Failing to Plan for Long-Term Care Fails Loved Ones

You may have heard the adage ‘failing to plan is a plan to fail’. This is true when discussing future costs and burdens associated with aging. Cost of care is expensive and family caregivers face challenges. LTC Insurance is a solution.

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Failing to Plan for Long-Term Care Fails Loved Ones
3 Min Read August 13th, 2020

The negative impact of being caregivers of family members is growing as the United States' aging population's need for long-term care services are on the rise. Longevity planning should be an integral part of every retirement plan, but many times the need for advance planning goes uncompleted. This leaves many adult children and other family members caring for aging parents.

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, approximately 34 million unpaid caregivers in the United States provide care for individuals ages 50 or older. Almost half of those caregivers are taking care of someone with Alzheimer's or some form of dementia. In addition to taking care of their parents, many caregivers are also taking care of their own family members. This can take an emotional, financial, and physical toll on the caregiver. Many are exhausted and diminish their own needs to satisfy the needs of their loved ones. 

Many studies have been conducted, and the results are staggering. 68% of unpaid caregivers report that they have to use their own funds to care for and provide for their family member that has a long-term care need. In addition to the financial burden, almost 50% report they feel their physical health suffers because of their caregiver status. 

Caregivers Face Pressure

Most caregivers are female, close to 75%, and many of them report feeling pressure, stress, and financial burden by their family member long-term care needs.

Although caregivers' average age is 49, about 25% of those providing long-term care for a family member are millennials. There is additional pressure placed on them as they are many times having to choose between their careers and caregiving. 

Without proper long-term care planning, not only do millennials suffer, but many working caregivers have to make tough choices when it comes to their careers. Many have stated they have had to do everything from taking leaves of absence, coming in late, leaving early, turning down promotions, and even taking early retirement to accommodate their family member's needs with a long-term care event.

Long-Term Care Includes Care at Home

Many people think of long-term care as end of life or nursing home planning, but the reality is long-term care is assistance one needs when they are no longer able to perform everyday tasks or activities of daily living independently. 

It also includes the care or supervision needed if someone has a cognitive or senility issue. Currently, 52% of new claims for long-term care start in the home. You could need care for years, and without proper planning, you could become a burden and leave their care needs up to their family and friends. 

Most families have not discussed long-term care, including the costs, and the emotional drain on caregivers. Studies show caregivers are likely to neglect their own health care needs when caring for a loved one. Many do not have routine check-ups, dental visits, or even go to the doctor when they are sick or in need because of their role as caregiver. The deterioration of a caregiver's physical and mental well-being has been well documented, and proper planning needs to be done to prevent such damage.

LTC Insurance Eases Family Strain

Experts agree that having affordable Long-Term Care Insurance is an appropriate alternative to leaving the responsibility of caregiving to loved ones. Long-Term Care Insurance policies allow for care to be provided where and how a person wants or needs it; be that at home, assisted living, or in a full care facility like a nursing home. 

Many policies also provide additional family support, such as respite care support and care coordination. Removing the burden of care from family members while protecting your retirement assets is a responsible way for managing future long-term care needs.

The best approach is to seek professional advice from a specialist. Most financial advisors and general insurance agents do not necessarily have the expertise to assist with these complex products.  

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About the Author

Liz Pace is a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and has her Certification in Long-Term Care (CLTC). She is a client centered Wealth Management Expert who specializes in wealth management and long-term care solutions

LTC News Contributor Liz Pace

Liz Pace

Contributor since August 14th, 2020

Editor's Note

Look for your state on the LTC NEWS cost of care calculator. You can find the current and future cost of long-term care services in your area.  

If you think you will move after you retire, be sure you review the costs of care anywhere in the country. You will also find available tax incentives and the availability of Long-Term Care Partnership policies that provide additional dollar-for-dollar asset protection. 

Seek professional help when shopping for the best policy. Find a trusted and experienced Long-Term Care specialist

Don't wait. It is your good health today that allows you to plan. Premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies for the same benefits. However, underwriting criteria is different with every company. This is where a specialist can help match you with the best coverage at the best value. 

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