Who’s Most at Risk of Needing Long-Term Care?

Most people associate the need for long-term care services with being very elderly. But people can develop a need for this type of care at any age, due to a sudden accident or a progressive illness. There are, however, certain risk factors that make it more likely certain people will need long-term care. Here are a few of the most at-risk groups of people.

The elderly. Age is the single most prevalent risk factor. Statistics show that of people aged 85 or older, approximately one quarter are living in nursing homes today. And while disability can happen at any age, the chances go up drastically with age. Approximately 8% of people aged 40-50 have a disability; about 69% of those age 90 or above are disabled. While people can require long-term care at any age, it’s much more likely to happen the older you get.

Gender. While both men and women need long-term care, statistics show that women tend to live longer than men—by about five years on average—and are more likely to live at home when their husbands die. In addition, women are more likely to experience chronic diseases that inhibit mobility. These diseases include osteoporosis and arthritis. Men tend to suffer more from acute illnesses and injuries, making their deaths more sudden.

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Health. People with diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic illnesses are more likely to need long-term care as they get older, even if these health issues are manageable when they are younger.

Family history. Family history could give you a peek into the future of which illnesses you may be at risk for; people with chronic disease in the family face additional risk of needing long-term care themselves.

Health habits. Even without any illness or a history of chronic disease in the family, those with less than ideal exercise and diet habits are at added risk of being in poor health as they age—and needing long-term care.

Family connections. Those who live by themselves, who don’t live near any family members, or who don’t have strong family connections are more likely to need long-term care. This is because these people are less likely to have family members who are willing or able to take care of them if they face chronic illness.

Statistically speaking, a large percentage of people in the United States will need long-term care at some point in their lives. Those with chronic illness themselves or those who have it in the family, those with unhealthy lifestyles, older people, and those who live on their own or are without strong family ties are most at risk. But everyone should be aware of the risks—and consider long-term care insurance.

Want to learn more about long-term care insurance? Check out our LTC continuing education courses.

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