Long-term care is expensive! Depending on the level of care needed, the national average runs $37,000 to $80,000 a year. For most people, figuring out the best way to pay for it is one of the final pieces in the retirement puzzle. With our aging population and life-extending medical advances, these costs are likely to rise each year. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there were about 9 million Americans over 65 who needed long-term care in 2010. That number is expected to swell to 12 million by 2020.
What does it mean to need long-term care? Most medical and insurance definitions focus on a person's inability to do daily, routine activities unassisted — known as the "activities of daily living." They include bathing, dressing, toileting, eating and transferring (moving from a bed, a chair or a vehicle with help). While it is impossible to predict which individuals will need long-term care, chances are most people will require some form of long-term care during their lifetime.
According to the HHS Clearing House, 70 percent of people age 65 or older will require some form of long-term care either on a temporary or permanent basis.