Rosalynn Carter, former first lady of the United States, has long been a leading advocate for caregivers. She famously noted, "There are only four kinds of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers." This insight underscores that caregiving touches us all at some point.
Now, Carter, who has championed caregivers and long-term care, requires care herself. According to an announcement from the Carter Center, Carter, wife of former President Jimmy Carter, has dementia.
Carter is receiving care alongside the former president, who is under hospice care at their home in Georgia.
Devoted Life to Caregiving Challenges and Awareness of Long-Term Care
The former first lady devoted her life to increasing awareness of caregiving challenges and advocating improved support for caregivers. She founded the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers (RCI) in 1987 to offer resources and support to caregivers. The institute provides a range of programs and services, including educational workshops, support groups, and online resources.
Dementia, a general term for a loss of memory, language, problem-solving, and other thinking abilities that interfere with daily life, is one of the most common reasons for requiring long-term health care. Alzheimer's disease is the most prevalent cause of dementia, but other types include vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and frontotemporal dementia.
The Carter Center stated that the announcement of Carter's diagnosis will "increase important conversations at kitchen tables and in doctor's offices around the country."
Former President Carter, 98, began home hospice care in February after several brief hospital stays.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre noted during a White House briefing that President and Mrs. Biden have been in touch with the Carters to "ensure that their family knows that they are certainly in the president and first lady's thoughts."
Millions Suffer From Memory Loss
In the United States, an estimated 6.7 million people have Alzheimer's disease, a figure expected to be near 13 million by 2050. The disease's total cost is estimated at $355 billion annually.
The symptoms of dementia can vary depending on the type of dementia and the stage of the disease. Some common symptoms include:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty thinking and making decisions
- Difficulty understanding and using language
- Difficulty with visual perception
- Difficulty with judgment and problem-solving
- Changes in personality and behavior
- Difficulty with activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, and eating
Family Caregivers Face Tremendous Burden
Carter acknowledged that caregivers frequently carry a substantial burden with scant societal support or understanding. Through the RCI, she has emphasized caregivers' crucial role in the long-term care system and championed research and action in this area. She stressed that society must address caregivers' physical, emotional, and financial well-being alongside the needs of those in their care.
Carter's advocacy for caregivers has been significant and impactful. In 1987, she founded the RCI at her alma mater, Georgia Southwestern State University, to support professional and family caregivers through efforts to recognize their societal contribution, provide effective caregiver training, and drive the development of supportive policies and programs.
She also played a key role in propelling the national conversation around long-term care. She frequently highlighted the long-term care system's gaps, which often leave the most vulnerable navigating a complex and fragmented system. Her voice has been instrumental in calling for systemic reforms to ensure quality care for the aging population, the chronically ill, and individuals with disabilities.
Most traditional health insurance, including Medicare, does not cover long-term care services.Medicaid pays for long-term health care for individuals with little or no income and assets. Long-Term Care Insurance, which paid over $13.25 billion in benefits in 2022 alone, is available, although one must have fairly good health to obtain coverage. Most people purchase coverage in their 50s as part of retirement planning.
Carter's work stretches beyond advocacy. She co-authored "Helping Yourself Help Others: A Book for Caregivers," providing practical advice and emotional support to caregivers.
Carter's enduring commitment to caregivers and long-term care has permanently transformed societal perceptions and support for those carrying the often unseen but critical responsibility of caregiving.
About the Author
Contributor since April 22nd, 2021
Dementia is a progressive disease, typically worsening over time. As it advances, individuals with dementia often require increasing assistance with daily activities, including bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, and medication administration. In some instances, those with dementia may need to reside in a long-term care facility.
Long-term health care, a comprehensive term, refers to care and support necessary for chronic conditions or disabilities necessitating ongoing medical attention or help with daily living activities. This care can be provided in various settings: at home, in a community setting, or in a long-term care facility.
Various factors lead to the need for long-term health care. Some of the most common include dementia, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, chronic heart disease, chronic lung disease, cancer, and mental illness.
Long-term health care can be costly, with expenses varying based on the type of care, the setting, and individual needs. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator can illustrate both current and future costs of long-term care services in your area.
Planning for the expense and challenge of long-term care constitutes an important aspect of retirement planning. However, due to underwriting guidelines established by each insurer, fairly good health is typically required to obtain a policy. Consequently, most individuals secure a long-term care insurance policy in their 40s or 50s as part of a comprehensive retirement plan.
