If you are like me, you might have gone home for an Easter and Passover family gathering this past weekend and discovered something shocking: Everybody got older.
The baby cousins are now old enough to have babies.
The babies are old enough to play with their parents’ phones, or their own phones.
The aunts, uncles, in-laws and parents who joked about “being 29 for the kajillionth time” may now have been reporting their age that way for 40, 50 or even 60 years.
And many of the sorts of independent, salt-of-the-earth sorts of business owners who have bought long-term care insurance (LTCI) and other retirement-related products and services over the years are still working. Many of them are the pillars holding up mysterious, complicated, family-owned small business, or midsize businesses, that continue to generate a steady income and employ a fair number of people.
The owners tend to be the sorts of people who will move from corner offices directly to the brief illnesses that will end their lives here on earth, or to the long-term illnesses that will force them to use long-term care (LTC) services.
It seems to me that it would be useful, kind and possibly lucrative for LTC planners to take note of which clients own small businesses, offer referrals to reputable business succession planning advisors, and, if those referrals are rejected, check in on the family from time to time to see if help is needed with supporting owners who have gotten on in years, and possibly with arranging for orderly sales, transfers or shutdowns of the businesses.
If any laws, regulations or ethical guidelines limit that kind of referral activity, I think those rules needed to be adjusted. It seems as if LTC planners, and the care coordinators they work with, may be perfectly situated, and especially well-prepared, for recognizing the need for the kinds of difficult conversations that aging requires, and for at least starting the process of getting families in touch with the kinds of professional advisors who can help the families prevent the kinds of knots that neglect and denial can create, or help the families cut through the knots that already exist.
See also: Making estate planning a family affair