Long Term Care Insurance Claims Likely For Arthritis Suffering Women Over Age 85

Two new reports should concern millions of aging women.  The first reports that women diagnosed with arthritis are twice as likely to use their long-term care insurance as men.  The second reveals that the lifetime prevalence of arthritis is 65.4% in individuals aged 85, occurring more commonly in women.

“Arthritis is one of the top reasons people need long term care as they age and no longer are able to perform normal daily functions,” explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for long term care insurance.  “We found that 10 percent of nursing home claimants receiving insurance benefits are women diagnosed with arthritis.”

A second study revealed that arthritis is strongly connected with age.   Researchers examined how the oldest individuals, those aged 85 years or older, are affected by the disease.  They looked at adults over the age of 85. 

The findings revealed that for any arthritis the lifetime prevalence was high, with 673 (65.4%) of the participants having arthritis, they also discovered that the disease was more common in women than men (69.1% vs 58.8%).

Osteoarthritis was more common in women than men (57.1% vs 42.5%). Osteoarthritis was most prevalent in the knee joint followed by the hip and hand. Several of those participating in the study identified the knee as the most painful joint, even though the foot, ankle and lower back received the highest pain score.

“The impact of arthritis on disability, health and long term care need is significant,” Slome notes.  “The economic burden of musculoskeletal disease in the oldest old is potentially huge and its management presents a major challenge to American families.”

According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance planning is especially important for women who are far more likely to need care as a result of living longer lives.  “Because of the need to medically qualify for long term care insurance women need to start planning well before reaching age 70,” Slome advises.  “The sweet spot is between ages 52 and 64 before Medicare kicks in and people take advantage of the free medical screenings the Medicare program offers.

Two free consumer guides on long term care planning can be accessed on the Association’s website at http://www.aaltci.org/long-term-care-insurance-costs/ and no sign-in or personal information is required to read the guides.

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