A look at assistance with a person’s daily life functions.

Sharing information about the assistance a person can receive when they need help getting around after a change in health.  Why think about this? Because over 80% of us have a relative or know someone, who is now or has. This tells us the risk we also may need support is very high!

What types of support can be received?

The assistance to support a person with their day to day life functions such as eating, dressing, bathing, going to the toilet, or transferring say from a bed to a chair.

How often do people need these services?

       Some facts about assistance:

       • >  By age 75 – 70% or more of us will need assistance at some time! People 75 and older have 2 or 3 chronic conditions, on average, and some 10 or 12.

       • > By age 85 or older 20% are using support services.

      Some general points about assistance:

       • > Some develop because as we age and “parts wear out” and others because they have trouble with mental ability.

      • > People often think their health won’t deteriorate and will just die one day! That would be nice, however, no one knows if they will or won’t need assistance.

      • > 88% of people worry about having physical limitations.

      • > Advanced medical treatments & prescriptions have increased longevity to about age 79 (on average) in 2018. Living longer is great but it means the change a person will need assistance and for a longer period is much higher.

     • >A need for support can develop at any age; last for several months, such as after a stroke, or be permanent like the accident Christopher Reeves (Superman) had.

Where is this assistance received?

 • > About 80% is in a person’s home and it usually begins with family members being the caregivers. When professionals are used the support often starts with a Homemaker (often called a Companion) preparing meals and providing non-medical support.

 • > When hands-on assistance is needed a LPN or RN would come to the house.

aide

LPN providing services

Note: The 2018 American Association of Long Term Care Insurance study of new long term care claims found 52% started with Home services – 20% in Assisted Living – 28% in a Nursing home.

How much does this assistance cost? This special kind of support in Connecticut is some of the most expensive in the US. For example:

 • > Having a certified home health aide come to your home say for 4 days a week at six hours can be about $675. This could grow to over $5,500 a month in say 15 years.

 • > Assisted Living Facility rates can be $6,600 or more a month today in the Hartford, New London & Norwich area.
What to do?

It is difficult to think about an “unexpected” change in health and needing support. However, the old saying — “Life is what happens when you are making other plans” — is so so true today!

First — the risk help will be needed is very high so it’s important to think about:

 • > Do you want to stay at home?

 • > Do you have a pile of money to pay very expensive professionals or could family help pay?  Most people don’t so”Running out of money” is a very Big Concern for many.

Second —  Buy long term care insurance to meet your interest.

A person develops a need for assistance following a change of health so I believe calling this special coverage Long Term “Health” insurance is a better way to describle what it does. When you buy a plan the company creates a pool of funds, which can be accessed to hire professionals. Owning a Long Term “Health” insurance plan thus means:

 • > A Spouse/Family won’t be burdened with all the assistance.

 • > Children won’t have to change their work and life to come to help you!

 • > Your hard earned saving nest egg will be mostly protected.

 • > You will  — Be in Control of your living situation — be able to Maintain Dignitynot become a Burden on loved ones.

 

Do you live in Connecticut and have questions or want to learn more about Long Term “Health” insurance?  Call John C Parker, RHU, LTCP  —  (860) 739-0005


What owning Long Term Care insurance means!

Buying this special insurance to protect your savings means:

  • You have peace of mind knowing you won’t burden family to assist. They will be free to manage the professionals providing your assistance, help as they can, plus care about you.
  • You can be as independent as possible in your home and retain your dignity since you have funds to hire assistance.
  • Children won’t have to face the difficult and emotional tasks of helping parents with personal functions such as using the toilet!
  • Conflict won’t develop between sons/daughters, over spending parent’s saving nest egg for one vs retaining funds for the other.

Comments on the finding – many do not understand the cost of long term care services and support.

I posted a Forbes article on Twitter a few days ago on people not understanding the cost of needed services and Long Term Care insurance. The article, by Howard Gleckman a Forbes contributor, included some research findings I want to comment on.

The article indicated more than 15,000 adults age 40 to 70 were surveyed in 2014 for the US Department of Health and Services. The findings revealed these interested things about people’s thoughts on long term care:

  1. Want lifetime coverage
  2. Low premiums
  3. Want to stay at home if on-going assistance is needed, make needed modifications, and rely on family and friends.
  4. Had little idea about the cost of long term services and support.
  5. Believe [2/3 of participants] the government needs to make an effort to promote Long Term Care insurance and there should be tax subsides to encourage people to buy.

Note: A problem with the suggestion in # 5 was brought out  – over 2/3 of all individuals could not take advantage of it, if it were now available, since they do not file an itemized tax return.

My post today is to share a couple comments on these findings. First – on the cost of these special services here in CT:

  • Having a certified home health aide in the Hartford area for six hours 4 times a week could grow to be over $5,500 a month in just 15 years.
  • A Assisted Living Facility can now cost up to $6,600 a month in the Hartford area; to $6,900 in the New Haven area; to $6,600 in the New London/Norwich area; and to $8,000 in the Bridgeport/Stamford area.
  • Skilled nursing facility costs in Connecticut are next to the highest in the U.S.! A semi private room is now over $146,000 a year.

Looking to the future in say 25 to 30 years when many may need on-going services with personal activities they may be three times higher. Paying directly would cause many people to quickly use up their savings nest egg and become poor!

Second – people expressed a desire for full coverage at a low premium. The facts however, tell us the cost of this special coverage, which I like to call long term health insurance, is high especially here in CT. Why? The need for one going help  is high today and will increase significantly:

  • Over 80% of us have a relative, or know someone, who is or has received help.  Some because “parts wore out” and others who were having trouble with mental ability.
  • 70% or more of us will need help by age 75! People by then have, on average, 2 or 3 chronic conditions and some as many as 10 or 12.

