Long-Term Care Needs Vary Widely Among Seniors

One of the biggest unknowns of aging is the prospect of needing long-term care. Based on a recent study from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, about 20% of people turning age 65 will not require any form of long-term care. Another 20% will only need minimal care. On the other hand, about 25% will need significant care for more than three years. The remaining 38% will wind up somewhere in the middle—requiring a moderate amount of care for one to three years.


Although seniors can’t predict which group they’ll be in, a major indicator of how much assistance an individual will need is how healthy they are in their late 60s. Another factor that may have an impact is marital status. Based on the study, for those who were married, 19% of women and 17% of men did not need care, compared to 14% of single women and 13% of single men.


Despite these indicators, many seniors are still uncertain when it comes to planning for their retirement and prospective long-term care needs. Unfortunately, there’s no perfect answer. Plus, Medicare doesn’t cover most long-term care costs. Some seniors will wind up relying on their own assets to fund their future care, while others will depend on their family members. Another option is spending down or shielding assets in order to qualify for Medicaid benefits.


The simplest solution is long-term care insurance. Although this option may be too costly for some, seniors can customize the policy to fit their budget or choose a hybrid policy with a guaranteed death benefit.


Read the full article from CNBC.

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