Elder Law Explained: Long Term Care Planning

Long Term Care Planning

When it comes to long term care, there are so many things to consider and just the thought of putting a plan in place is enough to send most people running for the hills. It’s an uncomfortable topic that forces us to face our approach to the later years of life and the decisions that come with it. Will I age in place or plan to utilize assisted living? What if I’m unexpectedly incapacitated and need more care than can be provided at home? Who will care for me? And how do I pay for the kind of care I would want and need? In 2019, the National daily average cost of nursing home care was $245 a day that’s close to $90,000 annualized. So to say that long term care planning is Important is an understatement. In this episode we give you a good base knowledge and get you on the path to understanding Long Term Care Planning.

Here’s what we cover
  • What is Long Term Care
  • What is Long Term Care Planning
  • How does Life Care Management fit in (see episode 8 for more about Life Care Management)
  • Ways to pay for long term care 
  • When should one begin planning
  • Why is long term care planning important/What happens if I don’t have a plan

Links & resources

Related Episodes

Thanks for listening!

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Read the interview transcript

Closed Captioning

Sage Aging Episode 12

Elder Law Explained: Long Term Care Planning

Recorded 6/9/2020

Liz Craven, Carolyn Duran, Jason Penrod


Liz Craven  00:00

Hello, and welcome to the Sage Aging podcast. I’m your host Liz Craven. This is Episode 12, and the third episode of a five part series addressing the legal side of the aging process. When it comes to long term care, there are so many things to consider and just the thought of putting a plan in place is enough to send most people running for the hills. It’s an uncomfortable topic that forces us to face our approach to the later years of life and the decisions that come with it. Will I age in place or plan to utilize assisted living? What if I’m unexpectedly incapacitated and need more care than can be provided at home? Who will care for me? And how do I pay for the kind of care I would want and need? In 2019, the National daily average cost of nursing home care was $245 a day that’s close to $90,000 annualized. So to say that long term care planning is Important is an understatement. Today we’re going to give you a good base knowledge and get you on the path to understanding Long Term Care Planning. My guest today is board certified Elder Law Attorney Jason Penrod of Family Elder Law. Jason has been practicing Elder Law for 16 years in Central Florida. He was the 20th attorney to be board certified as an expert in Elder Law by the Florida Bar and the National Elder Law foundation. He’s the founder of Family Elder Law with offices in Lake Wales Sebring and Lakeland, Florida. To learn more about Jason and Family Elder Law. Be sure to check the link section of the show notes for this episode, which can be found in the blog post for Episode 12 at SageAging.us. Welcome to the show, Jason and thanks for joining me today.


Jason Penrod  01:53

Thanks. It’s great to be here.


Liz Craven  01:55

Well, I really appreciate you taking the time to be here. I know you’re a busy The guy and you are definitely somebody that gives a lot of time back to the community and educating people in so many ways. I think you recently did some segments for the Alzheimer’s Association Caregiver College, didn’t you?


Jason Penrod  02:13

That’s correct.


Liz Craven  02:15

The Alzheimer’s Association was with us…that was episode three. If you have someone with dementia in your family want to know what the Alzheimer’s Association has put in place during the stay at home time period, they’ll be carrying those things moving forward. And Jason was a part of that, and did some education for their virtual Caregiver College. And I just think that’s really neat. Tell me a little bit about that.


Jason Penrod  02:41

Yeah, it’s been a great session for you know, teaching about trying to handle the conditions of someone that has Alzheimer’s or dementia and what to prepare for, what action steps you can take from a care standpoint and, you know, have having someone appointed to be a key decision. maker and how to plan for paying for care and things like that that come up in the future. I’ve learned a lot from the people that have attended probably more than they’ve learned from me.


Liz Craven  03:10

Well, I know you are a wealth of information, and I love it that you gave back in that way and that you do that all the time. So what made you choose Elder Law as a profession anyway?


