Gayle Reeves' Blog

If Not Now When

Gayle A. Reeves - Tuesday, February 03, 2015


        Lately I have been doing quite a few programs for healthcare professionals.  My topics have included the use of Medicaid in long-term care planning, how to facilitate difficult discussions, and legal and financial issues for persons diagnosed with memory loss.  At the end of my programs there seems to be a central theme to the questions posed by the healthcare professionals.  If there are so many opportunities to plan for disability, long-term care, and even our death, why are people not doing the planning before a crisis strikes? 

      That is the question I pose to you today.  If you are not going to do the planning now, while you are healthy and competent, when are you going to do it?

       Many of my clients come in for an appointment and tell me they have been putting off having a Last Will and Testament done for 10, 20, 30 years.  Why?  Because no one likes to think about their mortality.  But once they come in and find out how easy the process is, they walk out shaking their heads saying “why did I procrastinate?”

        I have clients who have a loved one in a nursing home.  Each month they dutifully pay the nursing home for the care provided to their loved one.  One day, they look at their bank account and realize that very soon there will not be any money left.  Not only will they not be able to pay the nursing home, but the nest egg that would have allowed them to stay in their home has disappeared.  It does not take long for their financial security to vanish.       

         Other clients have provided care for their spouse for so long that their own health has deteriorated.  Not only can they no longer provide care for their spouse, but now they need someone to care for them.  Who will care for both of them and will they be able to continue to live together?  It is heartbreaking to discover that a couple who has shared over 50 years of life together must spend the remainder of their life apart. 

By planning ahead you can preserve your financial security. 

By planning ahead you can make sure that you and your loved ones will get the proper care regardless of any deteriorating health conditions. 

 By planning ahead you can keep control of your situation and have a voice in where you live and the care you receive. 

 By planning ahead you can have peace of mind.

 So, I ask you again.  If not now, when will you put a plan into place?