...Financial Matters: With Gerald Loftin

What You Should Know About Long-Term Care

Within the last three years a senior family member has slowly become more dependent upon the assistance of others within the family. A once energetic and independent individual has now taken residence with one of her daughters. This scenario is not unique to only my family. There are thousands of families across the country who have watched older loved ones become dependent due to some physical or cognitive impairment.

Recently this family member received respite care for ten days at a quality nursing facility while her daughter and son-in-law took a long overdue and well deserved vacation. Although necessary, I was amazed at the final cost of such a short stay in the facility. The care, which consisted of a semi-private room and three modest meals, was $2300. Keep in mind, this was only ten days. Certainly this fee was significant considering that one can take several family members on a great vacation for the same cost. Given this eye awakening experience, I was moved to share this information with you.

When people marveled that medical scientists had grown human hair in a test tube, my reaction was, "now all we have to do is figure out how to attach a test tube to a person's head so that it looks natural." And while we can thank these same scientists for significantly extending our life expectancy, they also don't have too many answers when it comes to providing the quality healthcare we'll need as a result from these longer lives.

Long-term care is something most people believe they won't need. In fact, a survey revealed that 76% of Americans don't expect to need nursing home care. But the facts show a different story. One-half of women and one-third of men 65 years or older will need nursing home care and the likelihood that one will need home health care is much greater. The biggest surprise to these people has been that they believed that between government-sponsored programs and private insurance they would be covered for such care. But the truth is 39% of all long-term care ends up being paid by the patient or their family. With average estimates placing these costs at $80,000 per year in Massachusetts, the impact can be staggering.

While most children would love to take care of aging parents and offer the same care we received from them while growing up, we are faced with pressures on finances and time that may make such arrangements unmanageable. An alternative many people are considering today is long-term care policies.

These plans are extremely flexible and offer many options on payment and types of benefits. Ultimately, they put people in control of their own situation, protect the assets you have built up, and ensure you don't feel as though you are dependent upon others to provide quality care.

For more information about Long Term Care insurance, follow this link to read the associated article, "Should you buy long-term care insurance?

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