This section addresses the risks of needing long-term care as well as the average length of time that people may need long-term care. It also covers how our aging population increases the need for long-term care and how families are not equipped to handle their needs.
Will You Need Long Term Care?
|While the general population perceives the risk of needing long-term care services to be less than 25%, the actual risk for needing long-term care (either home care or nursing home care) is greater than 50%. LifePlans, Inc. January 2002
|"Who is at risk for needing long-term care? Isn't it just older people? " While many older people need long-term care, it is important not to overlook that young people can need long-term care too. It is never too early to plan for your future long-term care needs. Some common reasons that young people can need long-term care are: strokes, Parkinson's disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and accidents to name just a few.
|The U.S. nursing home occupancy rate has decreased from 100% to 85% over the last 15 years as more seniors have moved toward assisted living facilities and home health care, according to Joseph Angelelli, an assistant professor of health policy and administration at Pennsylvania State University. Coverage & Access/New York Times, April 25, 2005
How Long Will You Need Long-Term Care?
Unfortunately, no one has a crystal ball so you can never be sure how long you could need long-term care. We can look at some statistics to see what some of the nursing home "averages" are, but that is no guarantee that if you needed long-term care you wouldn't be 'above average', or 'below average'.
Length of Stay
Percent of Nursing Home Patients
|Less than 3 months
There have been a lot of studies on the average length of stay in a nursing home, but it is difficult to get studies that show how long people need care in assisted living facilities or in their homes.
An important point to note is that long-term care usually starts out in the home. Therefore, it is important to consider the length of time you may need care at home BEFORE you entered a nursing home and not base your planning on only nursing home statistics.
|The average caregiving time in a national survey was five years. Health Spending Projections For 2001-2011: The Latest Outlook, Office of the Actuary, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Health Affairs, March/April 2002
America's Future Long-Term Care Needs
Long-term care is more of an issue now then it ever was in the past due to our aging population. We are living much longer now than we ever did before. Along with living longer, our odds for needing long-term care may increase. Many times people wrongly assume that because no one in their family needed long-term care, they won't. What people forget is that in the past their family members probably didn't live long enough to require long-term care! As we live longer, our odds for needing long-term care increase.
|One-third of all Americans (77 million people) were born between 1946 and 1964, a group we affectionately named the Baby Boomers. We are on the verge of the country's first Senior Boom. One out of four people in the United States is already over 50. In reality, the longer we live, the greater the chance we will need long-term care. Phyllis Shelton, Long-Term Care Your Financial Planning Guide, 2003"Boomers are placing increasing importance on financial independence. When asked about their primary consideration for satisfaction later in life, they are just as likely to cite finances as health and are very concerned that they will outlive their money, forcing them to scale back their current lifestyle. Sandra Timmerman, Ed.D., Director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute, October 2005Much of the financial burden of long-term care falls on the care recipients and their families.Boston College Center for Retirement Research, 2004