At a certain age, planning for future care is a critical consideration for preserving your health and finances. If you are 65 years old, what is the chance of you needing long-term services and support? The answer depends on several factors. The statistics do show planning for future care is important before the need arises.

According to a 2019 study by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, over a lifetime, the study determined that about 70% of older adults will need help from caregivers or paid aides in their own homes or long-term care facility at some point in their lives. However, this study is slightly deceptive because the study did not distinguish between short-term rehabilitation stays and 24/7 care.

A recent study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College attempted to determine what is the chance of a 65-year-old needing significant care in the future. These are the findings:

· 17% of retirees will need no long-term care
· 24% will develop severe needs, requiring 24/7 care for more than three years
· 22% will have minimal needs
· 37% will have moderate needs – recovery from a heart attack, moderate stroke, etc.

Also, the chances of needing significant care may depend on several additional factors:

· Education: college-educated vs. high school diploma
· Ethnicity: Black and Hispanic seniors are more likely to develop moderate or severe health needs
· Marital status: married people are less likely to need extensive care

Additionally, only 50% of Americans will be able to maintain their standard of living after they stop working. What is clear based upon this study is that illness, dependence, and needing help with personal care are the greatest financial risks people face as they age. Isn’t this something insurance is designed to correct? However, very few people have long-term care insurance due to the expense and eligibility.

Yet, retirees may overestimate their actual need for care, instead lowering their quality of life. It should be a careful balance between planning for risks and future care and living your life to its fullest. Planning ahead can help you manage risks while properly securing your finances.