Long-Term Care

Make long-term care part of your retirement planning

When you started planning for retirement, did you think about long-term care? If not, this is the perfect time to start considering your long-term care needs. That's because there is a good chance you’ll require long-term care at some point during your retirement. 

What is long-term care? Long-term care is the assistance an individual needs when he or she can no longer care for him or herself and becomes functionally dependent. This means a person requires substantial assistance to perform two of the six activities of daily living. The six activities of daily living are: bathing, eating, dressing, toileting, transferring, and maintaining continence. Long-term care can also mean a person requires substantial supervision because of a cognitive impairment like Alzheimer's disease. 

How can you plan for long-term care? 
Not being able to care for yourself can have a significant impact on your quality of life. However, just a bit of planning today can give you more control later on, which means you can continue to live your life…your way. 

An important first step is to consider creating a power of attorney that allows a trusted person– like a son or daughter–to make decisions about your care if you are unable to do so yourself. Almost as important, however, is planning how you are going to pay for the services you’ll require if you can no longer care for yourself. Will your retirement income be enough to cover the additional costs of long-term care? 

We have included some examples of long-term care expenses in the chart below: 

Typical Home Service

British Columbia



Meal delivery (per meal)




In-home meal preparation (per hour)




Laundry/housecleaning (per hour)




Personal care (i.e. bathing/dressing) (per hour)




Companionship/supervision (per hour)




Skilled nursing (per hour)

$33.00 - $65.00

$29.45 - $69.00 

$25.00 - $70.00

Occupational therapy (per hour)





Source: Best in Care


A 2006 study quoted in SeniorJournal.com estimated the average annual cost of long-term care to be US$70,000 per year. And, the same article estimated that about 65% of the population has no long-term care plans.¹ Although these estimates come from the U.S., Canada’s figures are not considered to be widely different. 

Can you rely on the government to cover your long-term care expenses? 

While our government’s long-term care plans are fairly comprehensive, they are simply not meant to offer all the options available when you need to get the best care possible for your personal life circumstances. There are often limits on the amount of home care provided and, if you are only covered by government plans, the costs associated with care in a private facility will have to be paid for out of your own pocket. 

Do you want to rely on your family? 
Most people would love to have time and money required to help a family member through their time of need. Unfortunately, many individuals are simply unable to provide the time needed to care for a dependent relative due to their own personal and career responsibilities. And, even when time permits, they are not likely to be professionally trained or have the financial resources available to adequately care for someone requiring long-term care. 

Will your financial resources last? 
Even the most effective retirement planning can come up short if a person requires costly long-term care. As its name denotes, the costs of long-term care–be they from nurses, food, or companionship–can eat away a person’s retirement savings over the course of just a few years. 

The solution: Long-Term Care Insurance
What is long-term care insurance? 

Long-term care insurance is a simple, cost-effective solution designed to help you maintain your lifestyle and financial freedom by giving you the resources you need to remain independent, even in the face of a serious life challenge. 

At the same time, long-term care insurance gives your children an alternative to providing you with the care themselves. And, it protects your estate for your loved ones. 

But, most importantly, long-term care insurance gives you options, so you and the people you care about most can make the best-possible decisions about all your personal care needs. 

Make sure your retirement planning is for the long term. For more information on the long-term care insurance options available to you, please contact us.

1 Senior Journal, Annual Long-Term Care Costs Move Above $70,000 in 2006, Genworth Financial poll shows 65% have no long-term care plans, March 27, 2006, http://seniorjournal.com/NEWS/Money/6-03-27-AnnualLong-TermCare.htm. Source: Genworth Financial, Inc.