Sunday, May 15, 2011

Are you planning for long term care?

If you’re like most mature Canadians, you’re planning for a long and comfortable retirement. But, as we learn anew every day, planning is one thing, reality is another. The hope is that you and your spouse will stay healthy through all your retirement years. But the probability is that your health or your spouse’s health will change during those years and you may require nursing services and/or long term care.

How common is the need for long term care?
  • About 50,000 strokes occur in Canada each year* – and stroke is the leading cause of transfer from hospital to long term care.
  • 1 in 11 Canadians over 65 is affected by Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.**
  • 7% of Canadians age 65 and over reside in health care institutions.***
  • An additional 28% of Canadians 65 and over receive care for a long term health problem but do not live in a health care institution.***
Many Canadians believe that all long term care services are paid for by their provincial health care system or are covered by group plans. The reality is that skilled nursing care, personal health care, facility costs, some supplemental medication costs, special equipment, adaptive devices, home alterations and other services can add thousands of dollars to monthly long term care costs that come out of your pocket. In fact, in 2003, about two-thirds (65%) of Canadian adults who needed personal care did not receive that care from government-subsidized programs.***

Will the retirement nest egg you’ve built be adequate to cover long term expenses? Why risk putting your retirement, assets and estate at risk or becoming a financial burden on your family when there is an effective alternative: Long term care insurance.

Long term care insurance pays out benefits when you require nursing home care or – and this is important – care in your own home. This type of insurance generally provides benefits related to physical or cognitive impairment, including: medical care, home care, daily care in an adult day care center, 24-hour care in a long term care facility, the services of a registered nurse in your home, homemaker services, respite care to allow a caregiver a needed break, or any other costs that may arise during the period of impairment. With long term care insurance, you will not have to rely on your family for financial help or hands-on care – giving you and those you love the opportunity to spend quality time together in a financially stress-free environment.

A long term care insurance policy can help protect you, your family and your assets from the financial impact of health care services by providing cash when you need it, for as long as you need it.

* Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2003

** Alzheimer Society website, 2009

*** Statistics Canada, 2002

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