NOVEMBER IS LONG-TERM CARE AWARENESS
ADVANCED PLANNING CAN HELP ALLEVIATE SOME OF THE PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL, AND FINANCIAL CHALLENGES
ASSOCIATED WITH THOSE REQUIRING LONG-TERM CARE.
With the average U.S. lifespan trending higher over the past several decades, the number of men and women over the age of 65 requiring some level of long-term care (LTC) services is on the rise. To educate the public about the need to prepare for their financial futures, the American Association for Long-Term Care (AALTC) established November as National Long-Term Care Awareness Month.
Since 2001, AALTC has been working with Congress and State governors to help educate the public about the need to discuss a retirement strategy, one that might include LTC insurance. National Long-Term Care Awareness Month’s November timing is purposeful — November is the unofficial beginning of the holiday season, where (extended) families gather.
“While we realize not everyone will need long-term care insurance, we know everyone needs a plan,” AALTC said. “For those where LTC insurance is the plan, our hope is that during LTC Awareness Month families discuss their retirement strategy with their loved ones.” (https://ltcconsumer.com/newsletter/november-national-long-term-care-awareness-month/)
Long-term care costs can place a severe financial strain on families. According to the AALTC, the average out-of-pocket costs are $140,000 for individuals who use paid long-term support services (as opposed to Medicaid-supported long-term support services), with 17% spending over $100,000 and nearly 9% spending over $250,000. (https://www.aaltci.org/about/long-term-care-awareness-month-2020.php)
Additional numbers are compelling and underscore the need for a long-term care plan:
- Roughly 14 million people in the U.S. need long-term care services, the AALTC said, a figure that it projects to nearly double to 27 million by 2050.
- For those people requiring a high level of long-term care support, those individuals and their families contribute more than half of the costs out-of-pocket.
- By 2030, 20% of the U.S. population will be 65 or older.
- By 2040, the number of people in the U.S. suffering from a cognitive impairment (Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias) is projected to increase from more than 7 million to 13 million annually.
Long-term care insurance can help offset the costs of long-term care. Today, more than 7 million Americans carry some type of long-term care insurance. Of course, paid long-term care is not the only solution for those requiring long-term care support. In many cases — often when there is no advanced planning — a family member assumes the responsibility of caring for the individual. However, these family members are often unprepared for the challenges that come with caring for an aging relative.
Additionally, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to depend on adult children to provide the necessary care for one who needs long-term care support, as the children are often working adults who don’t have sufficient time to be a part- or full-time caregiver.
With considerable physical, emotional, and financial challenges associated with the effects of illness, accident, and aging, AALTC hopes that Long-Term Care Awareness Month will inspire people to create a plan that could help address and reduce those challenges.
For more information and to find resources to help you begin the process of long-term planning, visit the AALTC website.
Thanks for checking out the blog.
Gregory Armstrong , CFP®