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Who Needs Long Term Care?

What is Long Term Care?

Long term care is assistance for seniors and sick individuals who need help with day-to-day activities, such as dressing, bathing, toileting, eating and drinking. There are different reasons when and why long term care may be needed. An illness, cognitive disability, injury, and normal aging can all create logistical, medical, and other problems that must be addressed. The purpose of the care is to provide elderly or infirm people with dignity and to help them live with ease.

If you live until the age of 65, there is a 70% change that, during your life, you will require long term care services, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data. Although most people who need long term care are over the age of 65, 41% of beneficiaries are younger.

There are three basic types of long term care:

  1. Care at a nursing home
  2. Assisted living
  3. Stay at home care

For diverse reasons, most people prefer to get care at home, and approximately 80% of people who do receive long term care do get that care at home.

Benefits of Insurance to Provide for Long Term Care Protection

A stay at the average U.S. nursing home costs $70,000 a year. 20% of people who enter a nursing home will remain at the home for 5 years, racking up bills that average $400,000 or more. The costs of nursing home care – and long term care, in general – are almost certain to increase for many reasons. First of all, the medical inflation rate bumps up by approximately 5% annually. Secondly, the already overstretched federal government benefits programs are going to be even more stressed, thanks to the graying of the Baby Boomer generation. Consider that, back in 2000, just 11% of the U.S. population was 65-years-old or older. By 2030, that same demographic will make up nearly a quarter of the total U.S. population; and the 85 and over population will have tripled by that date!

Paying for care is a conundrum. Do you have private assets to fund care, or can you rely on family members to help you? Can you use Medicare, Medicaid, and Veterans Benefits? Or should you use long term care insurance to protect assets?

Long term care insurance is a good option for many people for several reasons:

  • The insurance shields your assets;
  • It covers the high, chronic costs of care that you could need after an accident or sickness;
  • It empowers you by helping you choose where you can get care – at your home, for instance, instead of at a nursing home or assisted living facility;
  • It gives you immediate self-confidence because it eliminates one real and potent source of financial and medical anxiety.

47 million Americans will be 65-years-old or older in 2012. Of those seniors, more than half – 53%! – will spend some time in a nursing home. 1 in 9 will stay in a nursing home for over 5 years, according to the House Fire & Auto Safety Accident Society of Actuaries.

 

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