by Marlene S. Stum, Ph.D. University of Minnesota
Long term care is only a concern for the elderly
or "I'm too young"
The need for long term care does not depend
on age. While a majority of people who need
long term care are older, the need for long
term care can come at any age. Younger people
need long term care because of disabling diseases,
car accidents, AIDS, brain injuries, strokes
and other disabling events. Of the approximately
12 million people in the US who say they need
assistance with activities of daily living,
a majority are 65 and over (57%) and 43% are
working-age adults or children (Stone, 2000).
The long term care system is too complex and it
is always in flux; therefore, it's impossible
to make an informed decision.
It is true that the options for financing long
term care are likely to change in the future.
Also, it is likely that new long term care alternatives
will emerge. This doesn't mean, however, that
you can't plan ahead. In fact, those families
and individuals who do plan ahead, will be in
a better position to understand changes, weigh
options and make long term care decisions. Planning
in advance allows time for gathering information,
comparing options, and determining which options
help achieve what is most important.
Myth: There are no consequences
if I don't plan ahead.
People who don't plan ahead have fewer choices