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Six years ago, businessman Ben Rao got his wake-up call.
“My stepfather started to get very sick,” he said. “The first thought was, we don’t want to move him into a long-term care community. We tried to keep him home the best we could. So we hired an in-home health company to come in and take care of him. He started to get sicker and needed help to get out of bed, so we had to get a new person to come in. A larger male, that could help lift him, because he was a pretty big guy. It didn’t take long for us to realize, this wasn’t going to work either. So, then we were scrambling and needed to find reliable senior care.”
As with many families, Tom had no plan – nothing on paper. Rao and his half-sister didn’t know the answers to many important questions – Where are his assets? How much money does he have? Does he qualify for VA benefits? Does he qualify for Medicaid? What should we do with the house?
“Most importantly, I didn’t know anything about researching a caring community,” he said.
After his stepfather
Shortly after the experience with his stepfather, Rao joined a couple of companies that provide services in the senior living/home care space. This was including Family Solutions for Care, long-term care insurance claims specialists.
“Over the last few years, I’ve seen a lot of families in crisis mode. Families that haven’t planned for someone who needed to move out of their home into full-time care. You see families giving up, families getting stressed. And you start to get into arguments and disagreements. It creates another level of emotional stress on top of what’s usually already crisis management.” He said. “Like my own family, they just don’t know what to do next.”
Writing for a difference
“I’ve always wanted to write a book, and this was the perfect opportunity for me to shepherd people through the process. To help them understand what to expect. Some of the books are emotional. While some of it is methodical – roadmap stuff. About half of the book is educating people about how to pay for long-term care.” He said. “Of course, all of this leads back to helping that seniors get the care they need. And as quickly as possible and trying to reduce stress for the family.”
While he admits he’s not an expert in everything. Rao said he hopes the book will give families the information they need to successfully navigate the aging journey.
“I can help to translate for a family who knows zero and get them to at least 50 or 60 percent. While I know I’m not going to get them to 100 percent, but I can connect them to resources that they might not realize they have or need.” He said, “It’s the most meaningful work I’ve ever done. I’m hoping, with the book, that we can impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of families. Throughout this process, I also hope it will prompt people who are in their 50s and 60s to start thinking about their own situations and make a plan.”
Rao’s book, Paying for Long-Term Care: The Essential Guide to Understanding and Funding Senior Care is now available via Amazon.