Some Thoughts on Long Term Care

I’ve been thinking a bit about long term care lately. Maybe it’s because I just got a new job and one of the places I interviewed to work for was a nursing home association (didn’t get that job).

Maybe you have had a close friend with a parent facing a scary health scenario. As we get older, especially into our 30s, we are a bit closer to our own mortality, and getting very close to that point when we have to start dealing with the fact that our parents are getting old.

Major changes in our lives, like new jobs, births, deaths, and sickness always seem to cause us to re-evaluate our financial position. Seeing others go through similar circumstances gives us a good opportunity to consider the effects of a worst case scenario without having to experience it.

Imagine a trio of siblings, all in their thirties. Their parents are in good health and with Americans living longer than ever, there is no reason to think that they don’t have many more years of good health ahead of them.

But the fact that their children are just starting to get settled in life and are making good household incomes presents a good opportunity to set aside a small amount of money each year to deal with immediate concerns should a health emergency arise.

I’m not sure what my parents have for long term care insurance, which means they probably don’t. Which raises an entirely different issue: when is it time for parents to open the vault of secrets and begin to set some plans in place in the event one or both is incapacitated?

Also, as we ourselves make our way through our thirties, how can we force ourselves to set something aside to combat the asset-destroyer that is the need for expensive and prolonged long term nursing care?

Americans are living longer, but they are living worse than ever. So brings a whole new reality for a new generation.

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6 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on Long Term Care

  1. “Asset-destroyer” is a good way to describe long-term nursing care. My MIL has been paying on an insurance policy for years, just in case. My own mother I know for a fact is not. She has of course a standing invitation to come live with us, but likely she won’t take us up on it.

  2. Interesting. The statistics on LTC are staggering. I don’t worry as much about the person receiving care as the healthy person at home….”asset-destroyer” indeed. What will the other spouse live on when the one in the nursing home has eaten all their assets?

    • Oh man, if a spouse has to go into assisted care without long term care insurance or the ability to pay out of pocket, then the spouse living at home can have a lot of assets stripped. The thing with LTC insurance is that it is so expensive. I worked for a finance company that offered LTC and these premiums were pretty high.

  3. I agree with the other commenters – it just eats away at savings that could be better utilized elsewhere. My parents have done without LTC insurance, as has my grandmother. Instead, they’ve wisely invested what they *would* have spent on this, and, in the event that they needed LTC that their insurance, Medicare, or the care of a family member couldn’t provide, they could afford it.

  4. Just a side note about long term care, not particularly relating to the actual cost of care but more about the quality…
    The fact that people have to pay to be barely cared for is ridiculous. I have worked in a long term care facility in the Medical Records department and am currently in my 3rd year of nursing school. Also, my mom has been a nurse in long term care for over 20 years. I have seen people neglected and mistreated by those who are expected to provide care for them and from what I have seen and heard, this is the norm in most facilities. It is accepted by patients and employees alike, some who don’t seem to know any better and others who are not in a position to take any action for various reasons. I have never kept quiet about anything I have seen and every chance I get I strongly discourage the bad habits and unethical treatment of others. The bottom line is that the facilities are understaffed and those who are able to obtain their licenses to become CNAs don’t have to do much to become certified. I’m sure every state is different but where I live, it takes two weeks of classes and 80 hours of clinical practice to apply for licensing. I think too many people see the job as an easy way to earn more money than they would otherwise working in a factory. But the truth is, healthcare jobs should be filled by people who are caring (healthCARE), and can be empathetic and understanding of the needs of this population. It is all too often that one or two CNAs are assigned to provide full care for 15 or 20 people–come in to work at 0600 getting them out of bed, giving baths, brushing teeth, getting dressed, taking them to breakfast by 0730 , feeding them, helping them to the restroom, putting them back in bed for a nap, then doing it all over again by 1130. During that time there are call lights going off, people needing this or that, nurses asking for things, other staff members needing help because it takes 2 people to transfer some patients from the bed to their chairs, etc. So the CNAs are pressed for time, stressed out, and not capable of doing their jobs. And the people that suffer because of this are the patients/residents in the facilities…it’s a sad situation leading to falls, pressure ulcers, infections, depression, and sometimes worse.

    Maybe instead of saving to be able to afford placement in a long term care facility it would be more beneficial to pay for a home health agency? But even then, it’s a CNA who would come to your home to provide care….

  5. The cost of ltc insurance is expensive in nature, the primary reason why people just shrug off the idea of purchasing one. But since life expectancy is becoming much longer these days, people grow older and thus they become more vulnerable to conditions and diseases that will require long term care. The cost of care increases each year and paying this type of service from your pocket is not a good idea unless you have unlimited funds. But how about those people who only have average-income? For me, it’s still wiser to purchase coverage than to gamble and grow old with no coverage. And besides, there are ways to keep your ltci costs more affordable and here’s how:

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