversely impacted by having to serve in caregiver roles perhaps before they’re ready to really leave the workforce. So I know it is a reality. I was very fortunate that I could retire and it would not have been like any penalty to me because I was eligible to retire actually three years prior to the time I did retire. However, when you think about it I probably would have not retired when I did. I retired basically because my dad and my husband had needs that were becoming overwhelming to the point where I just couldn’t balance work-life and caregiving.

Rayna Neises: 

You know, my dad found the same thing with my mom’s diagnosis at 53 he was right at that same age. And so he worked for a period of years, just four more years. And he took early retirement, which. He was back in the day we had pension and all of those things as well, which definitely impacted his overall earning but was a benefit because he still felt like we can travel a little bit. We can do some things together before her disease progressed. So I know that was a real blessing for him, but I think one of the things that I find interesting, I teach Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey. And I always say to people, retirement is not an age, it’s a financial status.

Karen Weaver: 

Absolutely.

Rayna Neises: 

And I think Victoria really brought that point out that it, you have to understand that there’s certain number of years that you work in order for your social security to be at full benefit. There’s contributions to your personal retirement plans that you aren’t making if you aren’t working. So there’s a lot of things to think about when you’re thinking about these caregiving years.

Karen Weaver: 

Oh, yeah. I need to stop and think about their lifestyle and will they be able to sustain the lifestyle that they’re used to on the income that they will bring in? Because most of the time it is going to be less then what they would be bringing in if they were working full time. And that’s why I loved her idea about, get a little side hustle. I thought that was, you know, just a nice thing to encourage people to think about. Because a lot of times people just sort of give up. Come out of the workforce, but they’re not really doing any forward thinking or planning or thinking about how can I use my skills from the workforce to actually make some money on the side, for sure.

Rayna Neises: 

And then additional income is definitely helpful, but also just that gives you some stress relief. Doesn’t it? I know your side hustle has been your coaching and that’s the thing that has come in after retirement for you. And that definitely gives you an outlet.

Karen Weaver: 

Yes because it’s not all about money. It’s also about finding that emotional support and just something where you feel like you’re adding value and something that’s sort of like your own. That’s what the coaching is for me. So you’re absolutely correct. It’s it’s more than about money.

Rayna Neises: 

And for the big picture for caregivers again, it sometimes feels like I don’t know how I get away from all my responsibilities as a caregiver to do something else. But that’s really the question to ask yourself, how can I get away from it enough to have something of my own? So that you can sustain this as long as it takes to do that.

Karen Weaver: 

Right. And I often ask people what does your support system look like? And if you haven’t asked yourself that question. You need to ask yourself that question and that’s when it’s worth having someone come in and sit with your loved one and for a few hours so that you can pursue some of your own passions and get some additional income. In addition to just pursue your passions.

Rayna Neises: 

And you know, it might not be an income generating job. You might be of an age that you really don’t want to mess with work, but it could be a volunteer. It just, whatever that passion is that feeds your soul because. Caregiving drains in a lot of ways we’ve got to find those things that feed us. And that’s one great way of doing it. If it pays, that’s awesome. Because like we said, that’s going to help support you on down the line. But if it’s just a volunteer thing, that’s also a great thing to engage in and an opportunity for you to just continue to grow and stretch, use that muscle of your brain because you need to.

Karen Weaver: 

Absolutely.

