By Rick Law, Founder and Managing Partner of Law ElderLaw, Estate, Asset and Retirement Tax Attorneys.
Huntington’s Disease is a long-term illness that strikes at an average age of 39. That’s well before the age that most people plan to retire, and increasingly, it’s well before a lot of people have even begun planning for retirement.
I recently encountered a widow who had served as her husband’s primary caregiver for more than 16 years. She spoke with both passion and pain, describing her caregiving sojourn as “the loneliest time of my life.” For this reason, she wanted to speak out and be an encouragement to others who might be on the same road.
Her husband had been diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease, and to paraphrase her words, “While my husband had the diagnosis, the disease took from both of us.” For at least eleven of the sixteen years of his disease, he was not able to hold her, kiss her, or care for her. She continued, “He was stolen from me. I no longer had a lover, a soul mate, someone who could really share with me. Our days as a couple were at an end.”
During her husband’s illness, she had to sacrifice her own feelings for the benefit of her spouse. She felt abandoned by her husband’s own family. When she called her husband’s brothers and reminded them of how important it was to her husband that they visit, they responded with, “I just can’t stand to see him that way.” In the end, her burden could have been lighter if family and friends had stayed more involved.
“I was a widow with a living husband”…
My feeling is that we could all do a better job in helping others carry the load of long term illness by providing support, and not just sympathy. In addition, there needs to be more awareness of what family members are going through during what is likely the loneliest and most difficult time of their lives.
If your loved one has a serious diagnosis and you’re afraid of the consequences that may bring, give our office a call today at (800) 310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free. We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family. Call now.
Rick L. Law, Estate, Asset and Retirement Tax Attorney
8 times named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine, Rick has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate, Asset and Retirement Taxes. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future. Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care. Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!