Michelle Singletary's Oct. 7 Color of Money column, "Long-Term Care Still A Long Way Off," is useful, but many issues related to long-term care need to be clarified and discussed.
There is general recognition that the number of elderly is increasing and the disabilities and need for caregiver support increases with increasing age. Although informal caregivers, including family and friends, provide a major share of the care, the increasing nuclear families decreases their availability.
Also, quality of life and use of technology at the end of life need to be discussed and a mechanism for financing needs to be established. As the cost, both human and economic, of long-term care will be increasing, the care needs and how those needs should be financed have to be discussed.
Long-term care insurance is problematic because those who need it cannot afford the premiums, and those who can afford the premiums do not need it.
The values and goals of each individual could be different, but a discussion of these issues could help facilitate the process.
LAKSHMI P. CHELLURI MD, MPH
First Published October 18, 2013 8:00 PM