Rayna Neises: 

So as we talk about that retirement piece, that kind of brings up another thing that I’ve noticed. And that’s just really a lack of understanding for a lot of people on how the health insurance long-term Care, Medicare, all of that stuff, how all that works. So let’s, let’s dive in there and see if we can shed a little light on some things.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah. Well, I will tell you when my mother took your in 2009 and she actually went through rehab and went to a facility for awhile cause she had a trake at one point. And then finally it was time for her to come home. And so fortunately we did get that time, but prior to that, we didn’t know if she would have to stay in the facility for a long period of time. And we got into this conversation about how would we actually pay for this? How would we pay for her to stay in the facility for long-term? And the advisor was telling us that even though we had Medicare, Medicaid was the one that would give us a little bit more support. But then they started talking about, we had too many assets to actually get Medicaid and my parents didn’t have Long-term Care Insurance. I mean, by the time I ever reduced them to that thought process, they were older. And of course Long-term Care Insurance is very expensive once you get older, but certainly. There’s a difference between health insurance and long-term care insurance and health insurance is not going to be able to pay for everything you need, especially if you just need to be cared for, but you don’t necessarily have urgent medical needs to be addressed.

Rayna Neises: 

Right. In fact, Long-term Care Insurance kicks in, whenever things like daily living

Karen Weaver: 

Yes.

Rayna Neises: 

activities are something you need help with showering.

Karen Weaver: 

Yes.

Rayna Neises: 

feeding yourself, those types of things and those aren’t medical events. Those are just a process that maybe an event has caused a loss of being able to do that for yourself. But once the medical cause has been addressed and you’re stabilized the need from health insurance is over. And so unless you have Long-term care to kick in and take care of you, when you can’t do those daily living activities yourself, then that’s where it comes out of pocket. And it really limits a lot of people’s opportunities then.

Karen Weaver: 

And the good thing about the Long-term Care Insurance is you can use it if you’re in your home to help pay for a caregiver, or you can use it if you’re in a facility now it’s not like. A policy that lasts forever. There is a term, but a period, but still it does provide some supplemental income. If you’re trying to figure out how to pay for caregiving services.

Rayna Neises: 

I know my mom and dad’s policy was very old, but it paid about half as much when you were at your home, as it would have paid if you were in a home, but it still gave us an opportunity to help work towards some of the cost involved in bringing in the 24 hour care. But there are all different kinds like Victoria was saying, and there are all different things that it covers. And how long, like you said, how long the term lasts and how much the ceiling is on the payout and all of those things. So many details, definitely contact your local professionals for that information, but just understanding that Medicare is not going to cover it. And that just because you feel like it’s medically necessary, doesn’t mean your insurance is going to cover that if you are not of age to have Medicare. And the other piece that I find a lot of people don’t realize is Medicare is really not free. Medicare is something that comes from your own investment into social security you pay. And I looked it up in 2020, it was about $144 and 60 cents a month. Isn’t a lot, but it’s, it’s enough, especially when you’re on a fixed income when they’re taking that much out every month. And that means everything’s paid for right. We get all of our healthcare covered with that payment. Is that right?

Karen Weaver: 

Really, they have a part A, they have a part B, they have a part D for prescription, so you can sign up for many different pieces of it, but no, it doesn’t pay for everything. I know my husband and I, we have Medicare, but we also have a Supplemental health Insurance as well to help with the cost. And we’re still getting bills. So nothing is ever totally covered. You’re just trying to minimize your expenses as best you can for sure.

Rayna Neises: 

And I think a lot of those insurances are based off of your income, so that how much you’re paying for those supplemental insurances, they definitely vary for your situation? But I think the main thing is just realizing that as a person who’s stepping in and caring for a loved one, we are thankful that you’re doing that. We think that’s so important to do that, just to make sure you understand if Medicare and all of these things are impacting you with the person you’re caring for yet, just realize it’s going to impact you as the person who’s caring. And so understanding those impacts is part of what I just thought was a really helpful conversation to have today, to be thinking about, How much you’re contributing, how much you have worked, how much you’re going to be able to be eligible for, with your social security. And then just understanding that your medical coverage is going to be important later as well. So I’m just getting a big picture on that. Hopefully that’s been helpful to you listeners. The other thing that we had talked about, Karen with Victoria, was those, all that end of life paperwork we’ve been talking a lot about as well as the paperwork to help us make decisions while we’re still here. So there is a difference between those sets of things. And a lot of times I think all of these terms and all of this information can be somewhat overwhelming and we don’t necessarily process all of it, what each thing does. So when we’re alive and we’re needing to make decisions on behalf of our loved ones, or we need someone to do that on our behalf. That’s where our power of attorneys come in.

