Usually the story goes like this:
Grandma and Grandpa are doing ok. Then they're starting to lose a step. Then Grandpa gets sick and needs home healthcare. Then Grandpa needs to go stay in a nursing home for a few years until he passes away. Grandma lives 10 or 15 more years with no money because it all got spent on Grandpa's care. Those few years of home health care and nursing home stays can rack up a bill of easily $150,000 on the low end, which can do great damage to a nest egg. This is where Long Term Care insurance comes in.
According to the American Association of Home and Services for the Aging, 69% of people will need some form of LTC after age 65 and the average cost of a nursing home in the U.S. is somewhere around $80,000 a year. Buying long term care when you're 60 years old makes the most sense, since statistically speaking it's very unlikely that it's necessary before then.
What about letting the government provide for long term care? Medicaid is a government assistance program for people with no money, so if LTC insurance is unaffordable that may be the only viable option. However, take care not to try to hide assets to qualify for Medicaid, because that's fraud and the government will try to get their money back. Also, it's probably not a great idea to count on the government to provide for anything when the the deficit is as huge as it is.
When planning for retirement make sure to cover the topic of long term care insurance. It can cost around 500 to 8,000 dollars a year depending on your age and health and other factors.