By 2050, 27 million Americans will need long-term care.

Based on that number, it's extremely likely your clients will be among them. But before you can sell LTC, you need to understand what it is. Let's take a quick look at what defines long-term care.

Defining Long-Term Care

Long-term care is defined as the support and care you need in order to perform the basic daily tasks of personal care. These tasks are defined and broken down into specific activities, called "Activities of Daily Living" or ADLs. They include:

  • Dressing
  • Bathing
  • Eating
  • Toileting
  • Moving about (i.e., from a bed to a chair)

All of these activities take place on a daily basis. There's also a secondary category of activities that are a part of long-term care, even though they may or may not happen on a daily basis. In addition to the basics of personal care, there are also tasks required to run a household. These include but aren't limited to:

  • Paying bills and managing money
  • Getting groceries
  • Meal preparation
  • Cleaning house
  • Managing any prescribed medications

If you need help performing two or more of the ADLs on that first list on a daily basis, you are a candidate for long-term care. As Baby Boomers age, the need for help in performing these kinds of activities is growing rapidly. In fact, there are almost 80 million Baby Boomers in the nation, according to the 2014 Genworth Survey of Long-Term Care. At least 70% of that Boomer generation (over age 65) will need some form of long-term care during their lives.

If you've ever thought long-term care isn't a necessity or is something that probably won't happen to you, think again.

In the year 2000, almost 10 million people in the U.S.
needed some form of long-term care.

How Long Will You Need Care?

Long-term care is different than the kind of temporary care you need while you're recovering from an illness or surgery. What's the difference? When you're recovered from that illness or surgery, you no longer have a need for care. If your need for care is permanent, that's the kind of long-term care we're talking about. It doesn't go away, which is why it's so important to plan for.

No one can pinpoint how long they'll need care, or if they'll need it at all. That's what makes it tricky to plan for, and a subject many clients want to avoid. "I won't need it," they'll say. But it's hard to argue with that 70% statistic. Is it worth ignoring a risk that has a 70% chance of happening? Of course not--especially when your client's entire retirement portfolio could be at stake.

It's a fact: 20% of today's 65-year-olds will need long-term care for more than 5 years. Among the 80% who need care for a lesser period of time, we have some national averages to work with. Currently, women need care for about 3.7 years and men need it for about 2.2 years, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. You can use these numbers as rough guidelines for your clients' plans.

Family health history also plays a role. Did your clients' parents and/or grandparents require long-term care? If so, for how long? At what age did those individuals pass away? Using all of these numbers together, you can create a plan that includes an estimated number of years a client needs to pay for care.

The risk of needing long-term care is either 0% (you'll never need it) or it's 100% (you'll need it). I call it the 'lottery you don't want to win.'"

Preparing for the Future

The first step in preparing for the future is talking about it. We can help you get that conversation started with your clients. We'll provide everything you need to learn about the carriers who offer LTC, which policies work for different clients' life situations, and how to request a quote. Ready to get started?

Click here to watch our long-term care webinar, then get all the sales tools you need, including:

For more help selling long-term care, call us at 800-823-4852. We can help with sales concepts, planning, illustrations, carrier selection, and more.