Work-life balance, equal pay, access to childcare – these are the issues that we tend to think of as “women’s issues.” But there’s a very real issue that doesn’t get as much attention among women: long-term care planning.
November is Long-Term Care Awareness Month, an effort to bring attention to this important issue. Long-term care planning is very much an issue of grave importance for women and one they should make sure is part of their financial planning and retirement program. Women typically outlive their spouses, so this means not only will they most likely be caring for a spouse but they also will need outside care as they age.
The majority of nursing home residents and those with Alzheimer’s disease are women. More than 65 percent of all long-term care insurance benefits are paid for care received by women.
Most of us don’t like to think about growing old or needing nursing home care, but the truth is 70 percent of people who reach age 65 will require long-term care services. And the last thing any of us wants to do is become a burden to our families as they struggle to figure out how to pay for our care. Rather than spending time together as a family, our children are saddled with the emotional and financial strain of nursing home or home health care bills. That’s not exactly most women’s idea of aging with dignity.
That means now is the time to plan for the future. The average age for new long term care insurance applicants is 57. That means you don’t want to wait too long to secure coverage. The older you get, the more likely you’ll have a health problem that could keep you from getting coverage.
Don’t put off getting your own insurance because you think Medicare will take care of you. Medicare covers very little of the cost of long-term care. Most of us want to have choice in the type of care we receive. Do you want to choose the best nursing home or wait until you have to select the least expensive nursing home? Do you want to be prepared for in-home care or leave your loved ones struggling to help take care of you?
Making decisions now means you can have more control over where and how you want to live out the final years of your life.
A long-time Center for Women member, Barbara Franklin is the owner of Franklin & Associates, a Charleston-based company offering both traditional and innovative approaches to long-term care planning and financing. During the month of November, Franklin & Associates is offering a complimentary policy review of any long-term care insurance policy. To schedule an appointment, call 843-762-4260 or visit www.franklinassociatesinc.com.