Some individuals perceive long-term care insurance as unaffordable. However, when properly selected, such policies are an affordable means of protecting income and assets, preserving your 401(k), maintaining lifestyle and legacy, and ensuring access to quality care options.
Professional Help Essential for LTC Insurance Shopping
With so many federal and state regulations, underwriting rules, tax benefits, and policy design options, be sure to seek professional help in finding a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. Generally, that will not be your local financial advisor or insurance agent.
Long-Term Care Insurance specialists are specially trained and experienced in dealing with LTC Insurance and planning. They will usually work with the top insurance companies, all of which have their own underwriting rules and pricing. Premiums can vary dramatically between insurance companies for the same coverage.
A genuine specialist will be able to review your health and other factors in detail to match you with the best coverage at the lowest cost. A specialist will also make professional recommendations when providing you with accurate quotes from all the top insurance companies. This will save you time and money.
LTC NEWS Offers Tools and Resources to Help Your Research
There are a variety of tools and resources that LTC NEWS offers that can help you in your research:
- The Ultimate Long-Term Care Insurance Guide - If you like details, you will enjoy this comprehensive guide to LTC Insurance.
- Long-Term Care Guides - LTC NEWS has several other guides that can help you plan or find quality care.
- Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State - You can find the current and future cost of long-term health care services where you live.
- Frequently Asked Questions - Get the answers to the most often asked questions about long-term health care planning and LTC Insurance.
- Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim - Does a loved one - like your Mom or Dad - have a Long-Term Care Insurance policy and need to file a claim to get benefits? LTC NEWS will help. If they don't have a policy, but you need help in getting a plan of care and finding caregivers, LTC NEWS can also assist.
- Reverse Mortgages - Learn about reverse mortgages and ask questions about how they work and if you or a loved one would benefit from one.
When Mom or Dad Need Care, Be Sure They Get Quality Care
Are you looking for the best possible care for your parent or parents? Then LTC NEWS is here to help. We understand that finding quality long-term health care can be intimidating and overwhelming - which is why we created comprehensive guides to give you the tools and resources to make a well-informed decision.
Our guides provide detailed information on locating quality caregivers and long-term care facilities and recommendations for creating an effective care plan. We also offer resources to help you understand the different types of long-term care available and how to pay for those services.
With our assistance, you can rest assured that your parent or parents will receive high-quality, personalized care. We make it our mission to provide you with all the information and resources necessary so that you can make the best decisions regarding your parent's health and well-being.
With LTC NEWS, your search for quality care will be easier and less stressful.
If your parents have Long-Term Care Insurance be sure to use their benefits. If they own a policy, consider them fortunate and be sure they use them without delay. Families sometimes delay using benefits from an LTC policy, believing they can save the benefits for a rainy day. It is not a good idea to put off using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits.
Let LTC NEWS help you file a claim:
These four guides can be beneficial as you try to find appropriate long-term care services for a loved one:
- Finding Quality In-Home Care
- Adult Day Care Centers (ADCCs)
- Assisted Living and Memory Care Facilities
- Finding a Quality Nursing Home
Today's Reverse Mortgage - A Solution for Some Seniors
Reverse mortgages can be an excellent way for some seniors to stay in their homes and pay for home care. For many seniors, their home is their largest asset, and they may have little other savings. A reverse mortgage allows seniors to borrow against the equity in their home, which can be used to provide a lump sum or monthly payments to cover the costs of home care. Additionally, reverse mortgages do not require any monthly mortgage payments.
This type of loan is designed specifically for seniors. There is no need to repay the loan until the homeowner either leaves or sells the property. This gives seniors access to the funds they need without having to worry about making monthly loan payments, providing them with greater financial security as they age in place.
Money from a reverse mortgage can also be used to purchase Long-Term care Insurance, which can provide comprehensive long-term health care benefits if the senior is in good health.
It is important to note that reverse mortgages are not without risks. Seniors should carefully consider their financial situation and needs before taking out a reverse mortgage.
Asking an expert with your questions will help you learn more. Mike Banner, a columnist for LTC NEWS and the host of the television program "62 Who Knew," will respond to your inquiries about long-term care, reverse mortgages, aging, and health.
- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.
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