Did you just learn about long term care insurance from a friend or from an ad? You are probably wondering what it’s all about. Don’t worry; you are not alone. Many people don’t know about long term care insurance because it’s not as well-known or mainstream as things like Life insurance. And then when they hear a little bit about it, most don’t understand the benefits or believe they’ll ever be unable to take care of their Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), and therefore they don’t want to waste money due to the “I’m never going to need it” attitude. Or they don’t want to think about it at all.
Many people fail to understand how massive the expenses of later-life care such as assisted living and special aides can be. In the US alone, there are 1.5 million people in nursing homes, and the median price for a private room is $8,300 per month. Home aid costs average at $4,000. We are talking about the kind of money that’s able to burn through your retirement savings extremely fast. And if you aren’t incredibly wealthy or if you don’t have long term care insurance, you might not be able to get the care you need when you need it, and where you want it.
Long term care insurance was created to help you live a long and healthier life, and get the care you need when you need it, especially if you are unable to cover the costs of home aide or a nursing home through your own savings. Long term care insurance offers many benefits to people who can afford it. At a high level, long term care insurance is used to be able to pay for long term care.
So, what is long term care?
A General Outlook on Long Term Care
There is no better way to understand what long term care is, who it is for, and its advantages and disadvantages than to take a look at its definition.
The long term care definition can be understood as the following:
“Long term care refers to a range of services designed to meet a person’s personal or health care needs during a specific period of time. Specifically it refers to services that address the needs associated with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) including; bathing, dressing, meal preparation, eating, continence (using the bathroom), and transferring (from a bed to a chair as an example).
At some point in your life, you may not be able to leave independently and perform one or more of these ADLs. Having some services for Long term care will help you leave safely and perform these activities. You will again be able to perform everyday activities. As you’ve noticed, it refers to a range of services. The type of long term care provided depends on several factors but most importantly, a person’s needs.
Who Is Long Term Care For
Long term care is designed to cater to the needs of men and women no longer able to leave independently. A person might be too old to do things on their own, or he/she may have suffered a stroke or heart attack. In cases like these, people may need help to complete even the most basic daily tasks, and long term care planning is there to help them with that.
Before we go to the downsides and benefits of long term care you should know that it is quite hard to predict whether a person will need it and what type of long term care is going to be needed. Typically as life goes on, the following things emerge as the main risks of needing long-term care:
- Age – most long term care users are old;
- Gender – women need long term care often because they live longer than men;
- Marital status – unlike married people who have someone to care for them, single people don’t. That’s why they typically need care more often than married people;
- Lifestyle – unhealthy food and no physical activity are predictors of whether a person will need long term care or not;
- Family history – the history of health in a person’s family is also a predictor of whether a person will need long term care.
The most noteworthy advantages of long-term care include:
- No added burden of caregiving on family members – taking care of a person takes time, effort, and energy. It can be quite a burden. It’s often also impossible either due to the fact that living relatives live too far away or the care requires a trained medical professional;
- Longer life – people not able to afford long term care are unable to get the best care for themselves. Their condition(s) can progress without control and much-needed medical attention;
- Increased quality of life – people with long term care typically lead healthier lives. They are cared for by care professionals who are more than capable of improving the quality of life for their patients. It applies to both people who receive in-house long term care or those who decide to move to a facility such as a nursing home.
Typically, the only disadvantage of long term care is the cost. You need to know that you will have to pay annual premiums for a decade or two. Plus, the premiums may increase over time which can also cause a lot of issues. The good thing is that you can find out long term care insurance cost by age so you will know in advance.
What are the benefits of long term care?
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The Benefits of Long Term Care
It’s always better to be prepared and informed before making important life decisions. Here are the major benefits of long term care you should know about as you make your plans for the future.
You will have your peace of mind – without long term care plans in place you will be stressed not knowing what tomorrow might bring and whether you will be able to go through daily living situations without assistance. There is also the question of money. Your retirement account is everything you have. If you spend all of your cash, you are bound to face some difficult financial situations.
The situation may be even worse if you get sick or injured, especially if there is no family member to help you go through it all. Long term care is the only thing that can provide you with peace of mind. How come? Well, there are two things that you will receive.
First, you will have access to a professional care provider. We are talking about people with a degree in medicine and years of experience. And, second, you will receive adequate therapy, whether it is drugs, psychotherapy, or recreational therapy.