Karen Weaver: 

Yes, absolutely. And I think that people fail to understand that when a person transitions, the Power of Attorney is no longer in force. I mean, it only lasts for that period, but if you think about somebody being cared for, or being disabled, it doesn’t only apply to someone who’s an elderly person. I mean, my husband had a massive stroke when he was 39 years old and his doctor supported me in getting a power of attorney. Right away, because there were so many things that needed to be taken care of. And my husband was not able to do any type of business transactions at all. But then once a person transitions, that’s when you need your willand you need to have thought through the process of your estate or whatever your plans are for after you transition. So it, it definitely is something to consider it. And the other piece about the the Power of Attorney I wanted to mention is there are different pieces to it. There’s financial piece, there’s a medical piece. So it’s not just. A one thing you have to either get a comprehensive power of attorney or get a piecemeal or some way you need to make sure you’re at least taking care of your finances and taking care of covering for your medical needs if you cannot make a decision for yourself.

Rayna Neises: 

And I really love that point because I’m not sure that when my dad had all of that done, if they were really doing two separate ones or not, but I know our experience was my sister was both. And so that was kind of sitting on her shoulders in both areas. And I liked that, that the fact that you can break that up, you can give the person who’s good with money, the opportunity to help you with that. And you can give the person who knows medical terms or is. Closer by and able to make those decisions for you. Maybe not even a family member or even the finances, maybe not a family member, maybe someone from the bank. I don’t know. There’s all different options, but the fact that you can break those two things apart, I think is really important for us to understand and put the person who’s strongest in the place of being able to make those decisions for

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah, I think that’s a great point because I think a lot of times people put the oldest child in charge of all these things, without any consideration of who’s good at what? And then it does put a lot of sort of emotional stress on a person as well to try to navigate all pieces of the picture.

Rayna Neises: 

It’s also important. And we don’t like to talk about this, but you brought it up really well. As far as that transitioning part, we just lost my dad in June of 18. And as we went through the process of planning the funeral, they wanted money before we left the door. And so one of the things, because we had money coming out from investments every month, we were paying bills with it, paying our labor with it, you know, taking care of our caregivers the amount that it costs to have the funeral and meet all those other obligations at the time in which it all happened. Didn’t quite line up. And it took us some time to get the death certificate and to get control over all, to execute all of the things for us to access those finances again, because everything was frozen upon death. And so just understanding that, a funeral is going to cost money and somebody’s going to have that money to pay that bill before it ever happens. Dad had the money, but where it was, was not accessible at that time. And we ran into just a situation where it took us almost a month to get a death certificate so. It was that period of time between the two things kicking in was challenging and was not something we expected to be challenged by because we felt like we had our ducks in a row. We just didn’t realize that it would be that big of a time

Karen Weaver: 

Right. It takes so much time to liquidate yeah. One thing I’ve seen people do is actually leave money in the safe deposit box, you know, they’ve already turned over their finances to their children. And then now people are encouraged to do some prepaid arrangements for the funeral. So, you know, that’s another option to think about it. If people have the resources to actually, do that kind of planning because you’re right. Even like a life insurance policy. You’re not going to get the money when the person transitions it is a process. And like you said, sometimes it takes longer than you might anticipate to get something like a death certificate.

Rayna Neises: 

And I think that opens the door to just, again, bringing up those tough, crucial conversations that we all like to avoid. We don’t want to talk about whether it be, because we think that’s going to make it happen or whether it just be, because it’s just uncomfortable to think about, or, whether it be our, our child that doesn’t want to talk about it, or we don’t want to talk about, there always seems to be somebody who’s kind of dragging their feet in that conversation, but they’re such important conversations because of the fact that when we know when we hear it from our loved one, we can make decisions with confidence. And if we’re having to guess it’s just a tough place to be.

