Long term care expenses can ruin the best laid financial plan, unless they are part of the plan. Long term care insurance can be expensive. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. The key is in the planning.

What Is Long Term Care? Long Term Care is custodial care. Custodial care is care that is expected to be required indefinitely or for at least 90 days. Long term care can be delivered in your home or in an institution such as an assisted living facility, a nursing home, or in a community care facility. Community care facilities can be senior centers or adult day care facilities.

Who Needs Long Term Care? About 70% of Americans over the age of 65 will need some kind of long term care services, with 40% needing care in a nursing home. Women are more likely than men to need long term care. The average stay in a nursing home is 2.6 years.

The Cost of Long Term Care: For most middle-class households some, perhaps most, of the financial risk of long term care expenses can be transferred to an insurance company while some can be self-insured. With some planning the cost of the insurance can be manageable.

You are more likely to experience sticker-shock if you insist that your long term care insurance plan covers all of the financial risk of long term care expenses.

Why Buy Long Term Care Insurance? The financial risk of catastrophic long term care expenses is not the only reason to consider insurance. An insurance solution can protect family members and friends from having to provide care that is better provided by trained professionals.

Being a caregiver can be physically and emotionally exhausting for a loved one. It typically requires the caregiver to forego career opportunities, take on related expenses, and give up time with spouses and children. Your loved one may not be physically capable of handling some of the care you may need. I know this from personal experience.

An insurance solution can help you maintain your independence and dignity and allow your time with loved ones and friends to be quality time. Insurance can also be the key to avoiding spending down your assets. It can make it possible for you to leave assets to your loved ones after you are gone.