Many Unaware They Have Diabetes - Places Higher Risk of Aging Problems

Over 37.3 million Americans have diabetes. Taking proactive measures to prevent diabetes benefits your overall health. Yet, even if you stay healthy, you will still experience declining health as you get older. Being prepared for the consequences of aging will benefit your family and finances in the decades ahead.

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Many Unaware They Have Diabetes  - Places Higher Risk of Aging Problems
5 Min Read February 4th, 2017 Updated:October 12th, 2020

The results of the 2022 National Diabetes Statistics Report for 2022 released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that more than 130 million adults live with diabetes or prediabetes in the United States.

The report indicates that 11.3% of the U.S. population has the disease - 37.3 million Americans have diabetes. The CDC report says 96 million people aged 18 years or older have prediabetes representing 38% of the adult U.S. population. 

Older people are also at risk as 26.4 million Americans aged 65 years or older have prediabetes, almost half the population of this age group.  

For those adults that have been diagnosed with diabetes, the CDC report says 19.8% were tobacco users, up from 15% from the 2019 report. A more significant percentage were overweight, with 89.8% being overweight or had obesity. Plus, 34.3% were physically inactive with less than ten minutes a week of moderate or vigorous activity. 

High blood pressure was common for those with diabetes or prediabetes, with 69.% having a systolic blood pressure of 140 mmHg or higher or diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or higher or were on prescription medication for their high blood pressure. 

You would expect high cholesterol for this group, and that was true, with 4.3% having a non-HDL level of 130 mg/dL or higher.

Kidney disease is also a common issue for those with diabetes. The CDC reports that 39.2% had chronic kidney disease. 

How Do You Know?

How do you discover you have diabetes or prediabetes? You usually realize you have prediabetes when being tested for diabetes with routine blood work when you have your annual physical. 

An A1C test measures your average blood sugar levels over the past three months. The A1C test is also called glycated, glycosylated, hemoglobin A1C, or HbA1c. 

The CDC says that a normal A1C level is below 5.7%. Once your level ranges from a level of 5.7% to 6.4%, it indicates prediabetes. If your A1C is 6.5% or higher, it means you have diabetes. 

Diabetes Complications and Long-Term Health Care

There are many complications because of diabetes. Some of these complications cause the need for long-term health care. Since people with diabetes also have problems affecting their eyes, kidneys, heart, brain, feet, and nerves, you combine these problems with aging, and you have a higher need for help with daily living activities. 

The cost of this long-term health care is expensive. Most people think of nursing homes when they think about long-term care, yet most care is delivered at home, adult day care, or assisted living. 

Costs are exploding as increasing demand for long-term health care services combined with higher labor costs is rapidly increasing the cost of all services. 

The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator shows these costs vary depending on location and the type of services you require - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News. Many people with diabetes end up with mobility problems that, combined with aging, cause them to need hands-on assistance with everyday living activities.  

Prevention

Can you prevent diabetes? In many cases, the answer is yes. You can lose weight and exercise, for example. Eating more healthy meals will also help. Sometimes you can do everything right and still get diagnosed with diabetes. However, being proactive will help your overall health and reduce your risk of ever getting diabetes in the first place. 

Heath Declines Over Time

There is no question that your health, body, and mind will change as you get older. Many of these changes will lead to the need for long-term health care. Preparing your family and finances for the future costs and the burdens related to your future care is an essential part of retirement planning.

Many American families have already purchased affordable Long-Term Care Insurance. In 2021, the major insurance companies paid $12.3 billion in benefits to these families, helping them protect income and assets and ease the stress otherwise placed on loved ones. 

Long-Term Care Insurance Helps Family and FInances

The problem is Long-Term Care Insurance is medically underwritten, so delaying your decision to obtain coverage is not a good idea. You need to have reasonably good health to obtain this coverage. If your diabetes is under good control, you may still be able to obtain coverage, but if your A1C is high or you have complications, it may be impossible to get a policy.

Seek help from a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist who represents the major companies and understands underwriting to help you find the company that best matches your age, health, and family history. Plus, premiums also vary dramatically between insurance companies. 

Working with a specialist will help you navigate the many options and save you money. Most general insurance agents and financial advisors have minimal knowledge and typically only represent one or two insurance companies. 

Experts suggest starting research options in your 40s or 50s, and most people get coverage in their 50s.

Consequences

Remember, the consequences of long-term health care are more than just financial. Sure, long-term health care is costly and presents a substantial cash flow problem. However, long-term care is a family issue, and families face stress and burden when dealing with a loved one's aging and long-term care. Family members have physical, emotional, and financial strain as they attempt to help an older parent or loved one. 

Try to stay healthy, but longevity itself could lead to a higher risk of long-term care. Planning will give you and your family peace of mind in addition to asset protection.

Some people are in denial of failing health and aging. Other people think they can self-fund their care, and by doing so, they have tremendous burden and stress on their loved ones. 

Plus, you will not know when you may need care in the future. The economy changes, often without notice. Inflation, international events, domestic politics all adversely impact your savings when you least expect it. 

Depend on the guaranteed tax-free resources of Long-Term Care Insurance. You can control only a few things in life, but you can depend on an LTC policy to deliver you access to your choice of quality care and peace of mind to your family. 

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About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

LTC News Contributor James Kelly

James Kelly

Contributor since August 21st, 2017

Editor's Note

The problem is long-term health care is both a cash flow issue and a family issue. Preparing your family and finances for the financial costs and burdens associated with long-term health care is key to enjoying a successful future retirement.

Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance gives you guaranteed tax-free funds to pay for your choice of quality care services. You can safeguard your income and assets and reduce the considerable stress and anxiety otherwise placed on your family.

Benefits from Long-Term Care Insurance are always tax-free, and premiums can be tax-deductible in some cases.

Most people start obtaining coverage in their 50s.

Planning Tools and Resources on LTC NEWS

You can find many tools and resources on LTC NEWS to assist you in your research for a planning solution or help your family find the appropriate care for a loved one at the time of crisis. 

To help you plan the costs and burdens of changing health and aging, LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Seek Professional Guidance

Insurance rates are regulated, so no insurance agent, agency, or financial advisor can give you special deals. However, insurance companies' premiums vary over 100% for the same coverage.

Experts suggest using a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you navigate the many options available to you and your family.

A specialist who works with the top companies can match your age, health, family history, and other factors and find you the best coverage at the best value. A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

Finding Quality Care for Mom or Dad

Start by reading our four guides -  

If they are lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

Get Help in Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim

Quality care obtained early will help provide a better quality of life and reduce the risk of a deep decline and facility care. If you need help in starting the process of a Long-Term Care Insurance claim, LTC NEWS can help.

LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you or a loved one complete the claims process with a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. We have teamed up with Amada Senior Care, who will do all the work, free with no obligation. 

You can also get support in finding quality caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

Benefits of Reverse Mortgages 

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance.  

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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