Jason Penrod  03:23

That’s a great question. I come in into law school, I thought I was going to be a big trial litigator. I’m from Buffalo, New York, originally, and when I was a senior in high school, the OJ Simpson trial was going on. And oj simpson played in Buffalo. And so there was, you know, even though there was much national attention, there was Particular attention in Buffalo. And so I watched the trial every day after school, and that’s what I thought I was going to do. And then I got into law school and worked for a couple litigation firms and found out that litigation wasn’t exactly like it appears on TV and when I moved to Well, so I was kind of searching for the avenue of what I was going to do. It was during the real estate boom that I moved to Lake wells, and ended up attending a seminar on the fundamentals of elder law. I was always curious as to what Elder Law was I had practice in different areas that were related to elder law, but never specifically understood what the whole concept of elder law was. And the first speaker was Scott sock off who his father Jerome. So cough is considered the godfather of elder law in Florida. And Scott spoke passionately about an introduction to Elder Law, what exactly it was, and one of the best definitions he had was that it was the holistic approach the legal affairs of seniors and their families. And he talked about how, you know, there’s Real Estate Attorneys where you come in and you meet the attorney for about a month and there’s maybe a mortgage that has to be attained and there’s Transfer of monies and eventually the keys to the house and then you never see the client again. He talked about how Elder Law was fundamentally different that he had some clients for, you know, a decade, they kept living and evolving together and adapting to life. I just found that to be very refreshing. He would talk about how he he went to sleep at night, and had a great conscience. He felt rewarded in this work, and that he often got a hug along with the check from his clients. And having having an intern with the public defender. I joke with people that the the check wasn’t that good. And I really didn’t want the hugs. So it’s, you know, a refreshing practice.


Liz Craven  05:40

I love it. You know, the relationship factor is so important for me too and and I can see how that would be very attractive to you because of the relationships that you generate. And people are so relieved when they find somebody who can help them to work through some of these things that have to happen in life. are yours it can be confusing and it can be overwhelming. I’m so excited to have you here today. And as I said before, this is a continuation of a five part series and the series was designed just to help people hit the high points of each area of elder law and get a good base knowledge so that they can dig a little bit deeper on their own. It goes without saying that we’re not here today to dispense any legal advice of any kind. And I’d encourage listeners if you have a specific question about your own situation. please reach out to Jason or to any other elder law attorney and they can help to get the answers that you need. I will include Jason’s contact information as well as an elder law attorney locator in the show notes for you so you can find one in your area. So let’s get on to our topic. Long Term Care Planning. That’s a pretty involved topic and we can’t fully explain it in a short podcast episode, but Let’s kind of get the basics out there. And let’s start with a definition of long term care. What is long term care?


Jason Penrod  07:07

So Liz, I’m actually a Life Care Planning Attorney, and, you know, we take a holistic approach in life care planning, which is not just the legal affairs but also financial and then care elements. How do we plan for care? And one of our sister businesses, Family Elder Care, we have a geriatric care manager by the name of Carolyn Duran, who is exceptional. And she’s joining me today.


Carolyn Duran  07:31

Hi, I’m Carolyn.


Liz Craven  07:32

Oh, hi, Carolyn, nice to have you here today.


Carolyn Duran  07:36

Thank you for having me.


Liz Craven  07:38

Well, gosh, I think we should back up just a little bit. Let’s hear a little bit more about Carolyn as well.


Carolyn Duran  07:45

So I run Family Elder Care. Family Elder Care is a sister company to Family Elder Law, as Jason stated. Essentially, when someone comes in and does a Life Care Plan, Jason takes care of their legal affairs. And sorting out you know how to pay for those things and how to plan to pay for those things. And I work more in the medical portion of it, and in finding correct safety measures in their home or within skilled nursing or assisted living and kind of assessing people’s needs and making sure they’re able to age safely and in place. A lot of times people want to age at home, you know, we try to make that happen if it’s safe. If we can’t, then we try to come up with strategies on, you know, how to best meet their needs, so that they can age safely.


Liz Craven  08:37

That’s fantastic. You know, we did a whole episode on Life Care Management. That was episode eight. And Barbara Harrington came and talked a lot about that. So the value of that that’s incredible. And I love that you’re incorporating that in your practice.


Jason Penrod  08:53

Yeah, one of the things I found, Liz, was that you know, when I was practicing just strictly in Elder Law You know, clients would come to me and I would give my best guess, based on client experiences, what I had seen, and things of that nature, but there’s nothing quite like having someone that’s, you know, boots on the ground as far as being in the facilities, knowing which home health care companies are the best, and things of that nature really able to look at someone’s medical file and give them the best care possible.


Liz Craven  09:23



Carolyn Duran  09:27

I previously did guardianship and did private care management before him and he kind of found me and was like, you’re a perfect fit for this. I think, you know, people could really benefit from this, I’m only able to do what I’m able to do and that’s, you know, legal and that sort of thing. And I really need the expertise so we can better help people.


Liz Craven  09:47

That’s fantastic. And so many areas within the Elder Law realm, they really do tie together. A lot of different professions and a lot of things they have to go hand in hand for it. To work well, and that you have it all under one roof is pretty cool.


Jason Penrod  10:04

Yeah, we found it to be a, you know, it’s been an exceptional experience. We’ve been doing it since the beginning of the year. And it’s been a real blessing to both to the firm but mostly to the clients.


Liz Craven  10:14

Very good. So let’s talk about Long Term Care Planning. I mean, somebody who approaches and and really hasn’t ever thought of that before, give us a good basic description of what that is and how to get started.


Jason Penrod  10:30

Sure. So you know, Long Term Care Planning is it’s really crucial that people start as soon as possible. But, you know, what they’re looking to do is if they can’t care for themselves, that they need some type of assistance, whether it’s in their house, or in assisted living or in a nursing home, and there’s all kinds of in betweens on that spectrum. Basically, we got to figure out how we’re going to pay for that, where that’s going to occur. You know, those are big questions, ones that some families don’t unfortunately, start Planning for until they’re in the crisis situation. You know, the the classic situation is if someone has dementia or Alzheimer’s and they’re struggling on their own at home and the family’s trying to do as much caregiving as they can, maybe there’s some physical issues. And then there ultimately becomes this crisis moments such as falling and breaking a hip and ending up in a hospital and subsequently a rehab facility. And a family finds out that the person can’t return home because it’s not safe from the care standpoint. And so they got to figure out how to start paying the nursing home $10,000 a month or whatever it is. And so, what we’re trying to advocate and help people learn as soon as possible is to really start planning for that ahead of a crisis.


Liz Craven  11:45

Well, that makes the most sense. And I agree so many people get stuck in that position that they just don’t even know what to do and those numbers that I shared at the beginning, having a semi private room cost up to 90,000 thousand dollars annually you can imagine, you know, it’s it’s a little bit more than that for a private room. People don’t even know how to approach that when they get to that place and haven’t then don’t have a plan in place.


Jason Penrod  12:12

So true. Many of my clients have been blue collar workers saved money their whole life, and then to have a spouse go into a nursing home and not know how long they’re going to have to be there and how to pay for that. If it’s if the price is $90,000 a year, you know, they might have saved their whole life, but their their life savings could be gone in a matter of a couple of years if they don’t try and proactively approach the planning process.


Liz Craven  12:38

Absolutely. So what are some ways to pay for long term care?


Jason Penrod  12:44

Well, some people are able to afford the care privately. And you know, that’s a blessing when someone can self insure. We have a small percentage of clients that we’re able to procure Long Term Care Insurance and that can help pay for care. The issue with long term care insurance typically is you know, how good is the policy and the coverage. So I have some clients that bought their policy A long time ago, and were able to get really incredible policy coverages such as, you know, further, further lifetime or, you know, a period of five years and, you know, $250 a day. I have other clients that have smaller policies that are $50 a day and so they need other assistance. Some of the other assistance we look at is Medicaid planning. A lot of people think that Medicaid eligibility is only for poor people. You know, I’m here to say that for many middle class families, Medicaid planning is a needed tool because of the expensive costs of care that we talked about. And some we have some people that are veterans of wartime periods, and they can be eligible for VA benefits that help pay for care and widows of Veterans, I understand you’re going to have a session At some point, but there’s some some money’s there to help pay for care.


Liz Craven  14:04

So the time that people should start to plan for this, I mean, honestly, is there a too soon?


Jason Penrod  14:11

There is not a too soon. You know, one of the things about long term care insurance, for example, is that as you get older, it gets more expensive. And at some point, you might develop health issues, you know, if there’s a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s, you can’t get long term care insurance at that point. So it’s too late. And so the earlier the better, the premiums are much cheaper for long term care insurance, for example, the younger you are, there’s different products nowadays that that people can get up to a certain age to help pay for care. And so, like anything in life, you have more options and more independence. More control, the earlier you start planning.


Liz Craven  14:54

Okay, so what about let’s take Baby Boomers for example, the Leading Age Baby Boomers are already starting to utilize some of the long term care services. And by the year 2030, all 73 million Baby Boomers will have aged into the 65 plus age group. So for those that are kind of already approaching that place in their life, if they didn’t do the planning early on, are there still options and things they can do now?


Jason Penrod  15:25

There certainly is. So we we have you know, cases like I was describing the the family where the broken hip, they end up in the nursing home, there is crisis, Medicaid planning or crisis planning that we can do even at that point. The thing is that the earlier you can start planning, the more options you typically have to protect your assets to be able to afford care and be as independent as possible. So yeah, it’s never too late. But that shouldn’t let someone not start planning. In other words, you know, they can be available to many more options that earlier Right, they start planning.


Liz Craven  16:02

You know, a lot of people, I think, believe that if they don’t have significant assets, that it isn’t necessarily in their best interest to go and sit with an attorney and talk about things like this, but planning for long term care, even when your assets are limited is very important.


Jason Penrod  16:20

So true, probably more crucial for for someone that has limited assets, because as we were talking, the expenses for long term care are so high. So, you know, if you don’t avail yourself to the resources that are out there, it’s very possible that you can, you know, even go bankrupt because of long term care costs and things of that nature.


Carolyn Duran  16:41

Mm hmm. Or leave your spouse without, you know, funding to care for themselves say, you know, you’re the unhealthy spouse and then your spouse is unable to have any funding to pay for themselves while you’re in a nursing home.


Liz Craven  16:52

Oh, that’s a really good point. Really good point. Oh, so much to think about. What about planning for long term care when you do have assets? Can we talk for a moment about asset protection?


Jason Penrod  17:05

Certainly, a lot of my clients have have worked hard their whole lives they’ve, they’ve done well by themselves. And, again, you know, one of the most devastating effects to someone’s estate is a long term care crisis that’s not planned for. And so yeah, there’s definitely asset protection avenues to try and be able to pay for care while still protecting assets. Like Carolyn said that, you know, we have some clients where, you know, the couple has been married for 65 years, and all of a sudden one spouse is in the nursing home. And the healthy spouse is going to bed at night alone for the first time in many years. And there’s, there’s thoughts of, you know, how do they pay for that care? And what about that person, if they need long term care assistance in the future, you know, how are they going to live? And so even when you have assets, they can be depleted really quickly. If you don’t do some planning


Liz Craven  18:00

What types of things do you do in order to protect those assets?


Jason Penrod  18:05

Sure. So we often will do proactive planning. So, which is, you know, Medicaid has, for example, a five year look back period. Sometimes we will contemplate planning so that we can avoid that look back situation. If we think we’re healthy enough to get through a five year period, there might be a way to protect those assets via irrevocable trusts and different types of planning to basically shelter assets. If you have someone in the family that you trust, that planning can work really well.


