We just discovered this new article on the website of ABC News. The article’s stark conclusion is sadly borne out by our own experience here at AgingOptions: ABC states that at least one-third of Americans over the age of 40 have done no planning of any kind for their long-term care needs. This suggests that a significant portion of the population is in for a rude awakening as they age.
What’s the reason for this state of denial when it comes to long-term care? According to a national poll cited in the ABC News article, four adults in ten predict that long-term care is something they’ll never need. This is in direct contrast to statistics from the U.S. Administration on Aging which estimates that nearly 70 percent of those 65 or older will need help with activities of daily living at some point as they age.
There are other disturbing facts pointed out in the ABC News piece. Roughly 40 percent of respondents say they expect to turn to Medicare to cover their long-term care needs – in spite of the fact that these costs are explicitly not covered by Medicare. The Medicaid program which does cover long-term care generally has stringent limits on income and assets which can disqualify many of those who apply. (We can advise you on ways to structure your estate so that you will be able to meet Medicaid qualifications.)
While a large portion of the population is convinced they’ll never need long-term care, many older Americans surveyed in the poll (a bit more than one-third) believe they’ll be able to pay for the care they may likely one day need. These people may be in for a shock: Genworth Financial, one of the largest long-term care insurance providers in the industry, says that annual long-term care costs now range from a low of about $18,000 for adult day care to more than $92,000 for nursing home care. Experts doubt that many seniors will be able to shoulder that cost without assistance.
In our conversations with seniors and their families, long-term care is something many would prefer not to discuss. For one thing, talking honestly about the decline most of us will experience as we age can be depressing. At the same time, concern about costs of care can make some people fearful. But when it comes to planning for long-term care – just like planning for other aspects of retirement – avoidance is not a strategy.
The ABC News article puts it well. In the words of Golden Gate University professor Kit Yarrow, a specialist in consumer psychology, “The more in control people feel about the world and their life, the greater the sense of confidence in their ability to plan for the future.” We couldn’t agree more.
If planning for the future is something you’re ready to do, we’re eager to help you. Here at AgingOptions we have helped thousands of people develop what we call a LifePlan – a comprehensive blueprint that answers all the important questions your plan should cover. Are my housing choices being considered? Do I have all my legal documents in place? Is my financial plan, including Social Security, sound and secure? Have I provided for my health care needs, including long-term care? And does my family, those closest to me, understand my hopes and wishes? With a LifePlan in place, you’ll be able to protect your assets and avoid becoming a burden to your loved ones. And as you consider your long-term care needs, a strong LifePlan can help you escape the trap of unplanned, unwanted institutionalization.
We invite you to begin the process by registering for an upcoming LifePlanning Seminar. These popular events are offered without cost or obligation, and we assure you the information you glean will prove invaluable as you consider your retirement future. Simply click on the Upcoming Events tab on this website and register for the seminar of your choice. It will be our pleasure to meet you at a LifePlanning Seminar soon.
(originally reported at www.abcnews.go.com)