Long Term Care Planning
Long Term Care Planning
Planning ahead for future long term care needs is a key part of retirement planning. Many people have had first-hand experience with a loved one who needed long term care services. These experiences underscore the reality of the financial and emotional stress when a loved one needs long term care.
Long term care insurance can protect your retirement assets. Plus it gives you the peace of mind, knowing you can cover the cost of long term care if you need it in the future. A long term care plan also protects your family from having to be caregivers. And it enables you to choose where you’ll receive any care needed in later years.
What is Long Term Care?
Long Term Care Definition
Long Term Care is the assistance needed when a person is unable to manage their own personal care needs or when they need help with daily activities. This type of care is called custodial care and may be required due to a chronic illness or disability, but could also be from memory loss.
What is Custodial Care?
Custodial Care is non-medical care that helps people with their basic daily needs such as walking, bathing, eating, dressing and using the toilet. This type of care is often recommended by licensed medical personnel, but providers of custodial care are not required to be medical professionals.
Does Medicare Cover Custodial Care?
Medicare does NOT cover custodial care when it’s the only kind of care you need.
Who Needs Long Term Care?
The need for care generally falls into two categories:
- Physical impairment requiring assistance with activities of daily living (ADL’s) such as: bathing, continence, dressing, eating, toileting and transferring.
- Cognitive impairment such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. For example, an individual may be able to physically take care of their activities of daily living, but forget to turn off the stove or cannot remember where they live.
Average Long Term Care Stay
Someone turning age 65 today has about a 70 percent chance of needing some type of long term care in their lifetime. While one-third may never need long term care, 20 percent will need it for longer than 5 years. The average length of time people need long term care services is 3 years.1
And it’s not only seniors that need long term care. Over 35 percent of people currently receiving long term care services are between 18 and 64.2
Personal factors can increase the risk of needing care:
- Age – The older a person gets, the more likely it is they will need assistance.
- Living Alone – If you live alone it is more likely you will need to pay for care. It is less likely if you’re married or single and live with a partner.
- Gender – As illustrated in the chart above, women are more likely to need long term care than men. Mostly because women tend to live longer than men.
- Lifestyle – Poor diet and exercise habits increase the chance of needing care.
- Personal History – Health and family history can increase the chances of needing long term care.
Types of Long Term Care Services
- Home Health Care – A home health care provider visits your home for a few hours or up to 24 hours per day.
- Adult Day Care – Adult Day Care Facilities are for those who have caregivers at home. Adult day care provides care while the primary caregiver goes to work or attends to personal matters such as shopping or banking. This option can help to keep the patient out of a nursing home.
- Assisted Living – Assisted living facilities are for people who need minor assistance due to cognitive impairment or with their activities of daily living. These facilities can be a very good alternative to nursing homes and often provide many activities for their residents. Residents can have their own apartment where they may be able to bring their own furniture.
- Nursing Homes – This is a setting which provides 24-hour care. There are options for private rooms but semi-private rooms are most common. Over 40 percent of all long term care is provided in a nursing home.