Long-term Care Insurance: How to Plan for a Future You Can’t Fathom

Let’s talk aging and long-term care insurance.

At the core of the new Disrupt Aging movement is this idea of learning to live better, not simply longer.

Remember when legendary weatherman Willard Scott would give a shout-out to centenarians on The Today Show?

We could all send in photos of our grandmas, great-uncles, or anyone else we knew who’d reached the milestone. When their photos appeared on screen, Willard read their names and wished them a happy 100th birthday on national TV.

Living to 100 was a pretty big deal.

It’s still considered an accomplishment to join the centenarian club, but it’s becoming increasingly common. The average ten-year-old today has a 50% chance of living to 100. We adults who make it to retirement age (65) are statistically likely to live to 85 and beyond.

Eighty-five-year-olds and older represent the fastest growing age group of our population, and centenarians are the second fastest growing group.

This is new territory. Other than the few centenarians who’ve shared their secrets to longevity with us – stay active, sip a wee dram of sherry now and then, smoke a cigar a day – we don’t have many role models. The new frontier of aging brings up questions and challenges we never had to think about until now.

While writing this new chapter in human existence, we’re challenging the dominant cultural perceptions of both retirement and old age. Rather than living a few years beyond retirement age, we’re living 20 years longer on average. With the right planning, that brings unheard of opportunities to spend those years with a sense of freedom and purpose. Planning also maximizes our choices.

To start planning your retirement freedom years, Contact Capital Retention.

A New Vision of Aging in America

What do we need to know to get there? Well, in her book Disrupt Aging, AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins suggests that we consider the future in three broad terms: health, wealth, and self.

Living a healthy lifestyle throughout life, for example, positions us better physically in old age. Financial planning that includes long-term care planning gives us choices after retirement so we can thrive, rather than merely survive. And taking a more positive view of our aging selves helps us find new purpose and a sense of adventure at a time when we have the greatest personal freedom of our lives.

When we drill down on any of these areas, we discover opportunities to be had, challenges to be met, and decisions to be made. They’re inextricably intertwined, and collectively, they affect the quality of our longer lives.

Let’s take wealth, for instance. The most pressing question savvy seniors have is, Will long-term care wipe out my legacy? It’s a scary, albeit legitimate, question. 

What if we asked more questions that helped us form a vision of this new post-retirement future that we can scarcely fathom? If we had a better understanding of long-term care and its place in retirement planning, and we took action on that understanding, isn’t it possible that we could create a healthier, more positive, and financially carefree future?

As the saying goes, When you know better, you do better.

 

LTC Questions We Should Be Asking

So what long-term care questions should we be asking to create a clear, actionable plan for life after retirement? Five key questions are listed below, and are discussed in a series of posts on the Capital Retention website.

You can read the entire series on our blog for a better understanding of long-term care, and to start your own planning. Or, you can pick and choose the questions below that are most urgent to your situation. Clicking the links will take you directly to each post.

 

What are my options, if I can no longer take care of myself?

“Are You Ready for the Sticker Shock of Long-term Care?” looks at a range of senior living and long-term care options you can choose from today, keeping in mind that innovative ideas are popping up all the time. Nursing care facilities are no longer the only choice, and staying at home is still a popular option for those who can make it work.

 

Who Decides if I Need Long-term Care, and How Much Care?

“5 Factors That Predict Who May Need Long-term Care” lays out the factors that determine who may need long-term care services, and at what level of care. It’s widely accepted that 70% of seniors will need some level of care in their lifetimes. There are five indicators that determine the probability of needing long-term care.

 

Could my long-term care needs affect my family?

“Family Caregivers Face the Surprising Truths of Long-term Care” takes on the hard topic of family and long-term care. It examines the roles of informal family caregivers. In 2016, family and other unpaid caregivers in the U.S. provided $230.1 billion dollars’ worth of care to dementia patients alone.

 

How will I pay for the long-term care I need, if I need it at all?

“Medicare, Medicaid, and Long-term Care Insurance: How to Pay for Long-term Care” talks about who does and doesn’t pay for long-term care. (You may be surprised) The post also looks at the cost of long-term care, and what to expect from Medicare, Medicaid, LTC insurance, paying out-of-pocket, and other options.

 

What kind of long-term care insurance should I buy, and when?

“How to Choose the Best Long-term Care Insurance for You” is the final post in the series. It compares two of the best long-term care insurance options in the industry, and explains the pros and cons of these new LTCI solutions. Although, long-term care insurance can be purchased well into a person’s 70s, there are good reasons to buy sooner.

As we grow our awareness of issues surrounding long-term care, we can make the best choices for ourselves and our families. Let’s all join the conversation.

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(Source: Prudential Research Report 2010: Long-Term Care Cost Study)

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