Karen Weaver: 

Yeah, it just makes it harder for everyone. I think since I grew up in a household where. No one ever had conversations about real stuff, because the thought was, if you don’t have conversations, nothing bad ever happened, it would just live forever. I have just been so proactive in having conversations with my own children about what I want, what I don’t want, where this is, where that is, how to navigate? So it just makes it a lot easier if you have those conversations up front, because it’s not fun trying to be a mind reader when the time comes that you really have to make some tough decisions. And do things and not really have any idea what the wishes of the loved one are. If they really are not in the position to have a conversation at that point.

Rayna Neises: 

Even when you think, you know, I think curve balls come into play that can be tough. So I definitely helps to hear it from them and to feel like you at least have a good handle on what they want and to, be able to confidently approach those difficult conversations with the doctors, with your siblings or aunts and uncles, whoever it is, if you know, because you’ve talked to that person. Then you can just have a lot more confidence in the decisions that you’re making and help others understand that too. We had a podcast guest Kira Reginaldo in episode number 32, who talked about Advanced Directives. And she talked about leaving a video or an audio for family members to listen to. I think that is a great podcast. If you want to go back and check that out, listeners, I think that you’ll find here as insights are really helpful. I thought that was a great idea. Just to hear your loved one’s voice telling you this is what I want, can really help build a lot of confidence in that.

Karen Weaver: 

That’s great. That’s a lot of planning

Rayna Neises: 

It is.

Karen Weaver: 

And it’s a gift. It’s a gift. It’s such a gift to your loved ones too, to give them that kind of information. So it’s very clear, very transparent. So there’s no question about what your next steps going to be.

Rayna Neises: 

and as she mentioned, just being able to have that on her, on your phone to listen to when you’re in the thick of it, just to get that reaffirmation of I’m doing the right thing in the middle of those difficult times, and I can see where that would be really helpful, especially. Again, I kind of go back to, because my experiences with both parents without Alzheimer’s piece, people said to us, Oh, I’m sure you had it all figured out all planned out. Like yeah. Kind of, not to the detail that we should have really, because you have those conversations, you have the small snippets of conversation and you’re doing fine. And so you don’t feel like you have to go too detailed necessarily with each step of it. Until then one day you can’t go detailed with that. And you never know when the time’s going to be that you can’t have that conversation, whether it be a healthy person today or someone that’s in progressive disease, you never know when it’s going to be. And so making sure you’ve had those conversations now, rather than later will be something that will be really beneficial to all your loved ones. Well listeners, we’ve enjoyed our conversation today, expounding a little bit on Victoria’s interview and just really wrapping our minds around the finances and some of those tough decisions that have to be made when we’re caring for a loved one, or when we’re in that place, ourselves, just making sure that we’ve really thought through and taken the steps that are going to help everybody make the best decisions possible. Just to reminder, A Season of Caring Podcast is created for the encouragement of family caregivers. If you have financial, medical, or legal questions, consult your local professionals and take heart in your season of caring.

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Meet Your Hosts

Rayna Neises and Karen Weaver

Rayna Neises, ACC

Your Host

An ICF Certified Coach, Author of No Regrets:  Hope for Your Caregiving Season, Podcaster, & Speaker, offering encouragement, support, and resources to those who are in a Season of Caring for Aging Parents.

Her passion is for those caring and their parents, that they might be seen, not forgotten & cared for, not neglected.

Karen Weaver, PCC

Your Co-Host

An ICF Certified Coach, Author, and Caregiver Advocate offers a safe space for self-discovery and self-reflection through career and life coaching.

Her passion is to support and empower those navigating change from a holistic perspective.  

Visit Karen's Website

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4 Things you need to know as you begin your season of caring

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