Long term care insurance provides you with the support and financial resources necessary to cover the out-of-pocket expenses for care at home or in a facility, when you can no longer care for yourself.

Fortunately, most of these changes aren't dramatically different from one day to the next - it's more of a gradual process. In fact, you will likely pass through 5 stages of care, to some degree, in your retirement.

The 5 stages of care:

  • Stage 1: Independence

  • In stage 1, your independence is still intact:
  • You are self-sufficient and able to manage chronic health problems and disabilities without the help of others.
  • There's no immediate impact on your family.

  • Stage 2: Interdependence
  • In stage 2, independence quickly turns to interdependence:
    Some health problems begin interfering with daily living, making some functional tasks painful or more difficult.
  • Family members begin helping out more with cooking, house cleaning, shopping and banking, but formal care is not yet in place.
  • Families may begin considering seniors' residences designed for independent living, which feature 24-hour security, suites, meal plans, cleaning services and laundry.

  • Stage 3: Supportive living
  • In stage 3, you're starting to become more dependent on others:
  • You are more dependent on others for practical chores like meal preparation, cleaning, shopping and transportation, and may need some limited direct help or stand-by assistance with personal-care items such as dressing, bathing and grooming.
  • Both family support and some formal care are in place, and may include: home care services for help with meal preparation and dressing, adult day care centers, assisted living facilities or retirement residences.
  • Whatever the care, the funding is all on you; long-term care services are not part of the Canada Health Act and government-subsidized care is very limited.

  • Stage 4: Crisis management
  • In stage 4, you're dependent on others, but home care may still be an option:
  • You are dependent on others for most of your care due to multiple health and personal care needs.
  • Family members start to burn out at this stage from the demands of caregiving.
  • Formal home care may be insufficient or too expensive.

  • Stage 5: Dependence
  • In stage 5, your extensive care needs are being met in a long-term care facility:
  • Admittance to a long-term care facility as skilled nursing care and extensive personal care are needed.
  • Family members are exhausted and can no longer meet the overwhelming care requirements - safety is an issue without 24-hour care

  • Long Term Care Coverage gives you the financial security to:
  • Protect your retirement savings and income
  • Preserve an inheritance for your loved ones
  • Eliminate the burden placed on your family caused by long term care needs

  • Long Term Care benefits are initiated if you require substantial assistance with two of the six Activities of Daily Living (ADL) or substantial supervision because of cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer's disease.

    The six Activities of Daily Living are:

  • Bathing

  • You always need help from someone to get in and out of the bathtub and this person would also need to bathe you because you're not able to on your own, even with the use of an assistive device like a handheld showerhead or bath brush.

  • Eating

  • You always require assistance from someone to get food into your body, either via your mouth or a feeding tube. Being unable to prepare or cook meals is not the same as needing assistance with eating.

  • Dressing

  • You always need help from someone to get your clothes on and off because you're not able to on your own, even with the use of an assistive device like a buttonhook. If reasonable alterations or changes in the clothing you usually wear would enable you to dress without help from another person, you're not yet able to claim.

  • Toileting

  • You always need help from someone to get on and off the toilet because you're not able to on your own, even with the use of an assistive device like a grab bar, and to take care of any related hygiene because you're not able to on our own.

  • Transferring

  • You always need help from someone to move in and out of your bed or a chair because you're not able to on your own, even with the use of an assistive device like a cane or walker.

  • Maintaining continence

  • You are unable to control either your bowel or bladder functions and always need help from someone to take care of any related hygiene when there is an accident, including caring for a catheter or colostomy bag.

    For more information, please visit the
    My Dignity Simplified Long Term Care Insurance page.

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