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Long-Term Care: An Overview

Updated: Jun 9

When it comes to financial planning, you know about core elements like saving for retirement and preparing for an unexpected death or disability. However, there’s a life event that doesn’t get the recognition it should, given its likelihood and substantial cost. So, in this article, I provide an overview of long-term care and explain the need to plan for it.

What is long-term care ("LTC")?

LTC encompasses a variety of services designed to meet the medical and non-medical needs of individuals who can’t perform Activities of Daily Living such as bathing, dressing, eating, and toileting.

Who needs LTC?

LTC is primarily for individuals facing health issues like Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, diabetes, heart attacks, osteoporosis, and strokes. The likelihood of needing LTC is influenced by factors including age, gender, marital status, lifestyle choices (e.g., obesity, smoking, excessive drinking), and family medical history.

Where can I get LTC?

There are two primary settings in which you can obtain LTC:

  1. In the comfort of your home by a family member, friend, home healthcare aide, or nurse.

  2. Assisted living facilities, memory care facilities, or nursing homes.

Why should I plan for LTC?

Planning for LTC is essential for several reasons:

  1. It enables you to make decisions while you’re still able to articulate your preferences. By planning ahead, you improve your chances of maintaining independence and receiving quality healthcare. Additionally, planning reduces the risk of depleting your assets and income, ensuring financial stability throughout the LTC journey.

  2. LTC planning also alleviates stress on family members, as it prevents them from being thrust into the caregiver role. According to studies, family caregivers often experience decreased energy, patience, and time to care for themselves and their immediate family. They also tend to provide out-of-pocket financial assistance to support their loved one's care. Finally, the family member’s career can be adversely affected, since assuming caregiving duties can lead to reduced productivity, increased absences, and other work-related challenges.

  3. The final justification for LTC planning is the prevalence and cost of LTC, which tell an alarming story. Approximately seven in 10 individuals who reach age 65 will need LTC in the future. Moreover, the average length of time that people use LTC services is three years. Finally, as an example of how expensive LTC can be, the estimated local cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home exceeds $12,000 per month. (Even the average cost of a home healthcare aide is more than $5,000 per month in this area.)

LTC is for individuals who can’t perform Activities of Daily Living such as bathing, dressing, eating, and toileting. The chance of needing LTC in retirement is high, and the cost of it is substantial. LTC planning improves the likelihood of maintaining independence, receiving quality healthcare, and protecting your financial well-being. You can also spare loved ones from the burden of caregiving, which is known to have adverse effects. For more information on LTC, my email address is The consultation is free with no obligations.

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