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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Myths and the Facts of Long Term Care

As an older American, or someone who works with seniors, you may think you have a good understanding of what long term care (LTC) is. But do you? Marlene S. Stum is a Professor in the Department of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota and is nationally recognized for her research, teaching, and outreach work on family economics and social gerontology issues. “What many individuals believe about LTC is very different from the facts,” she says. There are many studies showing that people think they have LTC financial literacy. In reality they have insufficient understanding of LTC which results in LTC knowledge gaps that leave them vulnerable to financial insecurity and a reduced quality of life and care. “People think they know the facts, but all too often their beliefs are based on common myths or misinformation about LTC risks, costs, and alternatives,” she continues.

To better understand and plan for the impact of LTC you need to understand the potential for needing LTC, the associated costs of that care and the risk management strategies and financing alternatives. Dr. Stum debunks many of the myths surrounding LTC in her article, including myths on risk, cost and financing alternatives, in an effort to close the LTC financial literacy gap.

Myth: Men and women are equally at risk for needing long-term care.
Fact: Women face a greater likelihood than men of needing LTC.

Myth: LTC costs are the same regardless of where you live.
Fact: LTC costs vary considerably from state to state and from rural to urban settings.

Myth: Most LTC costs are paid by Medicare.
Fact: Medicare does not pay for LTC. Medicare coverage focuses on treating acute, short-term illnesses and only covers nursing homes and home care for a limited time.

Read more from Marlene in her article, “Long Term Care: Do Your Client’s Beliefs Put Them at Risk?” published this month in CSA Journal 52.

Are you LTC literate? What are some of the concerns you have seen or experienced? Have you been able to improve your LTC financial literacy or that of your family or your clients, or do you have resources you can share?

blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors