It was only in the last six months of my mother’s life, when she was living in a private assisted living facility, that I felt like her daughter again.

This came after years of struggling to balance both full-time requirements of running a business and taking care of my mother (even with the help of an at-home caregiver), of setting up cameras in my mother's condo when she lived alone so I could be sure she was safe. It came after years of watching a once-healthy mother-daughter relationship slowly reverse, of seeing the strong. nurturing woman who had cared for me as a child become dependent on the care I provided for her.

With the help of a custom long-term care plan, not only were we able to find a place for her to live in that she truly loved, but also, we were able to enhance our relationship as mother and daughter in the process. It meant I was able to spend quality time with my mother and enjoy bonding with her in a genuine, heartfelt way. I was no longer preparing meals and administering medications. I was able to enjoy a glass of wine with my morn while having her preferred dessert, flan, and painting her nails in her favorite color, bright red. Those are the memories I know my mother would want me to have of her.

I enjoy sharing my story with others in hopes that they can learn from my experiences and make their own journey more enjoyable as they navigate the difficulties of caregiving. I meet with a lot of clients who are going through an experience similar to my own, and it is crucial to recognize that everyone has their own story. I know from personal experience how hard this process can be from both an emotional and financial standpoint I understand what it means to want the best for your parents when they are no longer able to live on their own but finding that you may not have prepared for what your version of "the best" entails. Just know this: when I finally convinced my mother to agree to a long-term care plan, she was in her 70's, and even then, her plan gave her options that helped her live out the rest of her life in comfort - comfort that just wouldn't have been possible through relying solely on either Medicaid or her personal savings.

My journey through long-term care with my mother gives me a better grasp on how to navigate the complicated (sometimes overwhelmingly so) planning process, whether it's paperwork-related, appealing Medicare and assisted living facilities for their aging parents in the same way I once had to for my mother, deciding what care options to choose from, or even just trying to figure out next steps. I've helped clients face the challenges of finding the right care for their aging parents, outlining the ways in which a long-term care plan provides for care in ways that Medicaid can't like I did for my mother-and, like her, they often find the breadth of the benefits far greater than what they had expected.

The best time to think about long-term care is before you actually need it, and the most effective way to plan for these unforeseen events is when you are healthy and have more options.

Don't let the emotions associated with long-term care planning keep you from protecting your income and your family; remember, at the end of the day, this plan isn't for you. It's for your children, your nephews, your nieces-the people who love you and want to see you taken care of.

Give them and yourself the peace of mind you both deserve: reach out and schedule a talk about your long-term care options today.