Liz Craven  18:41

So explain, “look back,” because I think a lot of people don’t understand what that means.


Jason Penrod  18:46

That’s a great question. So the look back period is basically when you apply for Medicaid or VA benefits to pay for long term care. Those programs will ask you What have you done with your assets and or income and The last five years for Medicaid and in the VA world, it’s three years. And what they’re looking for is did you transfer monies to your children or your family, and then say now I’m under the eligibility asset caps within that time period. So for instance, if you had somebody that had $200,000, and they had to get under the $2,000 acid cap, the government saying, you know, don’t don’t transfer $199,000 to your child and then apply for Medicaid The next day, because but for you transferring 199,000, we think you could have paid the nursing home for almost two years. So what they’ll do in that case is they’ll penalize someone going forward for qualification purposes. In other words, you know, if the average nursing home costs in Florida is about $10,000 a month, and you transfer $100,000 to your child, Medicaid says, you know, but for you transferring $100,000, you’d be able to pay the nursing home for 10 months. So you’re disqualified for many Gave until month 11. So you got to figure out how to privately pay for that care in the interim, and most of our families can’t do that. So there is some planning if you’re ahead of the game a bit to try to get past that five year period and transfer some assets in a protected fashion. If you are able to do that and you apply for Medicaid and say your seven Medicaid can’t ask you about the assets that were transferred.


Liz Craven  20:25

Right. And we are going to have an episode that will go a little more in depth just to lead our audience there the next episode Episode 13. We will cover a little more about the Medicaid planning in specifics but this is so important to know because so many people I hear I even when I overhear it and conversations, I’ve forced myself to go and interject myself because they talk about spending down everything and giving it away and and getting rid of their assets and I’m like stop, go see an attorney.


Jason Penrod  21:00

Yeah, so true. There’s so many you know, there’s there’s different Medicaid programs that have different rules. So there’s, you know, a Medicaid program called medically needy or share of cost Medicaid, which has no look back period. So it’s possible to transfer assets and apply for Medicaid the next day. The problem with that fact is that people hear different things and they equate Medicaid is just one program when it’s really got, you know, different flavors of ice cream, if you attack it with different rules. And so there’s a lot of myths out there about what you know, to transfer your assets to your kids, you know, maybe that’s a good idea, maybe it’s not. So you really got to be careful.


Liz Craven  21:38

It’s definitely important to engage a professional even if just for that initial setup, because as an individual who doesn’t have the background that you have, it’s really difficult to know what’s what because it changes all the time. And so by not engaging a professional, you put yourself at risk and you put your family at risk, frankly, leaving them behind with nothing. What happens if I don’t have a plan? I need long term care. There are no assets to be accessed within the family. What happens to that type of person?


Jason Penrod  22:14

Yeah, that’s a difficult situation when we see often, you know, like I said, there is crisis planning that can be done. One of the key questions typically is, you know, does that individual is that individual have capacity to execute things like a power of attorney to be able to handle affairs for them, or do they have a revocable living trust. So they have a trustee to act for them. If they don’t, sometimes we end up in guardianship court and then have to get court permission to do whatever we need to do to try to get eligible for Medicaid or whatever benefit is that helps us pay for care can be very expensive. And as you pointed out, if someone doesn’t have much income or assets, you know, it’s difficult for them to get good legal advice. At times to pay be able to pay for someone like Carolyn Duran, who’s going to come and really help the family learn the ins and outs and navigate the whole long term care system.


