For some it is a rather confusing topic. Others wish to avoid the topic all together as it is not necessarily a fun thought. However, when you consider the fact that close to 70% of those over the age of 65 will need it, you have to.
The need for long-term care is constantly rising. These medical and personal services offered through long-term care are vital to those who can no longer care for themselves. Research supports this notion when you take a look at the countless studies as conducted by the American Society on Aging. We can only expect that the demand for these types of services will continue to grow as we continue to age.
The truth is here in the U.S we are all growing older. The median age for the populations is on a continuous rise. This means we are getting older and living longer as a society. The once youth aged individuals are, continuously aging into their elderly years. If you take a look at the 77 million Americans or baby boomers born between 1946- and 1964, this is not so shocking. Nearly all of these individuals have reached or are close to reaching their sixties within the next three years.
While we have always been “getting older”, the difference comes into play when we consider population size differences. In 1920 only a mere 5%of the populations was older than 65 years old. Today, the 65 and older population has already doubled in size and is expected to continue to do so.
What does this mean?
So what does this sudden influx of a large elderly population mean for us? It means that the demand and need for certain programs can be expected to rapidly increase. As more and more seniors begin to access their retirement and social security benefits other industries will be affected. It is time to consider health insurance, social security, housing, and long-term care.
Once upon a time the U.S life expectancy was only 47 years old in the 1900’s. In the 200’s we watched the average life expectancy sore to 78 years old. In a few more decades, we can expect the average U.S life span to exceed over 80 years. Scientist believe that with the continual advances in medicine and research it would not be bizzare to see individuals reach 120 years. While some of these individuals may be able to remain healthy and able up until their later years, many others will require assistance.
If we take a look back at even a few decades ago, women often served as caretakers. Caretakers of not only children but also for aging parents and other family. However, taking a look into present day, the vast majority of women have now joined the workforce. In fact, many women now serve as the main provider in one or two income households. This new occurrence has also given rise to some women having children later in life. For many women this has meant not being able to serve as full time caretakers as they try to navigate their careers and raising their own children. Another change in the workforce we have seen is that individuals are working longer and later in life again preventing them from becoming caretakers.
With the population growing older all at once, caretakers becoming more scarce, and the costs of long-term care on the rise, this brings way to new questions. Most centered around who will take care of me if I need care and how will I pay for it? Afterall long-term care can cost at a minimum several thousands of dollars per year. The good news is there are now more options for care than ever before. The key is to know your options, understand how they work, and choose one that best suits your needs. Another key determinant in being able to afford your future long-term care is to plan not just react.
For many this will look like planning for long-term care before they ever actually need it. This can look like first learning all there is to know about long-term care. Factors such as what is it, who needs it, and how can I afford it, are great starting points. Next you can begin to educate yourself on the different options for affording long-term care such as long-term care insurance.
Long-term care insurance is designed to help cover the expenses from a patient’s long-term care needs. Often patients with disabilities or illnesses will need help with daily activities and functions. If you are over the age of 65 the odds of you needing some type of Long Term Care is close to 70%.
Daily functions for a patient would include bathing, eating, dressing, transportation and using the restroom. When a patient is no longer able to perform these basic tasks on their own they may require assistance. Long Term Care differs from traditional medical care in that the goals of the two are different. Unlike medical care, the goal of long-term care is not to improve your illness or improve health. The goals of long-term care it to maintain the quality and routine of your daily lifestyle. Long-term care providers can help ensure you prepare healthy meals, take you to appointments or places that you need to go, remind you to take your medications, and assist with hygiene management.
Personal vs. skilled
There are two different types of Long Term Care personal and skilled care. Personal Long term care helps you with the basic activities and functions around your home. Many people will receive this type of care in their own home or in a nursing home. The other type of care is skilled care. This type of LTC is for patients that require a medical professional. The tasks that they need help with will need to be performed by a nurse or therapist. Patients will be in care centers and nursing homes rather than in their own homes.
Other things to know
Planning for long-term care is as important as planning for retirement and other big life events. Failing to do so can leave your finances as well as your family in a vulnerable state. Understanding the ins and outs of long-term care can help us plan accordingly. Some other things to know about long-term care or (LTC) include:
- LTC can be offered in a variety of settings such as residential options, nursing homes, and assisted living options
- Medicare and medicaid will not cover most people long-term care
- Most health insurances do not include long-term care coverage
- Disability insurance is not synonymous with long-term care insurance
More on Long-term care insurance
Long-term care insurance is also commonly referred to as LTCI. When understanding LTCI there is a variety of language and terms that you will encounter and understanding each can be helpful. Some commonly used terms when dealing with LTCI include:
The average daily benefit amount for LTCI is typically $140 per day but can go up to $250 per day. This is designed to cover the estimated daily cost for care and is paid out in benefit form to policyholders.
Premiums refer to the costs of a long-term care policy. It is the amount policyholders are expected to pay in exchange for benefits.
A coverage period is how long the policy will last. This can range all the way from five years to a lifetime.
The more you know about long term care the more likely you are to make informed decisions surrounding your future. Take the time to ask questions and learn what options you may have available to you. If you or someone you love is interested in learning more about Long Term Care Insurance be sure to visit: LTC TREE for more information.