We are into another month, and another opportunity to observe historic events, promote various causes, and of course, celebrate the diversity of culture that distinguishes America from other industrialized nations. That said, I was surprised to see just how many different observances occupy a variety of local and national calendars, so much so, I wonder if we have subconsciously dismissed some important recognition opportunities.
The Nationaldaycalendar.com identifies October 2021 as “Long Term Care Planning Month”. An important month indeed! As they describe it:
“Long-Term Care Planning Month in October encourages seniors to take a look at their potential need for Long term care services in the future. While no one can predict the future, Long Term Care Planning explores the options available should the time arise when the services would be needed.”
According to the Administration for Community Living (ACL), a nonprofit group that advocates across the federal government for older adults, people with disabilities, families and caregivers;
- Someone turning age 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services and support in their remaining years
- Women need care longer (3.7 years) than men (2.2 years)
- One-third of today's 65 year-olds may never need long-term care support, but 20 percent will need it for longer than 5 years
AARP reports that America’s long term care system is fractured, outdated and due for a national conversation with meaningful action. Covid-19 generated additional concern by many individuals suggesting more “stay-at-home” options that would lessen the burden of undue patient/visitor infection rates and isolation cases. “Over 184,000 residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have died from COVID-19, with a barrage of news stories reported on this horror” said Nancy LeaMond of AARP.com. “We cannot let that die in memory.”
It is also no surprise that The Century Foundation (a progressive independent “think tank” that, among other areas, researches and analyzes healthcare practices) reports that; “…racial and ethnic health disparities that persist in the nation’s health care system are making the pandemic especially lethal for communities of color.”
As of the date of this writing, President Biden's infrastructure plan, which would invest $400 billion in home- and community-based services is held up in debate in Congress. That makes October’s LTC Planning Month even more apropos. That said, I wouldn’t hope for a government solution just yet.
The daunting reality for many Americans is that this October awareness month represents a mental opportunity to take control of what may be coming down the track. I won’t bore you with a multitude of LTC details, options or scary statistics, but please know that planning now is critical. The problem is many people are not sure what is covered by insurance, and people are often misinformed about what is covered by Medicare.
Now is the time to plan for a better quality of senior living (at home or at a superior LTC facility). I know too many people who were suddenly thrust into caring for older parents, spouses, or siblings with little time to prepare or financial and emotional resource to endure. Believe me, it’s an unimaginable situation and potentially a consequence of being unprepared and unfunded.
Make October the month you talk to a Certified Financial Planner about LTC. (Yes, we advise on that too.) Let them help you better understand how government policies and private programs can work together for a better quality of care when you or your loved ones are most vulnerable.
It’s Your Life…Plan for it!
Eric D. Bailey
Eric Bailey is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors.
Securities and advisory services offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker/dealer (Member SIPC) and registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. Bailey Wealth Advisor is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors.