Like most elder law attorneys, Rachel Truhlsen had exposure to the concept of elder care decades before launching her elder care law practice.
Rachel is founder of Truhlsen Elder Care Law of Nebraska, a Life Care Planning Law Firm in Blair, Nebraska. Her elder care story starts in the city where she practices law today. “After my mom retired from her nursing career, she would drive the 90 minutes from Blair to Lincoln every Monday to take care of my grandparents,” Rachel remembered. “She did their laundry and their grocery shopping and took them to doctor appointments. If she hadn’t done that for them, they would have had to leave their home much earlier than they would have otherwise.”
As Rachel works with her elderly clients and their family caregivers today, her appreciation for her grandparents’ situation and her mother’s sacrifices has only grown. “My grandparents were really special to me,” Rachel recalled. “I grew up with a dad who was physically present, but emotionally absent, and my grandpa filled that gap. I’m so grateful that my mother was able to be there for them.”
Rachel’s grandfather ended up living until age 96; her grandmother lived to 102. “They were both so incredibly special to me,” Rachel explained. “I watched my mom provide for them and take care of them. It was a labor of love for her. She was retired, and she didn't need to work for an income, so she was able to take the time to make all those trips to Lincoln.”
Though Rachel’s grandparents had plenty of money to pay for needed care, caregiving still took its toll on her mother. “Mom would get calls in the middle of the night and she'd have to drive from Blair to Lincoln to deal with whatever the issue was,” Rachel explained. “She wore that caregiving burden on her body. But I know that she wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
In her Life Care Planning practice today, Rachel sees many people in her office who remind her of the sacrifices her mom made during her own parents’ long-term care journey. “Whether the caregiver is a spouse, an adult child, or a grandchild, they come in and they’re exhausted, especially if they’re trying to hold down a job or deal with their own family in addition to providing care for their elderly loved one,” Rachel explained. “When they find out about our services and how our elder care staff can walk alongside them providing support and guidance, you can see the relief on their faces.”
Much of that relief is provided by the firm’s elder care coordinator. “During an initial meeting with a client, after we've talked about all the legal matters, asset protection issues, and public benefits, the subject inevitably turns to care,” Rachel added. “And that’s when Janice takes over. I could leave the room at that point. It’s really amazing to watch the process. Clients relax before our eyes. They leave here knowing that they have a way to address the whole problem, not just the legal part, which is a whole lot better than how it used to be. I could give my clients nice legal documents, but if they needed help with care, I’d give them a name and a phone number and send them on their way. It’s so much more satisfying helping people solve problems that really matter.”