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These Are The Good-Old-Days of Long Term Care

I heard this at a panel discussion featuring speakers from Wisconsin’s Health and Human Services department in Madison, the state capital, two weeks ago.  We have the facilities, we have the staffing, we have the home care agencies to care for our older Americans – yet.

The baby boomers are turning 65 at a rate of 10,000 a day.  Have been for a few years now and will continue to for 18-19 more years.  In 12 more years those baby boomers will be hitting 80 in large numbers.  Where will the caregivers come from to handle this tidal wave of elderly needing assistance with activities of daily living or cognitive impairments?We will look back on 2014 as being the good-old-days, when providers were available with room and staff to take care of whomever needed it.

Alzheimer’s alone will cause one out of seven to need care by 65 and nearly half of us by 85.  In the past month I’ve been approached by several home care agencies asking me to inquire if my clients would be willing to work a few hours a week as they already have more clients seeking their services than they have staff to provide it.

This is a WORLD wide problem as the baby boomers were caused by WORLD war II.  Germany’s “Medicaid” type program has a 10 year look-back for people who have divested assets.  England limits the “at home” spouse to the equivalent of $38,000 of assets, not the $814,000 house, Mercedes, and $117,240 of cash the US allows – yet.

I suppose we could import third world workers to staff our facilities and provide care at home, but they have the same aging population problems we have.  Cities and states are raising minimum wages, which will make LTC services more expensive.  The New York Times tells us that professional caregiving will overtake retail as the number one occupation in America in 6 more years.  Where will the staff come from to fill the need of facility care and home care providers?

I have a very healthy LTC insurance policy that I purchased 13 years ago.  LTC insurance was less expensive then, they accepted health concerns that will cause declines today.  They offered richer benefits back then.  Now less companies offer shorter duration coverage, with tighter health qualifications to get it, at higher prices as they know they will be paying the bills.

How will you pay your bills when you cannot manage on your own anymore?  Will your 401K and IRA accounts continue growing throughout your retirement as your Social Security check also gets larger each year?  Is the premium on LTC insurance affordable now, or will it be easier to spend $200,000 per person per year 20 years from now?  I didn’t ask if you want to buy a LTC insurance policy, I asked if it was affordable.  Car insurance is expensive too, but it’s less expensive than replacing one out of pocket.  Statistically, you are 120 times more likely to need LTC than have a car accident.  70% of us will need care per Health and Human Services in Washington DC.  I’m covered, thank goodness!

For more information try the free LTC cost calculator at www.RetirementChoices.net/rraabeLTC1.html

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The Long Term Care Guy