Consumers may not realize that Medicare does not cover long-term care, and paying for such care themselves can drain assets quickly, writes Judy Clinco of Catalina In-home Services. Long-term-care insurance provides an important safety net, as data from the Department of Health and Human Services indicate that 40% of seniors will stay in a nursing home at some point in their lives, Clinco writes. "True, family members can -- and often do -- provide this care," she writes. "But the work is often exhausting physically and emotionally and it can require the family caregiver to put his or her own life on hold."

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