The states with the worst conditions for long-term care, according to the AARP, are Kentucky, Alabama and Mississippi.
Long-term care is going to be a hot topic in the health care industry for the next 20 years, as the Baby Boomer generation moves into the age group where long-term care becomes a major concern.
The oldest members of the Baby Boomer generation are already 68 years old, and the youngest are in their mid to late 50s. Unfortunately for them, the number of potential caregivers in their families will drop to approximately four for each adult, and those numbers are expected to continue to decline as people stay alive longer and family sizes dwindle.
The American Association of Retired People (AARP) has released its second State Long-Term Services and Supports Scorecard to report on the U.S. states which are doing a good job in offering long-term care over a variety of variables. Twenty-six variables were examined in each state, with concentrations on affordability, access, choices of setting and provider, quality of life and quality of care, support for family caregivers and effective transitions.
The purpose of the study was to show states where they need to improve. “The gradual pace of improvement has to pick up,’’ said Susan Reinhard, a senior vice president of AARP, in a report by National Public Radio. “We don’t have the time to get ready for the demographic imperative that is before us.”
According to the study, Minnesota ranked first, followed by Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska. The bottom five were Indiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Kentucky.
To look at how your state did in the scorecard, see http://www.longtermscorecard.org/2014-scorecard#.U6mDfNhOX5p
There have been improvements in long-term care across most states, according to Reinhard, and one area that has seen the greatest improvement is in the ability of family members to perform some medical tasks, including treating wounds or giving injections. Also, 13 states now allow home caregivers to perform such tasks at home, and nurses are allowed to train the caregivers so that “the family caregivers doesn’t have to run home from work and do it,’’ Reinhard said.
The cost of long-term care continues to be an issue for most middle-class families, which is why long-term care insurance seems like a good option despite its hefty cost. The AARP study said home care services could take up 84 percent of the income of a typical older middle-class family, while nursing home care could take 246 percent of annual income.
A Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner study of affluent investors shows that less than one-third of all investors own long-term care insurance, with the cost of the insurance being the major reason they do not acquire it.
Among investors who most likely can afford it, the Ultra High Net Worth investors with a net worth between $5 million and $25 million, only 37 percent own long-term care insurance. While 25 percent said they consider it too expensive, 42 percent said they were saving for long-term care with other financial savings vehicles.
Among Millionaire investors with a net worth between $1 million and $5 million, only 33 percent own long-term care insurance, with 30 percent saying it is too expensive. Among Mass Affluent investors with a net worth between $100,000 and $1 million, only 24 percent have purchased log-term care insurance and 38 percent say it is too expensive.
According to longtermcare.gov, the average annual cost of long-term care can range between $32,000 and $56,000.
Although the variables make averaging cost of long-term care insurance difficult, the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance said buying insurance for a 50-year-old that would pay $200 a day for three years is $2,235 annually.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.