When Minnesota’s State Sen. died in December 2001, his widow had more to deal with than her grief.

“He didn’t have a will, he didn’t have a trust, he didn’t
have anything set up,” said Yvonne Prettner Solon, who followed her husband to
serve the western part of Duluth in the state Senate and now is Minnesota’s
lieutenant governor, states the Deluth News
Tribune.

Prettner Solon vowed to not leave her children in the
same situation. Within three months, she had set up a trust and purchased
long-term-care insurance, she said in an interview on Thursday.

Now in her official capacity, she’s urging Minnesota’s
baby boomers to take similar steps.

Prettner Solon is spearheading the state’s “Own Your
Future Minnesota” campaign, using everything from the U.S. mail to a website to
urge residents to plan ahead for their long-term-care needs.

Most of us will experience those needs: The evidence
shows that 70 percent of people who reach the age of 65 will need long-term
care, Prettner Solon said, citing the National Clearing House for Long-Term
Care Information.

That’s a human problem, but it’s also a problem for
federal and state governments, she said, because of the high cost of long-term
care. The average annual cost for nursing-home care in Minnesota is $76,650 for
a semi-private room, according to the Genworth 2012 Cost of Care Survey.
Medicare covers only a short-term stay in a nursing home. For those lacking
some sort of long-term-care payment plan, the costs can quickly bankrupt them.
They lose their savings, their children lose their inheritance and the state
takes over their cost of care through Medicaid.

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