For the first time in history, residents of high-, middle-, and low-income countries are likely to live to 60 years of age and beyond. Longevity is one of the greatest achievements of our modern era — the United Nations calls it one of the most significant social transformations of the 21st century. Worldwide, 901 million people are over the age of 60 today. That number is projected to reach 1.4 billion by 2030 and nearly 2.1 billion by 2050. Wow!
So here’s the good news — we’re living longer lives than ever before! But the potentially bad news lingering out there could be that two-thirds of Americans over the age of 65 need some form of help with simple daily activities like bathing, eating, and getting in and out of bed. (according to a recent study). What are we going to do about our long-term care?
June Duncan, from RiseupforCareGivers.org, offers some sound data and advice for dealing with the many issues of long-term care in her recent article, Long-Term Care: Tips for an Aging Population. She says there are basically two buckets to think about regarding long term care: planning and paying.
“The personal choices you make during your lifetime have a lot to do with whether you’ll need long-term care. Drinking, smoking, drug use, and a tendency toward risky behaviors are definitely risk factors where long-term care is concerned,” says June. She also says that your risk may go up as you near retirement. “Many people suffer physical or psychological problems after retirement due to depression and the deleterious effects of prolonged inactivity, which can cause a sudden downturn in your health and make long-term care a reality.” She advocates looking into long-term care insurance while younger to prevent high premiums and save you some money.
June says. “Long-term care can be a financial burden that’s often exacerbated by the fact that another family member may have to leave a job to help with care. That’s why it’s essential to be informed about financing options should long-term care become necessary for you or a loved one.” She says there are three ways to pay for care including:
- Government Programs — Medicare, Medicaid, but they are fairly limited in what they cover and let’s face it, they are from the government. Nuff said.
- Life Insurance — June says “If finances are tight, you could consider selling a life insurance policy you no longer need to free up cash for care expenses.”
- Long-Term Care Insurance — Long-term care insurance covers long-term care by providing a predetermined daily or weekly amount to help pay for care. It covers a range of private and semi-private care services, which may include homemakers adult day care, assisted living, and home health care.
June is the co-creator of Rise Up for Caregivers, which offers support for family members and friends who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their loved ones. She is author of the upcoming book, The Complete Guide to Caregiving: A Daily Companion for New Senior Caregivers. Ruling your world means knowing about ALL of your insurance and benefit options out there and let’s face it, none of us are getting any younger! If you have any questions about the employer side of long-term care insurance as an employee benefit, my team of experts can handle it for you!