The sales agent sat with me and my wife in our home in 2000 as we discussed her companys long term care policy. As she illustrated her points about the financial devastation that can occur with the onset of a debilitating disease or lingering invalidism, my wife and I exchanged knowing glances, both thinking of our own parents and our recent and ongoing experience with them. In the natural course of the discussion with the agent, these experiences came to light.

Mimis father had just died of lung cancer in Clearwater, Fla., after a long, expensive and unpleasant medical battle. Her mother, 80, was now overwhelmed with grief, the burdens of a large home, financial issues that baffled her, a short-term memory deficit and the fact that her nearest family support (us) was 400 miles north in Atlanta. We were dealing with a constant stream of crisis management, living arrangement decisions, real estate hassles, medical concerns, etc. The agent was sympathetic and used our own story of eldercare challenges to confirm the future benefit of long term care insurance, but her empathy didnt solve our immediate problem.

Given what I now know about geriatric care management and had it been offered to us by a trusted advisor (as our insurance agent surely is), we would have gladly paid for professional help on the ground in Clearwater to help us navigate the fragmented health and social care services network that we needed to solve our long-distance eldercare responsibilities.

Bruce Brittain


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, June 11, 2004. Copyright 2004 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.