Aging? Sorry, I can’t afford to get old.

Just as my mother was settling in for a luxurious 4-week stay at Camp Senior (a lovely but expensive assisted living facility), we received a letter in the mail from Governor Rendell urging us to “Own Your Future” and plan for long-term living by ordering a handy packet of information or checking it out online.

I’m doing both, but stopped for a bit last night to browse the Web site. It’s the National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information ( and is chock-full of tidbits that will make you wish Dr. Kevorkian was your uncle. Really, the basic message I got was that I and most everyone else can’t afford to get old.

Consider the handy calculator that lets you plan how much money you’ll need to pay for long-term care. You plug in the state you plan to retire in and the monthly amount you can afford to put away now for long-term care. It spits back the cost of long-term care in your desired state, how much your monthly savings will add up to, and (in my case) your laughable shortfall. Turns out Pennsylvania was the most expensive state I checked (as I obsessively started plugging in different states to find cheaper options). Deep South seems the way to go (Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas) with “traditional” retirement states like Florida and Arizona more expensive. Forget about New England (which I guess PA falls into).

So, even if Mike and I put away $300 a month for the next 20 years for long-term care, we’ll only save up half of what we’ll need (roughly $350K instead of the $700K needed). (Oh, and I didn’t notice if that was per person or not!) The site also outlines other options like long-term care insurance (if you qualify) and such, including “Do you have friends or family who can help take care of you?” Hmmm, how ’bout it friends & family?

It was all quite overwhelming and extremely depressing. What a world we’ve created where we can keep people alive far longer than ever before but with no thought to how they’ll actually live.

Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born
at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen. 
                                                         ~ Mark Twain


  1. mel said,

    Monday, April 7, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    yikes. I need to check this site out for myself, but I’m not sure I can handle it right now. think I’ll sleep on it first, to work up my strength.

    thanks for the warning.

  2. WritingbyEar said,

    Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    I found it even more depressing that one of my small retirement accounts — amounting to less than $7,000 from a previous job that I can’t transfer anywhere — lost over $400 last quarter. So, saving $300 a month, losing $400 a quarter — how is this all supposed to work again? I’m thinking our mattress could use a little extra padding instead.

  3. Diane said,

    Friday, April 11, 2008 at 7:34 am

    I guess the question is how much is long term care insurance….and will it actually cover anything worthwhile? Maybe I shouldn’t bother donating the walker to the free clinic? Well, guess we’ll have to keep our day jobs…

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