Why is it so important to plan for long term care?

October 24, 2016

Many older adults consider planning for their long term care to be akin to planning for their final days. Wouldn’t any one of us push back on such a task or deny that it will ever be needed? The problem is we are emotional human beings that often ignore facts and statistics, even to their own detriment.

Let’s consider the act of planning for our children’s college by starting a savings account, yet we know not all children go to college. We have homeowners insurance, and yet most of us don’t know anyone who actually had their house burn down. When was the last time you actually used an umbrella, but you probably own at least a couple, just to be prepared. Planning is something we do naturally, but not when it comes to our later years.

  • We know Baby Boomers are turning 65 at a rate of 8,000 – 10,000 per day, US Census.
  • We know at least 70% of individuals over age 65 will need some long-term care services, per the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.
  • We know Medicare does not pay for long-term care.
  • We know in 2015 the U.S. General Accounting Office estimated the median savings for households age 65-74 to be just $148,000.
  • We know that the average annual cost of a skilled nursing home stay is $91,250, per a recent 2016 study by Genworth.
  • Last but not least, in 2015 the GAO found 52% of all U.S. households age 55 and older have NO retirement.

While you may be the lucky one who is right when you say “It will never happen to me,” the odds are definitely not in your favor that you won’t need some long term care assistance. Just stop and think about how many family and friends you have who are much older than anyone thought they would be. So the real question you need to consider is what to do next. Putting your head in the sand is not a planning process recommended by anyone I know. You may be chuckling at that image, but all too many seniors are doing just that.

Like any puzzle there are many pieces to review and put together to construct the final picture. The process to evaluate and establish a long term care plan may seem daunting, but you are not alone. Start taking steps in the right direction by attending any one of the educational series offered by Iona Senior Services, visiting your local library or Area Agency on Aging in your community, or simply come back here for some fun and informative articles.

by Rick Gow, CSA
Certified Senior Advisor & Wealth Management Advisor
with Lara, May & Associates, LLC. Member FINRA/SIPC

Rick Gow is a seasoned Wealth Management Advisor, a member of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors®, facilitator of the Meaningful Future Process™ and nationally recognized speaker on many senior related long term care financial planning topics. He primarily works with seniors, their caregivers and family members, related to all aspects of financial planning for long term care needs. He helps develop all-encompassing long term care plans, tax efficient wealth transfer structures and retirement strategies.  Most plans start with his Long Term Care Financial Assessment that addresses various components: from income generation, Medicaid & Veteran’s Administration compliant insurance products to real estate transfer strategies and principal protection, just to name a few.