Newsflash: Death is not popular–neither is long-term care

Not surprisingly, physicians and scientists who work with terminal cancer patients and others nearing death have a hard time finding funding to conduct research. The obstacles to creating regular placebo studies are significant: you don’t have much time because the patients don’t live long enough; you can’t deny a dying person something that would help (to make the control group) because it wouldn’t be ethical; you can’t find many sources for funding because nobody wants to fund dying research–curing diseases is much more attractive.

Now comes the federal government offering long-term care insurance as an employee benefit. And guess what? It’s not very popular either. The article talks about how many decisions have to be made about where and how you’d be satisfied with long-term care, but the truth is, most people just don’t want to face the idea of their prolonged enfeeblement or that of someone they love.

Like buying a burial plot and/or funeral service ahead of time–it probably doesn’t spark the urge to pull out your wallet. With regular life insurance, we at least know for sure it’s going to happen some day, but in the long-term care arena, we battle with the superstition that just by buying it, we might be inviting it to happen.

But if the federal government leads the way on this, maybe more of us can be persuaded to think that far ahead, give up some spendable cash today and invest in this potential protection for ourselves and our families. It’ll depend in part on how happy the federal employees are with their new benefit.