Over the past few months more and more of our client conversations have addressed the topic of long-term care. That being the case, we thought it would be helpful to take the opportunity to provide you with some information to help define long-term care, some of the statistics associated with long-term care, and to address the different types of planning involved.
Long-Term Care Defined
AARP describes long-term care as “the help that people with chronic illnesses, disabilities or other conditions needed on a daily basis over an extended period of time. The type of help needed can range from assistance with simple activities (such as bathing, dressing and eating) to skilled care that’s provided by nurses, therapists or other professionals.” By definition, individuals require long-term care when a chronic condition, trauma, or illness limits their ability to perform basic self-care tasks also known as “activities of daily living” (ADLs). These include eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring (walking), and continence.
Statistics of Long-Term Care
– At least 70% of people over 65 will need long-term care services and support at some point in their lives.
– About 68% of nursing home residents and 72% of assisted living residents are women. (Source)
– By 2050, the number of individuals using paid long-term care services in any setting (e.g., at home, residential care such as assisted living, or skilled nursing facilities) will likely double from the 13 million using services in 2000 to 27 million people. This estimate is influenced by growth in the population of older people in need of care. (Source)
– Among the population aged 65+, 69% will develop disabilities before they die, and 35% will eventually enter a nursing home.
Long-term care planning does not just mean buying insurance. Long-term care impacts individuals in a number of ways. While insurance may be part of your strategy, long-term care encompasses many things- from long-term services and supports, to finances, to where you will live and how you will navigate legal, family, and social dynamics along the way. This planning involves taking steps to put in place most of what you will need to live comfortably as you get older and should include:
– Considering the lifestyle you want to maintain in retirement.
– Including long-term care costs in your retirement planning.
– Becoming familiar with what Medicare, Medicaid and other types of insurance do and do not cover.
– Considering how to pay for long-term care.
– Understanding the health risks that run in your family and how to manage and reduce these risks for yourself.
– Preparing or reviewing your living will and health care power of attorney in order to provide legal guidance according to your wishes.
As you can see, long-term care planning is an important consideration for your ongoing financial planning that doesn’t just stop at an insurance policy. While the statistics and increasing costs associated with long-term care can be daunting, there are steps we can all take to protect our health and well-being in addition to our financial independence.
As always, we are available to help assist with assessment on the comprehensive benefits of long-term care, as well as to answer any specific questions that relate to your personal financial situation.