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What is Long Term Care (LTC)? A general definition: The need for assistance with two or more Activities of Dailey Living (ADLs) such as feeding, toileting, bathing, ambulating, transferring, or dressing, for 90 days or more.
LTC occurs in many different settings:
LTC is provided in the home – where 80% of that care is provided by family members who are providing an average of 20 hours per week of care. Over 65 million people in the US are were unpaid family caregivers, often performing tasks best described as heroic. Family caregivers report significant impacts on their financial, social, personal and medical well-being. Certainly family members are providing care out of love and dedication. But the lack of an adequate source of funding to pay for the care is a contributing factor to the stress family caregivers experience.
LTC is provided in personal care homes and assisted living facilities, where the care is primarily unskilled, at a median cost of $45,000 per year.
LTC is provided in adult day care settings, where the median cost is about $20,000 per year.
LTC is provided in nursing facilities, where the median cost is over $100,000 a year for a semi-private room, and over $120,000 a year for a private room.
Some more facts about Long Term Care:
 65 percent of people over 65 will need LTC services at some point in their lifetimes
 1/3 of those over 65 may never need LTC support, but 20% will need LTC for 5 years or more
 If you are 61 years old today, when you are 79 years old, the cost of long term care will likely be over $200,000 per year for nursing facility care, over $75,000 a year for assisted living, and over $100,000 per year for home care.
So, why is it important to consider LTC in your retirement planning? Because the cost of long term care is not well covered by government benefits. The cost of LTC can be financially devastating, wiping out a significant portion of a life time of savings, leaving the spouse with inadequate funds to live on, and leaving sometimes little to nothing to pass on to heirs.
Estate Planning An important part of successful retirement planning is your estate planning – executing well thought out financial powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney and living wills, and sometimes trusts – so that you have the tools to manage your affairs during your lifetime, and executing Wills, and sometimes Trusts and other forms of shared ownership, to assure that your estate is passed on to your heirs according to your wishes when you die.
This kind of planning is best done utilizing the input from a team of advisors, including an elder law attorney, your financial advisor and your accountant. Considering how long term care costs can impact your lifestyle and quality of life, as well as the impact it can have on your spouse and children, is an essential part of any estate plan.

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