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Long Term Care Planning: What Is It and Why Should I Care?

By Karen Henderson

We all take delight in planning for vacations and holiday celebrations but when it comes to planning for old age, we literally run the other way. Aging and death only happen to other people, and therefore we don’t need to talk about it – at least not yet. Why is this?

  • Canadians have an attitude of entitlement; I am a taxpayer and therefore the government is responsible for caring for me in my old age
  • It won’t happen to me
  • My spouse will look after me
  • The kids will look after me
  • The reasons we should care about aging and care planning are obvious:

    • The first wave of Canada’s 10 million boomers started turning 60 in January 2006
    • 40 per cent of those needing long term care are of working age
    • The 85+ age group is the second fastest growing in Canada
    • 600+ people turn 65 every day
    • By 2031, over 750,000 Canadians will have Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia unless a cure is found before then. Almost 25 per cent of Canadians now have someone with Alzheimer’s disease in their family. 

    The bottom line: Long term care planning needs to be a part of every financial and/or retirement plan written today.
    Some of the things you need to consider/understand:

    • How the healthcare system works where you live
    • The importance of talking to family and the family meeting
    • Discussing the ‘what if’s’
    • Knowing who you can count on
    • Clear legal direction
    • The role of risk management

    Creating a care plan will take time and effort, but once it is completed, you will have accomplished two very important goals:
    1. You will have added the missing piece to your financial/retirement plan
    2. You will have removed a huge burden from your family; over time you all will be thankful that you took the initiative to plan ahead

    As the saying goes: Just do it!

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