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Monday, October 4, 2010

Long Term Care Planning: What Is It and Why Should I Care?

I have a treat for you today - a guest blog by Karen Henderson, Hon. B.A., CSA, SM, who is the founder and CEO of Long Term Care Planning Network. Check out Karen's informative article below:

Long Term Care Planning: What Is It and Why Should I Care?
By Karen Henderson
Founder and CEO - Long Term Care Planning Network

We all take delight in planning for vacations and holiday celebrations but when it comes to planning for old age, we literally run the other way. Aging and death only happen to other people, and therefore we don’t need to talk about it – at least not yet. Why is this?

  • Canadians have an attitude of entitlement; I am a taxpayer and therefore the government is responsible for caring for me in my old age
  • It won’t happen to me
  • My spouse will look after me
  • The kids will look after me

The reasons we should care about aging are obvious:

  • The first wave of Canada’s 10 million boomers started turning 60 in January 2006
  • 600+ people turn 65 every day
  • By 2038, over 1,125,200,000 Canadians will have Alzheimer Disease or a related dementia unless a cure is found before then. Almost 25 per cent of Canadians now have someone with Alzheimer Disease in their family.

The September dementia series in the Globe and Mail makes it abundantly clear that we all need to plan for old age – and not just financially.  We need to understand the health care system where we live, plan where we wish to age and live out our lives, and communicate our wishes to family members.

The bottom line: Long term care planning needs to be a part of every financial and/or retirement plan written today.

Here’s how to begin:

Step one: Understand and accept the need to plan

Step two: Understand the health care system and care settings and services where you plan to live as you age

Step three: Know whom you can count on for care and support, both from your family and from health care professionals

Step four: Talk with your family about what you want – hold a family meeting. Understand your family history and what chronic conditions you have or may face

Step five: Establish clear legal directions. Complete a will, Powers of Attorney and make copies available to those who need them

Set six: Gather all critical personal, health, legal and financial information and store it in one place for easy access

Step seven: Make a care plan that covers the ‘what ifs’

Step eight: Communicate the plan to your family and update it every year

Creating a care plan will take time and effort, but once it is completed, you will have accomplished two very important goals:

1. You will have added the missing piece to your financial/retirement plan
2. You will have removed a huge burden from your family; over time you all will be thankful that you took the initiative to plan ahead

As the saying goes: Just do it!


·        Long Term Care Planning Network

·        Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on Canadian Society  Alzheimer Society of Canada 2110

·        Dementia: Confronting the Crisis: The Globe and Mail September 2010

Karen Henderson, a caregiver for her father for 14 years, is the Founder/CEO the Long Term Care Planning Network, Canada’s only national resource centre for aging and long term care. She is a well-known family consultant, speaker, writer, media commentator, publisher and educator who has been published in leading geriatric journals in Canada. Karen works with a variety of Canada’s leading corporations, as well as financial and insurance companies to help educate Canadians about the implications of long term care planning on all aspects of life.

She is the author of several unique resources to guide Canadians through long term
care planning. Visit for more information.

Karen’s contact information:


  1. Planning allows you to discover your own path and choose the way you would like things to run. Maybe you would rather have in home long term care, where you could still stay at home, but get the care you need. Maybe a nursing home or other long term care facility would be more suitable for you, planning now allows you to check out online long term care insurance quotes and make your decisions accordingly.

    1. I agree that planning is the key to maintaining some control over what happens to you in the future. People who don't plan at all end up doing what others believe best for them, whether they like it or not.



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