Writing Workshops Provide Outlet for Long Term Caregivers

In Austin, Texas, individuals dealing with the stress and burden of being a family caregiver have a program that can help them cope. Organized writing workshops are helping these caregivers regularly express their emotions in a healthy way.

Writing Workshops

The writing workshops are coordinated by a number of local organizations working together. The Austin Public Library Friends Foundation’s program Badgerdog teamed up with Mobile Art Program and Health’s Angels. Health’s Angels is a service group of St. David’s Foundation Community Fund. These organizations have created the writing workshops, let by instructors who provide the resources for caregivers to engage in therapeutic activities.

The instructors utilize writing prompts and model poems for the caregivers to use as an example, and they are encouraged to write expressively.

On the other side of the spectrum, the individuals receiving care are also able to engage in therapeutic activities. They are presented with similar opportunities to create sculptures, self-portraits, and other forms of expressive art.

Aging Population 

Austin has seen a 110% growth in the pre-senior population in the last 10 years, an indication of the major “Silver Wave” that is to come both across Texas and the entire nation.

Baby Boomers are beginning to retire and need long term care at higher rates than ever before. With fewer children and fewer family caregivers available, now is a crucial time for individuals to address the risk of long term care and the burden that often comes along with it.

9 in 10 Americans receiving long term care are utilizing an unpaid caregiver, typically either a spouse, family member, friend, or other loved one.  This unpaid care is valued at an estimated $450 billion annually, a staggering cost for something that will only rise in prevalence. One Austin couple makes up part of the population involved in unpaid care.

Therapeutic Benefits

Stephanie Peco became the primary caregiver of her husband Keith, when after years of memory problems, he was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Like many adults in the United States, Stephanie and Keith had to face the issue of health much earlier than expected. For them, the benefits of the writing workshops are tangible.

Stephanie was surprised how easily the writing came when she sat down to it at her first workshop. When it came time to pen her first poem, it happened naturally. “It just came out of me, all at once, like it was already written,” Peco explains.

The therapeutic benefits of writing have long been discussed, but it can be difficult to know just how effective it is. One study out of the University of Auckland found that daily expressive writing was associated with faster wound healing in healthy adults ages 64 to 97, a significant finding, since many times, the only perceived benefits are mental, such as reducing stress and anxiety. For some, though, writing can be much more.

Find out more about the program or read more about the rising pre-senior population in Austin. If you are in your middle age, it may be time to start planning for retirement and considering the potential costs that come along with long term care.

Read more on how best to plan for such costs or fill out this form to request a personalized comparison quote of the top long term care insurance companies.

Looking at Long Term Care Insurance? Don’t Wait to Buy

Shopping for insurance isn’t something that should be rushed. Buying an insurance policy isn’t like buying a new shirt; it’s a process that requires a lot of serious thought and consideration.

Take Your Time, But Don’t Procrastinate

Because buying insurance is a matter that shouldn’t be taken lightly, we understand the importance of taking your time to think through all of your options before you decide. On the other hand, though, we have also found that there is a big difference between thinking through your options and putting off the decision. Many people tend to do the latter rather than follow through and buy a policy, which often ends up hurting them in the end.

Long Term Care Insurance can help you pay for the cost of long term care so you don’t have to cover the costs with the savings you have worked so hard for throughout your entire life. It provides you with a separate pool of money from the cost of care is deducted, should you ever file a claim. Qualifying for a policy requires more than just an application, though; it also requires good health and oftentimes, a young age. That’s why putting off the decision to buy a policy can be so risky.

Shelving the Idea

We frequently speak with clients who are shopping around for policies. After speaking with them, we send them a binder with a personalized quote comparison for them to look over. The point of the binder is to provide clients with all the information they need and allow them to review the various choices to decide which is best for them. Following a thorough review of the various policies is often the best time to buy. The information is fresh in your mind. All too often, though, we hear the age-old addage, “I’ll think about it.” Sometimes, we never hear from those clients again. Sometimes, we do.

When we do hear back from those clients, it is often one of two things. Either they just had an experience with a friend or family member that made them reconsider buying a policy and they are now ready to purchase, or they themselves have experienced a serious health problem that requires long term care and they are desperate to know if it is still possible to buy a policy. The answer? Probably not.

If you wait until you have fallen, suffered a stroke or heart attack, become fragile, or been diagnosed with a disease, the chances of qualifying for a Long Term Care Insurance policy are slim. Unfortunately, some people shelve the idea of buying a policy until one of those things happens and by then, it is too late. We actually spoke with a client recently who this happened to. Sadly, she didn’t wait long at all – just one week went by between when we sent her the binder and when she broke her hip. By the time she fell, there was nothing she could do. Her chances of qualifying for a policy were out the window because she was in her late 70s.

Buy at the Right Time

It may seem like the sensible thing to do: wait a little while to make a decision, and it might be. It also might be a mistake, though. Understanding your personal risk is vital to understanding when you should buy a policy. For most people, buying in their 50s is the best time because they are still in relatively good health and their age helps them attain lower premiums.

Regardless of how old you are, though, once you have decided that a Long Term Care Insurance policy is something for you, don’t wait to make the purchase. The longer you wait, the greater your chances are of missing out on your window of opportunity. To request a free quote, fill out this form. Thanks so much for reading our post today.