People define 'being old' in different ways. However, demographically, age 65 is the crucial age. There were 3 million Americans defined as being 'old' in 1900. These 65+ people did not have social security or other retirement benefits as we have today. Life expectancy was also lower.
The Baby-Boomers, life expectancy, and advances in medical science have all hit together, changing America's landscape. Today there are over 50 million adults that are age 65 and older in the United States. Over 6 million Canadians are age 65+, representing almost 15% of the population in Canada. There are over 11.8 million people age 65 years and over in the United Kingdom, representing 18% of the total population.
This aging has many consequences on social and families alike. But there is more to be concerned about. People continue to get older, and when you reach certain milestones, you will probably live even longer. The fastest-growing population, however, is people ages 85 and older and 100 and older.
Implications of Longevity
There are implications of an aging population. No matter how well you take care of yourself from a health standpoint, you will see changes in your health, body, and mind in the decades ahead. There is a good chance you will need help due to an illness, accident, or just the impact of getting older.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicates that about 52% of those age 65 and older will need help with at least two of the six activities of daily living (ADL) or supervision due to a memory problem of which, 14% will need care for five years or longer. About 70% will need help with at least one of these ADLs.
The cost of long-term care is expensive. As more people get older, more people will require long-term care, including those who have Alzheimer's or dementia. Simple demographics will tell us there are fewer younger people to fill the roles of caregivers, and with more significant numbers of people needing care, you will see care continue to increase in cost.
Are You Ready to Live into Your 80s and Beyond?
If you are in your 40s, 50s, or 60s, you better be planning to live well into your 80s, maybe longer. Thinking about your future retirement and the impact long-term care will have on your retirement and your family better be something on your radar screen. Otherwise, you and your family will face a crisis that will not only drain income and assets but place a tremendous burden on your family.
Since your health insurance, including Medicare and Medicare Supplements, will not pay for the majority of long-term care expenses, you will face the financial responsibility for paying for this care - or your family will face the role of a caregiver - or both.
Don't expect any changes in the future, no matter the party affiliation of the President. Medicaid, the medical welfare program, will pay for care for the poor. You could see some expansion to the type of care services available in the future, but it will continue to be means based.
Several Affordable LTC Insurance Solutions for Asset Protection
Forty-five states participate in the Partnership Long-Term Care Insurance program. If you own a Partnership LTC policy, you will enjoy additional dollar-for-dollar asset protection. Basically, this allows you to shelter part of your estate if you exhaust a qualified LTC policy's benefits. You can see of your state is a partnership state by clicking here.
Asset-based Long-Term Care Insurance gives you the ability to combine a death benefit from a life policy and the long-term care benefit of an LTC policy. Be careful that the policy you are looking at is a true hybrid policy.
Be sure to speak with a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist who will be able to compare the available options and navigate the underwriting and tax benefits of each type of solution. You can find a trusted and experienced specialist by clicking here.
You will wake up one day and realize that you are now older. Preparing your family and your finances for the financial costs and burdens of aging is an essential part of retirement planning. For many American families, Long-Term Care Insurance is an affordable way to address longevity and the consequences that come from getting older.
Avoid the crisis in the future by starting your plan before you retire. Ideally, the best time is in your 40s or 50s when you still enjoy reasonably good health, and premiums for these products are even more affordable.
About the Author
Linda is a freelance writer interested in retirement planning, health and aging.
Contributor since October 31st, 2017
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