There are literally hundreds of ways we can— and do— verbalize our loving feelings: “I love you with all my heart, I love you from the bottom of my heart, I love you to the moon and back, I’ll love you forever and always.” And if you know me, you know that because it’s February, I won’t miss the chance to make what is, in my view, an obvious connection between having a PLAN for living a long life and the one month in the year known for expressing LOVE.

Just as the list of ways to verbally express love is boundless, so too is there a myriad of ways to demonstrate our love through our actions. Valentine’s Day presents a wonderful opportunity (and serves as a reminder) to give some thought to—and communicate with—those most important to us. This year, why not dare to have that conversation with your family?

You know the one I’m talking about, right? The talk about how you’d want the situation handled if you or your spouse were no longer independent. The opportunity to express how, because you love them with all your heart, you wouldn’t want a condition like this to affect the entire family more than it has to.

Consider: what would be your loved ones’ ability to cope in the event one of you—due to a cognitive or physical limitation—needed help because you could no longer perform the activities of daily living without assistance? Or perhaps, because of a cognitive impairment, you could no longer be left alone? As much of an emotional impact as this would inevitably cause, it simply doesn’t have to be a financial burden as well. That’s why I suggest you meet with a Long-Term Care Planning Specialist to discuss what the options are to transfer this risk and create a PLAN for the future.

We learn at an early age how special it is to feel loved and to express love. Through the years, our priorities change, and we value our family more and more. As sweet (and traditional) as it is for your loved one to receive the roses or box of chocolates, I’m suggesting that this year you add a gift that has a deeper and long-lasting meaning – that is, the gift to include a PLAN to LIVE a LONG LIFE on your To Do List this month.

To understand why more Americans than ever are pondering these concerns and what to do about them, consider the data provided by Tania Slade in an article entitled “Longevity, Life Expectancy & the Long Run” in the February 6, 2019 issue of Advisor Magazine:

                 “BMO Wealth Management wanted to know how Americans are thinking about this increased longevity, so we conducted a survey of more than 500 Americans aged 55 and older to explore their views on aging and their top concerns tied to family and wealth. … The study shows that Americans’ top concerns about living a long life include health problems and costs, becoming a burden on family, and maintaining financial security. And more importantly, far more aging Americans would most like to be remembered for the values they lived by and the life lessons they imparted along the way than for the wealth they accumulated.”

What better way to express “I love you with all my heart” to your loved ones and be remembered for the values you lived by and the life lessons you imparted along the way than to make the promise to create a PLAN that proves it!