Are you prepared for long term health care?

The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging (February, 2000) prepared a report describing long-term care as follows:
“Long-term care differs from other types of health care in that the goal of long-term care is not to cure an illness, but to allow an individual to attain and maintain an optimal level of functioning….
Long-term care encompasses a wide array of medical, social, personal, and supportive and specialized housing services needed by individuals who have lost some capacity for self-care because of a chronic illness or disabling condition.”

Here are some frightening statistics.
• By 2050, the number of people using paid long-term care services in any setting (at home, residential care such as assisted living, or skilled nursing facilities) will probably double from 13 million using services in 2000, to 27 million people.(1)

• The probability of becoming disabled in at least two activities of daily living or of being cognitively impaired is 68% for people age 65 and older.(2)

• Nearly 79% who need Long-Term Care live at home or in community settings, not in institutions.

By the year 2030, many retirees will not have enough income and assets to cover basic expenditures or any expenses related to a nursing home stay or services from a home health provider.(3)Given these alarming statistics about the future of  health care for our seniors, what are you doing to be prepared? Is there any way for any average American to be fully prepared for the high probability of needing expensive long-term care? How much should we count on our government to help us? Should we all  have some form of long-term care insurance to help defray the escalating cost of care?  Would it make sense to be able to deduct money from your earned income each payday and apply it to a long-term care policy to help with the high cost of care should you need it just the way you deduct for a 401k? It could be set up like a Roth IRA for example. Do you have a plan to make your home accessible for wheelchairs? Do you know how to go about finding someone to retrofit your home to allow you to live there?  Does it even make sense to plan for this? Please share your comments.

1 Special Committee on Aging. Developments in Aging: 1997 and 1998, Volume 1, Report 106-229. Washington, DC: United States Senate, 2000.

2 AARP. Beyond 50: A Report to the Nation on Independent Living and Disability, 2003, (11 Jan 2005).

(3). Can America Afford Tomorrow’s Retirees: Results from the EBRI-ERF retirement security projection model [Issue brief # 263]. Washington DC: Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2003. VanDerhei, J., and C. Copeland

February 25, 2010. Tags: , , , . 1. Leave a comment.