Do you need to consider long-term care planning for yourself or your parents? According to a new study, there is a wide disconnect between how many people think they will need long term care versus how many will actually need it. As of now, only 46 percent of people across the country think they will need some form of care, whereas the actual percentage needing it is around 70 percent. Additionally, people mistakenly believe they won’t need any care until they are 79, but the reality is that they will more likely be 73. This means that even those who think they might need care are not adequately prepared when the time comes.

Pittsburgh residents might also be surprised to learn that there is a huge misconception about what long term care will cost them. While people assume the cost per year is $25,350, the actual number is nearly double this figure – more than $47,000. Even this amount is a low estimate for assisted living. A semi-private room in a nursing home might cost more than $80,000 per year, while a private room could cost almost $100,000.

Do these numbers make you want to consider long-term care planning? It might be even more surprising to learn that 64 percent of Americans have not saved for long-term care. Those who are saving intend to save around $650 a month, which wouldn’t come close to covering the costs of long-term care. Sixty-seven percent of people are not able to contribute to their parents’ long-term care, whereas 48 percent hadn’t expected to put their loved ones into some form of long-term care. With only 33 percent of people having these important conversations with their loved ones, it is no surprise that not only are Americans not planning for their future care needs, they are also not cognizant of their parents’ needs.

Discussing and planning for long-term care is an essential step people should take sooner rather than later and should keep revisiting when important life changes take place. Without long-term care planning and with Pennsylvania’s filial support laws in place, financing nursing home care could end up costing a person everything.