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They do not need a bath every day my friend Debbie informed me shortly after we moved to Deutschland with two young children in tow. She referred me to a bit of German wisdom about bathing frequency suggesting that babies and young children need to be thrown in the tub only once or twice a week. My American husband known to shower twice a day was horrified but I kowtowed to peer pressure and hid the bubble bath. The water bills plummeted no one got sick or lice and my youngest who had suffered from a bit of eczema stopped developing her itchy rash. Recently Sweden King Carl XVI Gustaf urged us to take showers instead of baths for water conservation reasons. While it is unclear which uses more water (so much depends on water pressure) one thing is certain: We would save even more if we just hung up the towel. Why not just turn off the tap? Americans while perhaps the cleanest are the worst offenders. When it comes to water consumption some of us are greedier than others. Americans while perhaps the cleanest are the worst offenders. Data from 2011 according to Statistica shows the U.S. using 1630 cubic meters per capita of water followed by Estonia at 1400 New Zealand at 1190 and Canada at 1130. Germany by contrast used just 400 cubic meters and Great Britain an eye-watering 140. No doubt Americans are excessive. Unless covered in mud there no reason to bathe ourselves or our children every day. Dr. Marie Jhin a dermatologist in San Francisco points to American Academy of Dermatology guidelines and notes that most kids under the age of 11 need to bathe just once or twice a week or when they get muddy or swim in public pools or lakes. Babies probably only need to bathe a similar amount even less she says noting that parents should not mess with infants natural skin oils by exfoliating them too much. As they hit puberty though send them to the showers! Teens get a bit oilier and tend to play more sports so once a day is a good guideline she says. But folks in their 20s to 50s can cut back to every other day and even less in their golden years because elderly skin tends to dry out. But people really are used to taking showers every day Jhin says and herein lies the problem: habit. To gradually introduce healthier daily routines both for the environment and our skin she recommends shorter showers and not oversoaping. Using less shower gel and shampoo will help cut down on time under the hose. My own kids are growing with my eldest approaching those oilier teenage years. I will have to see whether I can get her to shower more while getting my husband to shower less a surefire way to cause quite a stink. If you eat right and exercise (most of the time) and inherit healthy genes you may enjoy a long and healthy retirement with no healthcare expenses other than those incurred for annual check-ups and general preventative care. On the other hand if you are prone to illness your medical expenses could take a big bite out of your retirement savings and adversely affect the financial security of your retirement. Even if you inherit healthy genes and live a healthy lifestyle you may not want to roll the dice on what your health status will be during your retirement as the cost of long-term care could wipe out your savings. Even if you are doing your best to look after your health, you should not fail to prepare for the worst. Read on to learn how you can get started. What is long-term care? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines long-term care as a variety of services that include medical and non-medical care to people who have a chronic illness or disability. Long-term care helps meet health or personal needs. Most long-term care is to assist people with support services such as activities of daily living like dressing bathing and using the bathroom. It goes on to explain that long-term care can be provided at home in the community in assisted living or in nursing homes. Do not think you will need long term care? Statistics from the Department of Health and Human Services suggest otherwise. They state that by 2020 12 million older Americans will need long-term care. Individuals who reach age 65 have a 40% chance of entering a nursing home and about 10% of the people who enter a nursing home will stay there for at least five years. Life expectancies have increased if your ancestors lived long and healthy lives it could mean that you are likely to live even longer. This increases the likelihood that you will need long-term care as the need for it increases the longer you live past age 65. Will you be able to afford long-term care? The national average cost for a nursing home runs into the thousands of dollars per month. This could be more or less depending on the state in which you live. With the average length of stay for current residents in nursing homes being 892 days and 272 days for discharged residents the total costs can add up to a significant amount. Further many patients require post-acute institutional skilled or custodial care which could add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the bill. You may think Medicare and Medicaid will pay for your long-term care but you must meet eligibility requirements for Medicaid. In order to qualify you must have virtually no assets. Furthermore there is a cap on the amount covered and Medicare does not cover all expenses for medical care and long-term care. Figure 1 shows the amounts you would be required to pay.