How long you live in retirement is one unknown. Another significant unknown is your health as you age.

While you may not need medical care, you may need long-term care (“LTC”). This type of care begins when one experiences deterioration of physical and/or mental health.

It’s when you can no longer perform self-care functions. These functions are called activities of daily living (“ADL”). They include bathing, dressing, eating, mobility, personal hygiene, and toilet hygiene.

LTC expenses are often overlooked when planning for retirement. Unfortunately, this type of care can deplete your savings as you age.

LTC is not covered by Medicare unless you need skilled services or rehabilitative care. Most LTC is described as custodial care.

According to the Administration of Aging, 70 percent of those aged 65 and older will need some type of LTC in their lives. When it’s needed, the average length of time is 2.2 years for men and 3.7 years for women.

LTC includes home care (which can average $4,195 per month), adult day care (averages $1,560 per month) and nursing home care (private rooms cost $8,365 per month).

The cost will vary depending on the quality of the facility and where you live. These cost estimates are from the Genworth 2018 Cost of Care Survey.

Most people fund the cost for LTC privately. They rely on family members to pay for care or to provide care.

This action is typically seen with married couples. The healthier spouse takes care of the spouse with deteriorating health.

Some people fund the cost through LTC insurance. However, most policies become effective only if you cannot perform more than two of your ADLs.

Many insurance companies no longer offer pure LTC policies. As an alternative, they offer hybrid solutions.

What can you do?

As you develop your retirement plan, include how you will pay for LTC. Discuss with your spouse and other family members how they would recognize deterioration in your physical and mental health as you age.

But more importantly, take action now to live healthier. Be aware of the food you eat and your activity level. Improve your strength and flexibility to minimize falls as you age. Start having discussions now to have time to develop a plan and tweak it as you continue to enjoy life.


Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, RICP®, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing spending plans, comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”