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.