Have you ever been called a “control freak”?
Many of us are familiar with the term; you may have even been called it yourself! (I know I have.) It is almost universally perceived as negative, or even an insult. However, how often have you really sat down and thought about it? Many of us are probably more of a control freak than we would like to admit – after all, we usually take the control that we have over our lives for granted. You usually have control over where you go, what you do, and whom you do it with. If you’re lucky, you are accustomed to controlling the money you spend, and choosing what you spend it on, and where. You also have control over your daily routines – when and how you tackle household chores and in what order, what leisure activities and hobbies you enjoy, etc. If you stop and think about it, most of us exercise a remarkable amount of control over our daily lives without a second thought. We often take our freedoms, and our ability to choose, for granted.
A long-term care (LTC) event can erase that control in the blink of an eye. And it can happen to anyone, at any time. According to the AALTCI, in 2000, an estimated 10 million Americans needed LTC. Most of them (63%) were elderly, but the remaining 37% were ages 64 and younger. And the number of individuals using paid LTC services in any setting (in home care, residential care such as assisted living, skilled nursing facilities, etc) is estimated to more than double by 2050, up to approximately 27 million people.
How important is it for your clients to maintain control of their lives after an LTC event? Have they given any thought to control over where their care may be provided – wouldn’t they rather be at home, as opposed to in a facility? How about having control over their caregivers? Many people (approximately 78%) in this situation turn to their children and other loved ones to provide care for them. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the freedom to let your children provide care for you because they WANT to, rather than because they NEED to? And how about if your clients intend to utilize a facility, such as assisted living? Conditions in LTC facilities can vary widely, but for those who don’t plan ahead, the change will most likely be an adjustment from their current standard of living, regardless of how nice the facility is. Many facilities adhere to strict schedules for virtually all aspects of daily life – for meals, for medication, for exercise, for personal time – despite whether it’s convenient for your clients or not. Hardly the definition of control.
When an LTC event occurs, those without coverage face a difficult choice; which asset do they liquidate first to pay for care? Sure, the government offers some LTC benefits in the form of Medicare and Medicaid, but government benefits seem to come with a lot of strings attached, and oftentimes require certain criteria to be met for your clients to qualify, regardless of your situation. Again, that hardly fits the definition of control – so what are your clients to do?
Preparing for this LTC need is as simple as investigating the variety of coverage options available, and luckily, many of these options come attached to the products you already promote. A wide assortment of LTC options are possible; from stand-alone traditional LTC policies, to linked annuity and life/LTC hybrid products, to permanent life insurance products offering “true” LTC or chronic illness riders. No matter what products you traditionally recommend, the odds are good that there are some variations with LTC or chronic illness coverage available. No matter which product your clients are purchasing, an LTC or chronic illness component can be a truly priceless addition – after all, protecting your client’s assets equates to protecting your client’s control in the future – not to mention their peace of mind today.
When it comes to your clients’ LTC needs… there just may be no higher praise than being called a “control freak”.
Statistics provided by https://caregiver.org/selected-long-term-care-statistics