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Americans in Denial about the Need for Long-Term Care

In an article I recently found on SeniorCare.com pertaining to Americans facing the prospect of long-term care, over 75 percent of people admitted they had not discussed long-term care options with their family. For most, it’s a topic that is quickly pushed under the rug. After all, the costs and the circumstances that go along with long-term care make it an uncomfortable subject.

As a result many folks embrace an attitude of denial instead of a viewpoint that is more grounded in reality. A study referenced in the article notes that only a third of Americans believe they will need long-term care at some point in their lives, compared to the nearly 70 percent that will actually need it. This is an alarming statistic because not having a plan in place can bring about a variety of consequences, from the dire and dangerous to the expensive and inconvenient.

Without a plan in place, the options for care are driven by crisis management instead of a proactive thought process and preventative care. A decision that has to be made on the fly is typically not the best one to support a person’s well-being over the long-term.

Having a plan in place supports a healthy, methodical and effective transition. The situation that occurs when a person without a plan is affected by a serious illness is chaotic and stressful. If a person becomes incapacitated, this could force their friends and family to make a decision about the level and type of care they receive.

Another side effect of being ill-prepared could be financial devastation and severe emotional stress. The financial impact of long-term care can be significant, and people who believe that Medicare will cover the costs are mistaken. In fact, over 72 percent of people who need long-term care end up paying for it out-of-pocket.

Few have the resources for long-term care, yet their assets and/or income levels make them ineligible for Medicaid. Proper planning provides consumers with more time to identify a means of acquiring the care they need and more control over their options, plus it reduces the stress that family members experience. It may seem overwhelming, but when a carefully-mapped out plan is in place that considers everyone’s best interests, the result will be a sense of relief and added peace of mind.

By: Cindy Stancil

Cindy Stancil is President of Liberty Senior Living Management Services, LLC. Leveraging 30 years of experience in senior and assisted living, Stancil manages operations at four senior living campuses under the Liberty Senior Living umbrella. Liberty Senior Living Management Services LLC is a division of Liberty Healthcare Companies, a locally owned and operated company that provides a comprehensive approach to patient care.