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Long-term care a growing problem

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There are major challenges for the aging population when it comes to health care, demonstrating what could possibly put some in danger of losing their long-term disability insurance.

A new report from Alzheimer's Disease International states that while 101 million people are 60 and older require increased care, this number is due to increase to 277 million by the middle of the 21st century.

The report went on to state that much of the future efforts in long-term care will focus on elderly patients with dementia, which will in turn pose more health care challenges to what is already a taxed system.

"People with dementia have special needs. Compared with other long-term care users they need more personal care, more hours of care, and more supervision, all of which is associated with greater strain on caregivers and higher costs," stated an expert associated with the Alzheimer's organization.

The report goes on to say that caregivers are tasked with supporting 13% of the 60 and over age group worldwide, with 2010 monetary costs reaching $604 billion, or one percent of the worldwide Gross Domestic Product.

"If dementia care were a country," the report suggests, "it would rank between Turkey and Indonesia and be the world's 18th largest economy."

The report further states that those in high income brackets make up for 80% of the costs. Meanwhile, those in lower income families, particularly in less developed countries, are said to obtain their care from family members.

Even so, the report remains adamant in stating that "living well with dementia is an attainable goal, and that maintaining or enhancing quality of life is the ultimate objective."

Measurement of the patients' care, as well as ongoing monitoring of care quality, are some of the improvements the report calls for. This includes both at-home care, as well as in-care facilities. Additionally, the report encourages better support coordination for patients suffering from dementia.

"Undervaluing of caregivers impacts negatively on the quality of care," the report states. "Governments and the societies that they represent have no excuse if they find themselves inadequately prepared," the authors noted.

Frightening as they are, reports like these need to be paid close attention to, particularly when one is in need of long-term care insurance.

Source: The Los Angeles Times, "Alzheimer's disease report focuses on long-term care challenge" Eryn Brown, Sep. 20, 2013

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