Carolyn Duran  23:09

You know, and as a guardian, I’d say guardianship is absolutely last resort. I mean, you’re taking people’s rights away. So it’s not something people ideally want to do to their loved one or to anyone really, because you know what, what guardianship really means is to take over the rights of someone else, because they just can’t do that. So, you know, trying to proactively plan from like a care standpoint, and from a medical standpoint, and just try to put a good game plan in place so we don’t have to go down that road is ideal. Can it be done once someone does do that? Well, of course, but it’s always easier if you can try to stay ahead of it and say, while we’re seeing signs of dementia, what do we do and where do we go and how do we handle this and what safeguards Do we need to make this a livable situation for our family


Jason Penrod  23:59

And piggybacking Carolyn was saying there, you know, one of the issues that we see with families is that there is maybe a plan for long term care, but it’s not always realistic. You know, so we’ve got three adult children that all live in town, and each of them is going to take an eight hour shift, you know, to plan to care for mom or dad. And we do have some amazing clients that have done that in a team approach. But the issue is with a lot of caregivers is that they often are working full time as well. Maybe they don’t know exactly how to, you know, provide the care. I mean, they’re not trained care professionals are just doing the best they can out of love from mom and dad. And so, you know, I used to have clients when I started practicing, you know, 15 years ago, they would say, you know, my life care, or my long term care plan is that my kids will take care of me. And I can tell you from experience, that’s that’s usually not a great plan, because sometimes just can’t happen. It’s, it’s not always feasible. And so it’s really important that there’s honest conversations about about, you know, where would you go if you needed types of care? You know, who would you call? Would you call it a geriatric care manager like Carolyn to, you know, assess and give you a good opinions or, you know, are we counting on the kids to basically drop everything and make sure that they provide care or whatever the plan is, it’s just important that everybody communicates well. And they’re realistic about how they’re gonna, how that’s gonna take place and how they’re going to pay for.


Liz Craven  25:25

And that’s so, so true.


Carolyn Duran  25:27

A lot of times I work with adult children kind of creating that game plan because they want to do everything and maybe that’s not really realistic. You know, what can they do? What is their lifestyle, maybe they travel for work, maybe they’re out of state, you know, where can we you know, fill in the gaps for them so that their mom or dad gets everything they need and they can still have quality of life in their own lives too.


Liz Craven  25:52

Well, I’ve had experience on the caregiving side multiple times and two experiences that stand out my mother was unprepared. She did not have a care plan in place. She had very few assets, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 68. When she thought she was still going to be working for a little while. So that was one situation. I was her primary caregiver. It was rough. We had a lot to take care of, during a time when it would have been nice to just love on her and help her get through her cancer and end of life. And then on the other hand, we had my father in law. He actually lived with us for the last few months of his life, but he was extremely well prepared for retirement. So when he started to see signs of dementia, he moved into assisted living, stayed there for a while. When it was time to move to a Memory Care Unit. We made the decision as a family that he would come home with us but because he had the assets in place and the plan in place he was able to afford caregivers and so we had caregivers here every single day to do the hands on caregiving while we worked and maintained our life. And then we did the evenings and spent some really great time in those few months. I wouldn’t trade for anything, but it was because of his thinking ahead. And having a plan in place and having set with his attorney early on, to put all of the pieces together, that we were able to have that wonderful end of life with him.


Jason Penrod  27:30

Yeah, that’s truly a blessing. And when when someone can prepare ahead of time, it’s it’s one of those conversations that I find is elusive for families. Often we’ll sit here and we’re often the ones that start the or were the catalyst for the conversation because the adult children want to have the conversation about what would happen with care, but they’re afraid to make their parents think, Hey, I’m thinking about you possibly getting sick, possibly passing away and things like that. And the patient typically don’t want to talk to the kids because they don’t want them to feel bad about them possibly getting sick, possibly passing at some point. And so but they really want to have the conversation to figure out what to do but to plan. And so that’s often where the elder law attorney or the geriatric care manager can really bring the family together and start talking about those things.


Carolyn Duran  28:18

Mm hmm. And just as a neutral person, you know, sometimes it’s easier not coming from a family member and just having family around and involved but not being the catalyst, as you said, just sort of being a neutral person just kind of explaining the facts and letting people digest that and talk about it amongst themselves. Very true.


Liz Craven  28:37

So can you point our listeners to some resources that they might be able to go and dig a little deeper for themselves? Maybe websites, books, videos, what can you think of that would be a good resource to lead people to?



