About This Page
We begin by sharing Aaron's reasons to be begin specializing in long-term care planning at age 26. We conclude with his professional biography.
From my earliest memories I have known someone with Alzheimer’s Disease – the fatal illness that robs the mind and body usually at advanced ages but sometimes much earlier in life. I remember occasionally visiting my grandfather, usually after Sunday morning church services, in the skilled nursing facility he lived in for 10 years. I can still breathe the smells and hear the groans for help from residents in the hallways of the facility. I could hardly wait to get in the car and escape the image of the man that I only knew as a prisoner to a crippling, horrific disease.
Imagine the heartbreak when we started to realize that my father was beginning to show symptoms of the same condition in his late 50s. Thankfully, before signs of dementia crept in like a mind-robbing thief, he took my advice and purchased long-term care insurance. Because of his familial experiences, my father realized that the coverage was not for him per se. It was for my mom, and his children and grandchildren more than it was ever for him. When dad resigned from his Presidentially-appointed position with the federal government, a few newspaper articles, banquets and receptions honored him while he was still mostly aware of his surroundings. When dad could no longer be left alone, my mom also quit her job at the local veterinarian clinic and began her new vocation: full-time caregiver.
Dad’s long-term care insurance policy was structured to cover care at home, in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility, adult day care or hospice. Its benefits were unlimited: the coverage could never be exhausted regardless of how long he might have needed care. Mom resisted turning on the benefits for many months (it seems that she held sacred the “…for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health” part of the wedding vows) until she finally realized that she needed help in caring for dad. Eventually a home care agency was hired to help take care of him a few hours per day, freeing her to go to the grocery store, the doctor’s office, or see a grandchild’s piano recital. In other words, the long-term care insurance gave her some of her life back.
Eventually the combined care provided by mom and the agency wasn’t enough. After a health scare of her own, mom called me and wanted to know my feelings about placing dad in a nursing home permanently. Realizing that my dad’s chronic care needs were making my mother chronically-ill herself, I told her that she had my absolute encouragement to do so. At that point she said that she had already talked to the other children and that they also agreed. A facility was chosen that was close to the homes of three of the four children. Mom and dad’s house was sold, allowing mom to live closer to the facility so that she could be there every day possible as his loving wife and his personal care advocate, which is so vitally important regardless of the quality and reputation of the facility in which your loved one resides. As an example of her compassion, after dad had passed away in the early morning hours she fed his roommate breakfast later that same day. All but $20 per day of dad’s 18-month stay was paid-for by his insurance policy. In fact, not a single penny of mom or dad’s retirement plans was spent.
These experiences and God’s hand led me to my passion for, and career in, telling others about the importance of planning ahead for the possibility of needing extended care services. For more than 18 years I have listened to clients tell me of their own stories of caregiving. The stories lead to similar conclusions: the emotional and physical strains and pressures of being a caregiver are devastating, adult children often do not contribute equally to the care needs of the parent(s) which can lead to resentment and in-fighting, the lifetime savings of the care recipient was depleted much quicker than ever imagined, relying on Medicaid should be avoided, the lack of planning leads to chaos, and more.
Living a long life is a likelihood. Planning for it is a necessity. Start today! Begin with an expert in LTC planning representing a multitude of companies and solutions. You will be surprised by the number of attractive choices that are available to you. And maybe you will enjoy what I have come to experience by owning coverage that protects my family: the ability to live my life in peace.
Aaron R. Eisenach, CLTC, is the proprietor of AaronEisenach.com. He is also Vice President, Western Region, of Krieger & Associates…an ICB Company. As a specialist in extended care planning, Aaron’s goal is to help families mitigate the emotional, physical and financial consequences of a long-term care event. His passion to help others stems from his father’s and grandfather’s battles with Alzheimer’s Disease at relatively young ages and witnessing the lasting impacts on family and finances. He believes that everyone deserves a serious conversation about the potentially devastating emotional, physical and financial consequences a long-term care event can cause.
Aaron serves as president of the LTC Forum of Colorado, Inc., a not-for-profit advocacy group that supports and encourages proactive long-term care planning in Colorado. He is a member of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance. He was recently elected as Chairperson of the Producers Advisory Council of the Colorado Division of Insurance.
Aaron’s outreach also extends to the public. He is a contributing author for Elder Law in Colorado and Senior Law Handbook and enjoys lecturing at Senior Law Day in Denver. He has spoken to employees of groups such as Lockheed Martin, RTD, Ball Aerospace, a number of school districts and many more. In addition to working with the Colorado legislature and Division of Insurance on regulations that affect long-term care, Mr. Eisenach spoke from the Capitol steps in 2008 alongside Governor Bill Ritter to launch Colorado’s LTC Partnership Program. At the request of the Division of Insurance, Aaron put together a panel of agents and participated in call-in shows for viewers of 9News and KMGH 7News. Most recently, Aaron was recently a featured speaker at the 2014 Financial Planning Association of Colorado Symposium, provided a CLE course to members of the Colorado Bar Association and was a contributor to the American College curriculum for LTC insurance.
Aaron and his wife, Cheryl, enjoy raising their children at their home outside of Brighton. Helping his children with 4-H livestock projects and serving in his local church are two of the activities that take up his free time.