Odds of Needing Long-Term Care

Great excerpt from the Wall Street Journal - June 10, 2019

Retirement columnist Glenn Ruffenach also answers a question about how much risk to take with investments in retirement

What are my chances of needing long-term care? Can you point me toward some good statistics?

Several resources can help. The numbers vary, but the message is clear: Many of us will need some type of long-term care as we age.

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To start, the Administration for Community Living, a part of the Department of Health and Human Services, has published a good primer on long-term care, which includes figures about the likelihood of needing care and how much care the average American might require. (Go to longtermcare.acl.gov and click on: The Basics.)

According to the administration, about seven in 10 people (69%) turning age 65 today will need, at some point, some type of long-term-care services—either at home, in their community or in a facility. Typically, women need care longer (3.7 years, on average) than men (2.2 years). And while about one-third of people who are 65 may never need long-term care, 20% will need it longer than five years.

Source: Department of Health and Human Services

A more detailed look at long-term care, published in 2015 by Health and Human Services and revised in 2016, looks at the risk of people developing a disability and needing help with “activities of daily living,” such as bathing, dressing and eating. The study estimates that about half (52%) of Americans turning 65 today will “develop a disability serious enough” to require long-term services and support—and about one in six (17%) will end up spending at least $100,000 out-of-pocket for such services. (Go to aspe.hhs.gov and search for: Long-Term Services and Supports for Older Americans.)

(Note: AARP, the Washington-based advocacy group, has summarized the HHS findings in a more-readable form. Go to aarp.org and search for: Long-Term Support and Services.)

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