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.


Let’s look to the future

Certainly none of us can see tomorrow. On the other hand considering some trends, in what people are now doing, can give us an indication of what we might expect to see.

During this year’s American Society of Aging annual conference Ken Dychtwald, PhD who is CEO of Age Wave was a keynote speaker. He is a leading authority on our aging population. I listened to a video of his presentation and want to share some of his points. I think they can help us understand what we may see or experience in the future.

BTW- the recording of this talk is on the home page of AgeWave.com

● People certainly are living much longer, which he says changes everything. He indicated the way we do things over our life span has been changing and is no longer a standard sequence of a period of time in education, then working, and then retiring.

● People are now doing different things at different points in their life. In other words what they want, when they want not what others say should be done. He referenced some surveys, which tell us people recognize they cannot just rely on income from government benefits or employer retirement plans but do need to take personal responsibility for their financial future. However, as a general statement they are not looking ahead and planning (saving) for the future. Why? Their current focus is on doing things and going places.

● When asked about retirement years 91% of people say they expect to be happy. 70% want to work, some amount, but do something different. They also want to stay connected and to have freedom.

There is another thing we know about what happens when people live longer! Their chance of developing frailties and/or encountering other changes in health goes way up. The American Society of Aging previous reported  –  60% to 70% of Americans 65 or older will require assistance with getting around at some time.

Living longer = big chance of frailties’ and tells us no one can say they will or won’t “need help to get around”. Because of this, and especially in situations when professional help is needed for an extended period the “funds for the future”, which someone put together and most likely is small, can be put at a significant risk.

What to do? Buy Long Term Care insurance. Yes this important financial protection insurance is expensive but the funds many have put aside are small and the risk of having to pay the very expensive assistance costs directly is big. Then too, the cost of this  premium vs risk in comparison to the other kinds of insurance we have is lower!

What do others say about buying this special kind of long term health insurance? Ken Dychtwald, for one, has stated planning for your financial future is important and as a part of this Long Term Care insurance made sense to him because:

  • Independence can be maintained and he did not want to burden children financially or emotionally.
  • You can get quality care in the setting you choose.
  • You stay in control of your money, retirement assets, and your life.
  • Your spouse’s lifestyle and financial security can be protected, while you’re alive and afterwards.
  • An inheritance for your children and grandchildren can be protected.

John C Parker, RHU, LTCP

Niantic CT