(Jonah Light Photography)

Here is the third installment in coverage of LifeHealthPro.com’s talk with Marion Somers, Ph.D., a geriatric care manager and author of the book, “Elder Care Made Easier: Doctor Marion’s 10 Steps to Help You Care for an Aging Loved One.”

Her mission is to get more people seniors, their families and even financial planners on the LTCI bandwagon. This summer, she crisscrossed the country in 1960s-era converted Greyhound bus on behalf of the 3in4 Need More Campaign to raise awareness of long-term care insurance, speaking to local media and even stopping by the GOP straw poll in Iowa to question Republican candidates for president about elder care issues.

In this installment, she talks about how LTCI fits into an overall retirement plan and why people should know about it.

SMA: How does LTCI fit into an overall retirement plan?

Somers: I think it has to be right there with a will, health-care proxy, durable power of attorney, having a trust. Our financial planners don’t understand it. I’ve spoken to financial planners and I’m taken aback at their ignorance. They don’t bring it up with their clients, or let people know about the reverse mortgage.

Financial advisors need to be trained that this is a very viable [product] for their clients. I feel they are not doing their job sufficiently if they are not at least advising people that this is an option and the earlier you get involved with this option the longer your protection period is going to be.

SMA: Why don’t many financial planners know about it?

Somers: I think it’s an industry lack of disseminating the information sufficiently. I’ve had LTCI for 12 years now. As soon as I found about it, I thought, my God, how did I not know about this? I don’t sell LTCI, but I drumbeat it because I feel passionately that it is a must.

People at least have to know about it. When they know about it through education, then at least they have the option of making the choice of going that route or not. But if they don’t even know the product exists, then they are in ignorance.

SMA: There are many different LTCI products, LTCI with annuities, hybrids, etc.

Somers: It can get very complicated. But if people don’t even know to seek out the information, then they are in total ignorance. There is an infinite variety of products out there and you can get lost in the maze. But [people need the] basic information that there is a product out there that can help.

Guaranteed, the government is not going to be there when you hit any of these needs. Whatever we have now in the way of resources from the government are going to be skimmed down. Nursing homes are being cut 11% in what they are getting. That’s in 2012. They are going to be financially feeling that and that’s only the beginning of the cutbacks.

That’s why I take these trips. I’ve done nine weeks across the country. I spoke to the politicians in Iowa, the Republicans, and the candidates don’t have any answers for my questions.

These are the people that are running for president. They are not aware of the total impact of what is going to happen to our country. How do we deal with the silver tsunami that is heading this way, not only here, but around the world?