Your odds of dying due to fire or smoke are 1 in 1,287.1 Meanwhile, your odds of needing long-term care are 7 in 10.2 You probably have a fire escape plan in place for your family—but do you have a plan ready if you face the crisis of a serious illness or injury and need long-term care?
If your answer is “no,” you’re not alone. Only about one-quarter of Americans have seriously considered getting long-term care insurance or a savings account for long-term care expenses.3
In honor of Long-Term Care Awareness Month, check out these six reasons why it’s important to plan for long-term care before a crisis strikes.
1. It’s Likely You’ll Need Long-Term Care at Some Point
As mentioned above, about 70% of retirees will need long-term care at some point in their lives.4 Whether it’s due to chronic illness, disability or simply aging, there could come a day when you need help taking care of yourself. Long-term care is the assistance you need if you’re unable to perform critical day-to-day activities on your own such as eating, bathing, dressing, transferring, toileting or continence.
2. Long-Term Care is Expensive
It takes significant financial assets to pay for long-term care out of pocket. For example, in the U.S., homemaker services cost on average $163 per day, while a private room in a nursing home costs on average $297 per day.5
Medicare doesn’t pay for most long-term care, and even the maximum Social Security benefit of $3,6276 won’t cover these amounts if daily care is needed.
3. You’ll Help Protect Your Family From Stress
Having a plan and communicating it with your family in advance helps ensure everyone is on the same page. This way, if a day comes when you need long-term care, your family won’t need to scramble and figure out a game plan.
In addition, being prepared to pay professional long-term care can help protect your family from the mental, physical and financial strain of caregiving for a loved one.
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4. You May Be More Comfortable With Professional Assistance
Are you comfortable with your adult kids helping you with bathing, toileting and other vulnerable care? Many people prefer for a trained professional to aid with these tasks, so it’s crucial to have a plan in place for these necessities to be covered.
5. You’ll Have More Control of Where You Receive Care
Maybe you would rather receive care in the comfort of home. Or perhaps you’d prefer the convenient amenities of a senior living arrangement. Knowing what you want and being prepared to pay it means you’ll have more control of where you receive care.
6. Long-Term Care Insurance is Nearly Impossible to Get After You’re Sick or Injured
A long-term care insurance policy is designed to help you pay for long-term care. These policies are perfect for people who don’t qualify for Medicaid assistance, but also don’t have enough assets to pay for long-term care out of pocket. Qualifying for long-term care insurance after you’re ill or injured is nearly impossible. Instead, applying for long-term care insurance when you’re younger and healthier helps you qualify for coverage and lock in good rates. For that reason, many people purchase long-term care insurance in their 50s.
How To Start Planning Today
Don’t wait until a crisis to figure out your plan for long-term care. Here are three simple things you can begin doing right now to prepare for long-term care:
- Start putting aside savings in an HSA.
- Talk to an insurance agent about long-term care insurance.
- Communicate with your loved ones about your long-term care wishes.
Colonial Penn is here for you!
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1National Safety Council, Odds of Dying, https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/all-injuries/preventable-death-overview/odds-of-dying/, 2021.
2U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, How Much Care Will You Need?, https://acl.gov/ltc/basic-needs/how-much-care-will-you-need, 2020.
3Forbes, Most Americans Are Unprepared For Long-Term Care Costs, New Research Shows, https://www.forbes.com/sites/debgordon/2022/08/02/most-americans-are-unprepared-for-long-term-care-costs-new-research-shows/?sh=1397a86f4209, August 2022.
4U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, How Much Care Will You Need?, https://acl.gov/ltc/basic-needs/how-much-care-will-you-need, 2020.
5SeniorLiving.org, Nursing Home Costs in 2023, https://www.seniorliving.org/nursing-homes/costs/, 2023.
6Social Security Administration, What is the maximum Social Security retirement benefit payable?, https://faq.ssa.gov/en-us/Topic/article/KA-01897, 2023.
Colonial Penn is a private company that is not Medicare, Medicaid or MaineCare and is not a governmental agency