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Long Term Care Insurance

As result of medical technology advancements many more Canadians reaching retirement are expected to live much longer. It is not just the healthy who are living longer but those who are ill too. The number of seniors aged 80 and over will double in the next 20 years and treble in the next 40 years.

As people age, their disabling conditions change from mild to severe. National studies on disabilities in seniors have revealed that over 40% of seniors had at least one disability that impacted on activities of daily living and that one quarter of the disabled seniors were severely disabled. Arthritis/rheumatism was most common followed by strokes, heart disease and fractures. Women were more likely than men to have mobility and agility disabilities.

At present only 8% of the elderly are in assisted living care or LTC programs. The rest live at home or are supported by their families. Studies indicate that there are 1.5 million disabled seniors living in the community.

What are the costs of obtaining long term care?

  • Facility government nursing homes can cost less but have long waiting lists. Hardly surprising considering the overloaded medical system and a situation that doesn’t have easy solutions soon. Even with government subsidies, ward coverage in Ontario can cost $750 to $1,500 in addition to the subsidy, and the wait can range from a few months to up to two years;
  • A private Canadian nursing home can cost between $3,000 and $8,000 a month. At that rate it amounts to a minimum of $36,000 a year;
  • Current home care may cost $35 to $48 an hour for a private registered nurse or $70 for an occupational therapist or physiotherapist. Less skilled personal care to help with eating or light housekeeping can cost $15 an hour;
  • Recent studies have shown families and friends that care for elders at home over long periods also suffer emotionally and financially from giving these services and are in need of extra nursing care support.

How can this risk be protected against?

Long Term Care insurance can help protect the financial security and lifestyle we have worked so hard to achieve. It provides peace of mind by reducing the fear of outliving valuable savings and other assets by providing tax-free income to pay for care at home for a nurse or therapist to provide necessary services. This can allow disabled seniors to stay at home longer with their families as a matter of their preferred choice. The financial and emotional burden on their caring family and friends can be lightened.

At the same time more and better choices can be made between government and private facility care as these expenses can be paid with tax free dollars.

At an age when living on fixed incomes is a given, long term care insurance can provide valuable options when deciding what nursing care and services suit one’s needs and desires and create the ability to afford necessary care without destroying family finances.