“Would you like to interview Rob Lowe?” That was the question that arrived in my email inbox last week, and I quickly replied “yes.” Being an involved dad, I have always loved reading about famous dads who are active participants in their children’s lives. And what I have read about Rob…Can I call him Rob now since we’ve shared the same breathing area? Yes, I think I can. So, what I‘ve read about Rob’s parenting is that he loves being a dad and is a good one. And that was confirmed when he said, “My family has been the greatest joy I’ve ever had.” And he has had a lot of joys over the years.
But after replying “yes” to the interview, I scrolled down through the message and saw that the interview topic was long term care and that Rob (I’m still on a first name basis here) has partnered with Genworth Financial, Inc. for a #LetsTalk tour, in hopes of getting the conversation started within families to prepare for that day when long term care is needed.
After reading through the email, I thought, “oh great, what am I going to talk about. I know nothing about long term care. I can talk all day long about parenting. I have no clue what to say or ask in regards to long term care.” And then it hit me – I do not know anything about long term care because I haven’t had the conversation with my own parents. I haven’t even had that conversation with my wife.
My stepdad passed away a year ago and my mother is in limbo with what to do with the rest of her life. She should be basking in her glory years, but unfortunately, her health is poor and she may not be able to afford her home much longer. Long term planning is a conversation we should have had with my mother a long time ago, while my stepdad was still alive and healthy.
And so I LITERALLY (for the Parks and Rec fans) had a great time meeting Rob and hearing his thoughts on long term care.
Rob became involved in long term care early on in his life. His grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer in the 70s, long before people were having conversations about long term care. I’m betting his grandmother’s battle provided Rob with the inspiration to participate in the Lets Talk campaign.
Rob said that he “enjoys being out in front of family related issues.” “Whether it’s my sons or my parents, any issue that effects them is something that I care about.” So not only is Rob a good dad, but he’s also a good son. The main focal point of the Let’s Talk campaign is to get the conversation rolling between parents and their children. According to Genworth Financial, at least 70% of people aged 65 or over will need long term care at some point in their lives. After pointing out that statistic, Rob channeled one of his roles, John F. Kennedy when he quoted the late President, “The time to fix the roof is while the sun is shining.” And he’s right. Or, they’re both right. The time to prepare for the worst is not when the worst has already happened.
Rob called the conversation about long term care, “the adult birds and the bees.” I’m about to have the birds and the bees talk with my son, and I think I would rather have that conversation than discussing long term care with my mom… or mother-in-law for that matter. He sympathized with those that do not want to have that conversation with their parents. “You know you have to have it. You don’t want to have it. But it’s really important… It doesn’t have to be a bad thing.” He added, “We all like to think we’ll always be like we are at the height of our powers.” (I will always think of him as Soda Pop) “And for a lot of us, we will be for a very long time. But the numbers are the numbers and they say 70 percent of us will need this kind of care at some point. Additionally I think there is a mindset out there that traditional insurance will cover it or affordable health care act or Medicare… and they don’t. So you don’t want to be surprised. As you plan for your retirement . . . this is the added component that we have found that people are overlooking. And so that’s again what today is about . . . starting that talk.”
I came away from the interview and a visit from a giant coffee cup, with a larger desire to prepare for the rainy days that may lay ahead for my family. I, like Rob said, like to think of myself at the height of my health, but it won’t always be that way. We’re coming to the game late for my mom, and I regret that. But I also must prepare for my own circumstances so that the burden of caring for me doesn’t fall upon my children or grandchildren someday. Looks like there could be some uncomfortable, but necessary, conversations ahead.
What about you? Have you had “the talk” yet?