by Amy Jasper
Close your eyes and imagine the next stage of your life. Perhaps your career has taken off and you are quite the success in your field. Or maybe you are retired and happily involved in your grandchildren’s lives. When you open your eyes, you are fully aware that you can’t just click your heels and get to that next stage in life. You must take certain steps to get there. You must have a plan. A financial plan sets the stage for your goals and dreams. It allows you to be in control, so when you close your eyes and envision that next stage in your life, you are making the decisions that impact you.
One key area of a financial plan is how to fund the high cost of long term care, which is defined as help with bathing, dressing, eating, toileting and moving from the bed to a chair. This year, about 9 million Americans over the age of 65 will need long-term care services. By 2020, that number will increase to 12 million. While most people who need long-term care are age 65 or older, a person can need long-term care services at any age. Forty percent of people currently receiving long-term care are adults 18 to 64 years old. The main causes are accidents, disabilities, stroke or chronic illnesses. According to the U.S. Department on Health and Human Services, about 70 percent of individuals over age 65 will require some type of long-term care services during their lifetime and over 40 percent will need care in a nursing home for some period of time. Women are more likely to need long-term care than men since they outlive men by an average of five years. They may also find themselves living alone later in life, which increases their chances of needing care from a paid provider.