So What About Those Numbers?

Probabilities are fun in the abstract, but not when it comes down to you or me.  Having said that, statistics are certainly useful in quantifying a risk.  But having said that, the risks associated with guessing wrong on the need for long-term care are pretty significant.  Pick a number:

31%—individuals who will not need long-term care, period.

29%—those among us who will need care for 2 years or less.

20%—individuals who will need care for 2 to 5 years.

20%—those will need care for 5 or more years.

The point isn’t to suggest that you or I will fall within a particular group.  The numbers simply provide one perspective on the experience of a large population reaching a common retirement age, 65. 

3 years—the same research source also noted that “[a]bout two-thirds of those over 65 will need some long-term care in their lives, and they will require assistance for an average of 3 years.”  The Role of Private Insurance in Financing Long-Term Care, September 2007, Number 7-13, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.