Many of us don’t think about long-term care (LTC) until elderly parents need it or we come face-to-face with our own medical crisis. Myths about long-term care are legion, including “My spouse will take care of me” or “I’m too young to think about it.” Here are eight things you need to know.
LTC costs more in some parts of the country than others. The median cost of long-term care in New York State, for example, was $116,000 per year for a private room and $73,000 for a semi-private room in 2010, but only $52,000 a year in Louisiana. Would you send your loved one to a less expensive area? Not if you want them to live longer. People whose family, friends, and relatives visit them in a long-term care facility live longer and maintain better health than those who have no visitors.
Women are more likely to end up in a nursing home than men. Here’s why: Two out of 3 people 85 and older are women. Women over 65 are more likely to be living alone. Women are more likely than men to get Alzheimer’s disease, and they are more likely to suffer a debilitating stroke. And to make matters worse, many elderly women have no Social Security benefits.
LTC isn’t only for the elderly. The need for LTC can arise at any age. In fact, more than 40 percent of people who need it are under 65. Michael J. Fox was only 30 when he noticed a twitch in his finger that was later diagnosed as Parkinson’s. Christopher Reeve was 43 when he had his tragic accident that left him a quadriplegic.