How Old are People When They Need Long-Term Care?

Last week we established that most long-term care doesn’t happen in a nursing home. Most of it is provided by a primary caregiver in the home. That caregiver is usually a woman, and she could be a daughter or daughter-in-law or a spouse. She could even be a mom, like my cousin who took six months off work to care for her 19 year old daughter who broke her pelvis in an automobile accident and couldn’t walk, dress or bathe without help. Her sacrifice paid off as her daughter recovered.

By now you are realizing that long-term care can happen at all ages. A third of Americans who are impaired enough to collect benefits from a long-term care insurance policy are under age 65. (Source: Health Affairs, Jan. 2010)

Younger people can need long-term care due to multiple fractures like my family situation, but sometimes the injury is a permanent one, such as a head trauma caused by vehicle or sporting accidents. Others experience debilitating conditions at young ages such as stroke, brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and even early onset of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Could anyone at any age be hit by a drunk driver?

Our church has a program that meets each Wednesday night to help moms with all phases of being a parent. It has a nice name: “Intentional Moms”, so it’s for moms who are doing everything they can to be great moms. One of the first prayer requests at the end of the first session was for a 40 year old healthy brother-in-law who had a stroke the night before with no warning and lost the use of his body on one side. He and her sister have just adopted a five year old little boy who is very nervous about losing his new dad.

Next week we will talk about the impact of caregiving on family life.

Planning for long-term care is not just a good idea – it’s essential for most Americans so that families can retain INDEPENDENCE and CHOICE when care is needed.

If you do not have a local insurance professional and want information about long-term care insurance for yourself and/or a family member, please email me at

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