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Too few engage in long-term health care planning

Based on the information gathered by the U.S. Administration on Aging, approximately 70 percent of the country's population that is already or will be turning 65 could need assistance with day-to-day activities as they age. In contrast, only around 40 percent of the people polled believe that they will need long-term care, and at least some of them could be here in Massachusetts. Therefore, too few people are engaging in long-term health care planning.

One source estimates that the cost of one year of long-term care ranges between $17,680 (adult day care) and $92,000 (nursing home private room). Many Americans are confident that they will be able to afford long-term care based on arrangements they have already made. Even so, one woman who purchased a long-term care insurance policy in the 1990's now realizes that the benefits will be woefully inadequate.

For those who have yet to consider making plans for the care they might need later in their lives, the odds appear to be against them. In a time when medical advances are allowing people to live longer, healthier lives, Massachusetts residents might believe that they do not need to make any such arrangements. This is because many may be relatively healthy at an age when people, in decades past, had already begun to decline.

Even though this might be true, people are also living longer. This could mean that they will not need long-term care as soon as their elderly family members did, but that does not preclude the possibility of needing the care at an advanced age. Therefore, it would most likely be in every Massachusetts resident's best interests to consider engaging in long-term health care planning.

Source: ABC News, "Poll: A Third of People Have Done No Long-Term Care Planning", Alejandra Cancino, June 1, 2016

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