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Taking Care of Your Partner: How to Handle Elderly Care and Expenses

Caring for your partner is an important yet financially burdensome responsibility. The medical bills and cost of long-term care for a partner with chronic illness or terminal illness can be astronomical, especially if insurance doesn’t cover all costs. There are some things you can do to help ease the financial burden of medical costs and determine how to handle your partner’s care.

Research financial assistance options.


There are several financial assistance options available that can help cover the costs of caregiving. Medicare, Medicaid, discount prescription drug programs, Social Security, disability assistance, and state health care exchanges are all options depending on individual eligibility.

Another option not often considered is to collect the cash value of the insured patient’s life insurance policy. A viatical settlement is the financial transaction of a life insurance policy from a life insurance policyholder (Viator) to a third party, such as a viatical settlement provider. Brokers of viatical settlements work with viatical settlement providers to facilitate viatical settlement transactions.

The sale of a life insurance policy allows the insured to sell their insurance policy to viatical settlement providers, such as American Life Fund, for a lump sum cash payment, which is less than the policy’s face value and death benefit.

The cash payment an ill patient qualifies for in a life insurance settlement is determined by the policy’s face value, insurance premiums, and expected death benefit. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, any previously insured person with a chronic illness qualifies for an accelerated death benefit. Viaticals can help you cover the medical costs of caring for a partner who is facing terminal illness or chronic illness.

Establish a fiduciary while your loved one is competent.


It’s important for your loved one to appoint a trusted friend or family member as a fiduciary while they are still healthy and of sound mind. A fiduciary is a legal guardian of someone’s assets and holds the ability to make financial decisions on behalf of someone unable to manage money.

There several options for appointing a fiduciary:

  • Power of Attorney (POA): your partner can appoint someone the power to make financial decisions on their behalf with a legal document known as Power of Attorney. The POA takes effect in the event your partner becomes incompetent and the assigned person, or agent, takes over.
  • Trustee: your partner can transfers assets to a revocable living trust and name a trustee so long as they are competent. The trustee is responsible for maintaining the trust’s property should your partner become incompetent. This means securing valuable items in a safety deposit box, maintaining insurance, making investment decisions, and paying taxes.
  • Professional fiduciary: It may be wise to hire a professional fiduciary who is experienced with money management if your partner has extensive or complex assets. A certified public accountant, an attorney, or a trust company officer are all examples of professional fiduciaries. It’s important to ensure the Power of Attorney clearly defines the professional fiduciary’s fees and includes a clause that allows family members to relieve the professional if their performance doesn’t meet expectations.

Help your partner to be comfortable.


Chronic illness makes the activities of daily living challenging and uncomfortable at times. Physical discomfort can make wearing clothing difficult, from fabric irritating the skin to sleeves that feel heavy on the arms. Taking into account some comfortable clothing is important when caring for your partner.

Stores like Soma offer luxury sleepwear that helps to make bedtime more comfortable. The boutique features nightgowns for women, pajamas with long sleeves, flannel loungewear, petite and plus size nightgowns, and seasonal pajama sets. The right wardrobe of women’s nightgowns, slippers, and accessories in perfect fit fabrics will help your loved one stay comfortable.

It’s important to understand your financial options and plan for future financial decisions early on while your partner is competent and able to help make decisions about their own care.