Healthy Lifestyle Reduces Long-Term Care Costs

A healthy lifestyle goes a long way in delaying long-term care needs and reducing the overall cost throughout an individual's lifetime.

December 18, 2012

With the number of Americans aged 65 and older expected to reach 20% of the U.S. population by 2050 and long-term care premiums rising exponentially, exercise and diet is more important than ever at delaying the need for long-term care.

"As we age, we all start to slow down and are more prone to disease. It is the natural course of life. However, regular exercise and a balanced diet go a long way in preventing disease and promoting quality of life," says Frank N. Darras, America's top insurance lawyer.

Evidence indicates that exercising with goals in mind leads to better overall quality of life. Exercise also improves socialization and cognitive skills, reducing the risk of depression and improving memory and motor skills. Balance and flexibility training also reduces the risk of injuries and prevents falls.

"Falls are one of the most common causes of the need for long-term care. Doing yoga and tai-chi really help to slow the aging process and prevent injuries from occurring. This is important not only in improving your own quality of life, but also for delaying the need for long-term care. As costs rise in the long-term care industry and nursing homes become increasingly more expensive, staying healthy also has serious financial benefits," says Darras.

Despite diet and exercise, odds are it's still worth investing in a long-term care insurance policy. According to the Urban Institute, 1 in 7 people over the age of 65 need in-home care and nearly 40 percent of those, 85 and older need some form of care. An additional 1.6 million seniors live in nursing homes, with half being 85 or older.

"Chances are that most of us will need long-term care at some point in our lives. With the advances in medicine, people are living longer and spending more time on post-retirement budgets. Savings are great, but with the cost of long-term care currently topping $100,000 a year, personal savings will eventually be depleted. Long-term care policies pay for most of these necessary expenses and allow you to have peace of mind of receiving care where you want it," says Darras.

The combination of a healthy lifestyle, both physically and mentally, with the purchase of a long-term care policy is the best option to save money and prepare for an individual's long-term care needs later in life. Purchasing young and investing in inflation coverage also help to save money.

"A healthy lifestyle goes a long way in delaying long-term care needs and reducing the overall cost throughout an individual's lifetime. At the current price of $100,000 a year, suddenly putting down those French fries or going for a walk doesn't sound like a bad idea," says Darras.