An observation about the cost of insurance vs the need for coverage:

When the risk of a claim is high the cost of insurance is high. For example, the cost for home owners insurance on a large home would be higher than coverage on a very small home. The large home has much more structure to replace and more things in it to cover if it burned down.  However, the risk for a home to burn down is low so home owners insurance is not that expensive.

Long Term Care insurance on the other hand is expensive because the risk help will be needed is quite high as mentioned above. But even though it costs a lot say in comparison to home owners insurance no matter how much your plan costs the amount you pay is just pennies compared to how much you would have to pay directly, based on the above costs, for all the help you need.

Want to also share an example of paying for coverage over time and then receiving benefits:

  • If a person buys a Long Term Care insurance plan with a four year benefit period and certain coverage at age 55 and then say at 80 needs help all the money they paid over this 25 year period could come back in benefits in just 7 1/2 months! (227 days).

The overall findings in the survey reveal a big need for more education on the need to plan and prepare for long term services and support. This communication effort needs to be made by private organizations and state and federal level government.

The Forbes article I posted on Twitter can be found here.


Great points to consider as we get older

This post shares some informative and insightful points from a talk Dr. Ken Dychtwald gave during the 2015 Aging in America Conference. His talk was last March and titled –  Maturity Re-Imagined. It brings out points to think about on living the rest of your life.

Related to living longer and getting older, the month of May is celebrated each year as Older American Month. I especially like this year’s theme. Get into the Act. It’s focus is to increase awareness and  encourage individuals to get more involved and to take action on their health.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services has a web site page on the Older American Month. Part of its statement on the program’s History is shown here:

[snip]

When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday. About a third of older Americans lived in poverty and there were few programs to meet their needs. Interest in older Americans and their concerns was growing. A meeting in April 1963 between President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens led to designating May as “Senior Citizens Month,” the prelude to “Older Americans Month.”

[snip]

Now back to some thoughts on Dr. Dychtwald’s talk. A video of his talk at the American Society on Aging conference can be found here. It’s a little over 40 minutes and for anyone interested in getting older it will really be worth your time.

Dr. Dychtwald strongly recommends a need for new thinking on maturing and reviews, during his talk, the need for new ways to think about the areas of – Health – Family – Work – Leisure – Home – Finance – Purpose.

One key point in the talk, which was of interest to me, is the need to focus more on people being Interdependent. Much of our education and thinking has been on the importance of being Independent. In other words we should be doing things together vs on our own.


What folks say about the value of Long Term Care insurance

The month of November has been designated Long Term Care Awareness Month for the last several years. It is however important to prepare for needing on-going assistance and buying this special kind of insurance no mater what time of year it may be.

I believe sharing thoughts from other individuals will help consumers in Connecticut better understand what best be called long term health insurance. Comments on the value of Long Term Care insurance are brought out in four short videos on LifeHappens.org.

First – the value to them in being able to receive the kind of assistance they need and want.

Second  – why they did not want to be a burden on others

Third – why it was important to buy early.

Fourth   –  comments  on the peace of mind they gained from Long Term Care insurance.


November is Long Term Care Awareness Month

Many people plan for upcoming events in their life. Most however, don’t plan for one very significant event – not being able to care for themselves!

Thus, the focus of Long Term Care Awareness Month is to emphasize the importance of planning for the possibility assistance with day to day life activities will be needed in the future. Why? The probability of needing help is very high and the cost is significant to the family caregivers who have to perform complex tasks.

To help you better understand the impact living longer is having I am pleased to provide information from two sources:

  • The Long Term Care Planning guide Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine developed with the American Association of Long Term Care Insurance. It was published in the November 2014 issue. It can help you take steps to plan for what you want to happen you have a change in health and the kind of help you would like.

The Life Happens organization also supports this Awareness Month and has useful information and resources on their site. Note especially the tabs on this page – Who Needs – Types of Care – Getting Coverage.

Want to also provide some information about Long Term Care insurance terms  from LifeHappens.org

These easy to understand definitions may be useful.


Many people plan for upcoming events in their lives. Most however, don’t plan for a significant event – not being able to care for themselves!

Even though most don’t make preparations taking steps to plan for the kind of help you would like is important. What to do? The most effective approach is to buy what is best called “Long Term Health insurance”. Taking this action today will not stop health problems from developing but does mean you can gain:

  • A lower cost: Premiums for this important insurance are based on your age the day you enroll, your health situation, and the level of benefits you select. Premiums can be three times higher at age 70 than when you are 50 so buying early is important.
  • More benefits: Waiting to age 55 means you would have to buy an initial benefit pool of over $400,000 to achieve the same protection as someone who bought an initial pool of $250,000 at age 45. How? The 45 year old’s plan included the 5% compound inflation option. Waiting to 55 also means your premium for this initial pool of money will be higher! Why? You are 10 years older. IOW a dollar buys more benefits the younger you are.
  • A good health discount: A study by the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), a professional association I’m actively involved in, reports 53.9% of people between 40 and 49 qualify for a good health discount. Between 50 to 59 it drops to 44.2% – 60 to 69 it’s 31.9% – 70 to 79 it’s only 18.8%.
  • A better chance of being accepted: Another AALTCI study found up to 33% of individuals 60 to 69 did not qualify for this “protection for your finances” because they had health problems. 13.9% of individuals 50 to 59 were declined in this study of 10 leading long term care insurance companies.

Buying “Long Term Health insurance” also means you won’t become a burden on family having used up income, your nest egg, and becoming poor.

Live in Connecticut? You can learn more about why owning Long Term Care insurance is better than following a plan of “I’ll wait and see”  – www.LongTermCareIns-CT.com

Contact John C Parker<RHU, LTCP if questions – (860) 739-0005