Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Life Expectancy Calculators and Long Term Care

Lifespan calculation tools can be useful for long term care planning in different ways. When doing retirement planning, for example, knowing how long you and your spouse might live is very useful information to have. Should one plan for 10 years or 30 years of life after retirement? The financial requirements are dramatically different. What about expected lifespan differences for men vs. women or Hispanic-Americans vs. Asian-Americans? How about if your family has a history of heart disease?
There are two types of life expectancy calculators; those that use statistical data and those that use personal data. Statistical calculators look at the average life expectancy for other individuals with similar demographics in order to project one’s lifetime. Personal life expectancy calculators input real data usually from medical diagnostic tests to make life expectancy projections.
Statistical calculators may have margins of error in years and therefore are best used in support of long term planning decisions like insurance or annuity purchases. Personal life span calculators can be accurate within a few months and are best used for shorter term life care decisions, such as whether to keep a loved one at home or in a skilled nursing or assisted living community. Another useful application for personal lifespan calculators is in support of financial decisions such as whether or not to take a reverse mortgage to pay for care.
This website offers links to a variety of different life expectancy calculators.