Claire and her husband Stefan had a pretty good life. Two busy professionals, they raised three wonderful children who went off and began their own successful careers. Things were good. They were approaching 60 and were anxiously anticipating retirement.
Then the unthinkable happened.
Just after they fully paid off all their children’s college educations, as they had promised they would, Claire suffered a stroke. She was 58, nine years away from formal retirement, but with Stefan’s work, income, and investments, they were planning on both retiring in just five years.
They wanted to travel. They wanted to visit Disneyland. They wanted to check out Paris, the Great Wall, and see the Galapagos. They had all these wonderful plans and had been saving for it.
Suddenly, they didn’t know what the future would hold.
Claire spent more than three weeks in the hospital. For the first five days she was unresponsive. Finally, her eyes flickered and eventually opened. She couldn’t communicate by talking, but Stefan and their children -with tears of relief filling their eyes when she finally regained consciousness- promised to support her every step of the way.
What neither Stephan nor Claire could anticipate in those initial moments, those first days and weeks after the stroke, was just how long and difficult the recovery would take.
Claire would eventually be moved to a nursing home and stay there for another 11 months. When she finally regained enough strength and her health stabilized enough, she was able to return home. Still, she required around-the-clock medical attention, physical support, and a great deal of exercise and therapy.
This went on for another two years before she was able to get around (with great difficulty and a cane or walker as well as a wheelchair) to some degree. During that time, Stefan struggled to make sense of how they could pay for everything.
It was difficult enough just to recover.
The challenge for Claire to recover from this stroke was difficult on its own. When Claire and Stefan fully realized and appreciated just how much this cost, dreams of their retirement, even traveling domestically (let alone internationally), suddenly seemed far more distant.
Never underestimate the impact that serious health issues can have, not just physically and health-wise, but financially. When people depend on long-term care insurance, it can make a world of difference for their future, their recovery, and their safety.