Long-term care insurance isn’t cheap. It can generally be structured to be affordable for most seniors, but still—faced with tax changes, inflation and less savings than they’d hoped for—many pre- and postretirees opt to skip this coverage and save the money they’d otherwise spend on premiums.
Some believe that their spouse will take care of them should they become unable to complete various activities of daily living, such as showering, dressing and feeding themselves. Likewise, they expect to take care of their spouse should he or she be the one who needs care. But how practical is it to expect to care for a spouse in lieu of the care provided when you have LTC insurance?
Quality of Care
Individuals who decide to forgo in-home assistance and instead care for their spouses alone may, despite their best intentions, be doing their spouse a disservice. As you age, you become less physically capable of handling the intensive duties of a caregiver. Not only can this compromise the level of care you’re able to give to your spouse, it can also result in injury that creates a chronic health problem for you. In other words, this decision can put both your spouse’s and your own health at risk.
Quality of Life
Another consideration is how the decision affects your quality of life. When you’re a caregiver, you no longer have the same freedom of schedule you once did. Your life can very quickly start to revolve around the needs of your spouse, leaving your own goals, interests and passions by the wayside. Is that how you want to spend your retirement years? Is that what your spouse wants for you?
When You Both Need Care
It’s reasonable to expect that there will come a time when you can no longer care for your spouse because you can no longer complete the activities of daily living for yourself. If you don’t have the money to pay for in-home care, you may need to rely on family and friends to provide care, which leaves you and your spouse in a precarious position.
Long-Term Care Insurance—Your Best Bet
According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, more than 6.3 million seniors age 65 and over needed the services covered by LTC in 2000. That number is expected to climb significantly as baby boomers head toward their senior years. AARP reports that there is a probability of 68 percent of people age 65 and over eventually requiring help with at least two activities of daily living. When you’re healthy and mobile, it may be hard to imagine a time when you need help bathing and dressing, but the statistics paint an all-too-accurate picture of the likelihood that you will. With long-term care insurance for both you and your spouse, you can both enter retirement with the confidence that you can be well cared for when you’re no longer able to care for yourselves.