Save your retirement savings – long term care can help you save your retirement savings if you invest in long term care insurance. Without long term care insurance, you will be responsible for paying all long term care bills out of pocket.
But if you invest in a long term care insurance policy, it will cover your long term care costs or at least a significant portion of it. You won’t risk depleting your retirement savings. Plus, you will still have financial security and be able to spend your cash on the things you love.
No emotional and financial burden on family – if you end up not being able to care for yourself and are unable to afford a professional care provider, your only option is your family. This can be a potential problem due to a couple of reasons.
Your family might be living too far away from you. The physical distance is just the start of it, though. If the family is nearby and willing to help, this can cause them financial or emotional strain — especially given that you might need assistance 24/7/365. What if you need care delivered by someone with medical expertise? Long term care removes the pressure from the family and puts your health and future in the hands of professionals who know how to do their jobs.
It’s affordable and without high uptake – long term care is often covered by an insurance company which makes it an affordable long-term investment for many people. It’s better to pay a fraction of your income as a premium for a long term care insurance policy and have your costs covered in the future than the alternative. The alternative is having to pay for all the bills by yourself out of your retirement savings.
Some people might argue that premiums for long term care insurance are expensive. On the other hand, the premium depends on the size of the policy and smaller policies are often more than enough. According to reports, the average stay in a nursing home is just over 800 days. But if we dive into the specifics, we find out that the stay in a nursing home is even shorter for some people.
For instance, people who have been discharged and prescribed short-term rehab care stayed in a nursing home for nine months on average. The costs of such a short stay can easily be covered even with the smallest policy. Short-term care policies could be a good alternative to long-term care policies.
The best care for you – elderly people are prone to specific types of injuries and medical conditions. There is a specific field of medicine, geriatric medicine, which is a specialty that focuses on the health care of the elderly. These specialized medical professionals can cover everything ranging from physical to psychological well-being and usually work in nursing homes where they provide a balanced diet and proper care for the elderly.
There will often be a team of long term care professionals taking care of you. They’ll make sure that your health improves and you are able to live a longer and happier life. Long term care is the best care for you once you grow old and happen to need some kind of assistance on a daily basis.
Number 1 benefit
Every benefit of long term care has unique value, and it’s quite hard to pick the most important one. If we absolutely had to pick one, it would definitely be the peace of mind it provides.
You worked hard your entire life, providing a good life for you and your family. When you retire, you deserve to live a carefree life. That’s exactly why many people in their mid-50s start looking at long term insurance policies.
Is Long Term Care Planning Worth It?
The best way to assess whether long term care planning is worth it is to weigh the cost and benefits of long term care against the weight of its disadvantages. Given that people become more susceptible to disease and disability as they age, it’s smart to have at least some plan for the future. But is it worth it?
As you can see, the average cost of long term care is significant. It’s simply not feasible to cover the costs if the care turns into a situation where you need daily medical attention. On the other hand, investing in long term care through a policy can help you easily mitigate these costs and protect your retirement savings. It all leads to one conclusion — long term care planning is definitely worth it. The best thing is you can get even more specific plans for certain cases like long term care for mentally ill people.
How To Find the Best Long Term Care?
Finding the best long term care is not hard. Here is what you can do to streamline this process:
- Look for nursing homes and long term care providers in your area;
- Ask for personal experience with care providers in your social circles;
- Always make sure that care provider can meet your personal needs;
- Make sure you visit the nursing home you intend to rely on before making a choice.
If everything fails or you’re simply uncertain, you can consult a professional long term care insurance advisor such as Policy Solver. With additional information, you will be able to make the right choice.
Where Can I find Out More and Get Advice on the Benefits of Long Term Care?
If you are interested in learning more about long term care and getting advice, we’re here to help at Policy Solver. We specialize in providing professional advice to people looking to invest in a long term care insurance policy through our team of expert licensed agents to help you navigate through your long term care insurance choices.
Here at Policy Solver, we don’t believe in the one size fits all approach. Instead, we will contact you and ask you a few questions. Only after we understand your unique situation will we give you advice that is suitable for your specific situation.
Facts and Statistics about U.S. Nursing Homes Retrieved from:
What is long term care? Retrieved from website
Brad Breeding (2016), So I’ll Probably Need Long-Term Care, But for How Long? Retrieved from website
Risk factors of ill health among older people, World Health Organization Retrieved from website