Every Canadian is guaranteed health care under the Canada Health Act, however most services required for long term care are excluded by provincial health care plans (eg. OHIP).
These are some facts that highlight the need for Canadians to plan for long term care:
- 74% of Canadians admit they have no financial plan to pay for long term care if they need it
- More than one third of Canadians over the age of 45 give care to an elderly person with a health problem
- 80% of the care to the elderly is provided by spouses, children and friends
- 22% of caregivers have to reduce their working hours, take early retirement or quit their job
- 4% of caregivers have to draw on their savings to survive
- More than a third of caregivers assume additional expenses
- Canadians are not only living longer, but are likely to experience a decline in quality of life due to chronic disease, particularly during the last 6 to 8 years of life
In the best of times nothing is more important to individuals than preserving financial independence, dignity and control, in the worst of times these become fundamentally important.
Have you seen loved ones deal with the challenges of chronic illnesses? What if it happened to you? How will you be cared for? Will you have enough savings or income to cover the cost of care? Do you have a will and power of attorney for property and personal care?
This is why planning for your financial future, especially if your health becomes chronic, is not something to be taken lightly, and at a minimum, you should take the following steps:
Make a will and power of attorney, or ensure that they are updated if you already them in place (consult your legal professional)
Discuss the “what if” with family – after all the “what if” can and will affect your family
Determine if your savings and investments will be adequate to cover the cost of long term care and maintain your lifestyle, or will they be depleted (consult your financial advisor)
Inquire of your financial advisor if your Life Insurance or Critical Illness Insurance may be converted to finance long term care, or consider purchasing long term care insurance to protect your savings and maintain financial independence, dignity and control
Aging and the inherent challenges are realities of life that you may not want to think about, and whilst you can’t predict the future, planning for it will give you the options that can make all the difference.
Planning for the future is all about maintaining the lifestyle you want, don’t leave it to chance.
Leger Marketing Poll on behalf of CLHIA, June 2012
Statistics Canada, Informal caregiving for seniors, Sep 2012
Canadian Institute for Health Information, supporting Informal Caregivers – The Heart of Home Care Aug 2010