Sure. You know, one of the resources that I often point people to is Nayla, which is the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. So you can go to www naela.org and you find a lot of good material on Elder Law planning, you know, different issues that you might be thinking about. There’s also the Life Care Planning website that I use is ww lcplfa.org. And that’s life care planning law firms Association. It’s got some good articles on what Life Care Planning is and how to find good Life Care Planning attorneys in your area. the Alzheimer’s Association website is very good. I often point people to that. It gives you information as well as tells you when different support groups are for caregivers and things of that nature. And there’s aging life. care.org is also a good website.


Liz Craven  29:50

Very good. And I will make sure that I link all of those in the show notes. So if you’re listening and want to check those out, just go to sageaging.us click on the blog post for Episode 12. And all of those links will be there for you easy access. So one last thing, somebody is ready to come and see you to start their planning process. How can they best prepare?


Jason Penrod  30:18

The best way to prepare is to start gathering different documentation that an elder law attorney is going to basically use as a starting point. So for instance, if they’ve ever drafted or executed estate planning documents before, now start gathering those documents so the attorney can look at them and see if they need to be updated, if they’re good, and give you you know, different options relating to those. It’s also important because you’re talking about long term care options and how to pay for that. Typically, the elder law attorney is going to want to look at verifications of your income and your assets and things of that nature. So anything that you can, you know, start preparing For buy, you know, I often tell people, it’s almost like preparing for your tax return. You know, you start organizing and getting things together, those type of verifications of income and assets, your estate planning documents are usually good start for the elder law attorney to start helping you.


Liz Craven  31:17

Fantastic. Jason and Carolyn, thank you so much for being with us today. I think that there’s a lot for people to think about. And this is a great start to get people on their way and on their journey for long term care planning. I hope that everybody takes this information and does something with it. So thank you so much for your time. We appreciate you being here.


Jason Penrod  31:38

Thank you for having us. We appreciate it.


Carolyn Duran  31:40

Thank you.


Liz Craven  31:41

All right. So everyone, look next week for another new episode of Sage Aging. We’ll be continuing our Elder Law series, we’ll be speaking to Tim Darby about Medicaid, which is a big topic and also about veterans benefits. So we hope You’ll come back and visit with us then. Take care everybody

Liz Craven

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As I’ve been preparing to launch this podcast I’ve enjoyed revisiting stages of my own life and reflecting on how this topic became such a passion for me. While I’ve built my career on helping older adults and their families connect to needed education and resources, my connection to the aging and care process goes much deeper.

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my own multi-generational family living together in one home. I was 4 or 5 when my grandmother moved into our home to help care for my sisters and I while our parents worked. Soon after, her father and grandfather moved in as well. We had 5 generations living under one roof! That was a beautifully chaotic adventure and knowing what I know now, I have so much respect for what my parents and grandmother did.

Fast forward to age 24. Newly married and pregnant with our first child, I spent several months with my in-laws to help care for my husband’s grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. Fast forward again to about 2009 – Wes and I have two teenagers about to head to college and his mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years later, my mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years after that Wes’ stepdad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and his father is suffering from severe dementia. You can see where this is going right? For the better part of the last 10 years we have been the caregivers. We see it as an honor and privilege to have been able to do that for our parents.

The key to navigating our later years is being proactive about gathering information before we get there and staying engaged once we do. To be sage is to be wise. There is wisdom in taking the time to ask questions, seek solutions and know your options before the need arises.

Each week we will discuss relevant topics of aging with experts who can help us to understand and be better prepared for aging. We’ll also introduce you to some Sage Agers who are totally owning their journeys through life. No topic will be off limits and we will deliver open and honest conversation meant to educate and empower our listeners. Each episode will also be available in video and blog formats.

Whether you are proactively seeking to broaden your own knowledge, a caregiver for a loved one or a professional working in the aging care industry, this podcast is for you. We hope you will join us as we explore and celebrate Sage Aging.