The High Cost of Dementia and Long-Term Care

In this post, you’ll learn about dementia and long-term care, the impact of caregiving on families, and the importance of planning ahead with long-term care insurance.


Football season is almost upon us, but for Vikings fans, last season’s “Minneapolis Miracle” is still fresh in their minds. It was during the NFC playoff game against the New Orleans Saints. Seven seconds left on the clock, 24-23, Saints. No time outs for either team. Case Keenum launches a pass to Stephon Diggs, who makes the catch and runs the ball in for the game-winning touchdown.

These are the plays that make history. These are the catches people never forget.

Long before Diggs and the Vikings, there was Dwight Clark and the San Francisco 49ers. Although Clark had a long and illustrious career, it was defined by “The Catch” in the 1982 NFC Championship game against the Cowboys. The upstart team against the dynastic Dallas Cowboys – America’s Team.

The fingertip grab in the end zone from a Joe Montana pass wasn’t the game winner, but it was legendary. In fact, it was so iconic that although it was over 36 years ago, it’s still referred to as “The Catch.” And any serious football fan will know what you’re talking about when you mention it.

This summer, Dwight Clark lost his three-year battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). He died June 4, 2018, at the age of 61.

We’re still talking about “The Catch.”


ALS, Lewy Body, Alzheimer’s, and Other Dementias

The same disease that took Dwight Clark’s life was named after Yankee’s baseball star Lou Gehrig who was forced to retire from the game after developing it.

Its formal name is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. A neurodegenerative disease, it progressively worsens, first causing disability, and eventually death. Lou Gehrig died at age 37.

Progressive neurodegenerative diseases like ALS and Alzheimer’s are some of the most heart wrenching when it comes to long-term care. Patients quickly require an increasingly higher level of care as the disease progresses.

With ALS, the average lifespan after diagnosis is three to five years. The average life expectancy from the onset of Lewy body dementia is five to seven years. On average, Alzheimer’s patients live three to ten years post-diagnosis, but can live much longer – even as long as 20 years.

These neurodegenerative disease diagnoses can wreak havoc on the entire family. As a patient’s care needs grow more demanding, families must wrestle with the psychological and financial impact to the whole. What does the patient want? Who will be the primary caregiver? Is home-care an option? For how long? Has money been set aside for their long-term care?


Long-Term Care Insurance and Family

Before he announced his ALS diagnosis, Dwight Clark was already supporting ALS charities in honor of Steve Gleason, Saints defensive back, who also succumbed to the disease at age 41. Gleason and the NFL teamed up for an ALS awareness campaign called Game-Changing Moment. It featured “the catch” in the series of commercials.

When Clark announced his own ALS diagnosis, he reminded us of the importance of family. “In addition to losing strength in my left hand – which makes opening a pack of sugar or buttoning my shirt impossible – I have now experienced weakness in my right hand, abs, lower back and right leg.” He went on to say, “What I do know is that I have a huge battle in front of me, and I’m grateful for the strength and unconditional love from my wife Kelly.”

And that is why you buy long-term care insurance. Because of family. Because of all they’ll have to face with you, and do for you, if you should ever need long-term care. There may be tremendous challenges for family to overcome, but how to pay for care shouldn’t be one of them.

A dementia diagnosis comes with devastating effects for both the patient and the family. Some could be reduced with prior planning. Not all, of course. It’s a cruel diagnosis. But, at least some of the financial effects.


Dementia and Long-term Care Insurance

It’s easy to make generalizations about when to buy long-term care insurance. The recommendation is when you’re still healthy and in your 50s. Life is unpredictable though, and for some that could be too late.

Even experts in insurance have been caught off guard, not planning for dementia and long-term care. Jim Johnson worked in insurance and knew the importance of long-term care insurance. Because he and his wife had always enjoyed good health, he planned to buy their long-term care insurance at age 70. 

Jim Johnson on the importance of long-term care insurance.

Unfortunately for Jim and Carol, it was too late. Carol was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia before Jim purchased the policy.

For others, they may never need long-term care. Fortunately, with Capital Retention policies, if you don’t use your long-term care insurance, it becomes a death benefit for your heirs.

New long-term care insurance policies offer affordable asset and income protection at stable rates. Policies represented by Capital Retention provide families with Care Coordination benefits. Your family can rely on this professional care team when they need it most.

My experience with families making claims has been that they were grateful that their parent(s) had long-term care insurance. Having long-term care insurance lets you focus on what’s most important during difficult times – each other.

You can learn more about long-term care insurance options on the Capital Retention website. You’ll have choices like Flex Plan with monthly payments, Hybrid LTC Insurance asset protection with a one-time payment, and the federally-supported, state-operated Partnership Plan.

We’ll decide together on the best plan for you when you call me at 844 805 3557. Or, complete the contact form on our website, and I’ll call you back.

Get this important planning done now for your own peace of mind, and for your family. Then gather the family together, and let’s get ready for some football!