Americans Not Clear on True Costs of Providing Long Term Care

With an estimated 78 million baby boomers starting to turn 65, the group threatens to cripple the country’s financial and health care systems and significantly burden future generations according to a report from Volunteers of America.

Using data gathered by Lake Research and American Viewpoint, survey results show that 40% of respondents are worried about saving enough for their own retirement, but they are not clear on the true costs of long term care and there is a lack of excess income to put toward future goals.

The fact that Americans significantly underestimate the amount of savings needed to finance their future long term care needs, and that caregivers are sacrificing their own financial futures raises many concerns.  The report identifies four primary challenges faced by aging women and their caretakers: finances, desire for independence, workplace flexibility and lack of preparation.

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“We need to address this looming potential catastrophe,” said Volunteers of America National President Mike King. “This will be the largest senior population in U.S. history and will almost double the prior numbers of seniors.”

King continued, “As our report states, preparation must occur on more than just the personal level.  Local, state and federal governments must begin to make changes now to help current caregivers and future retirees so that the impending wave of 78 million baby boomers does not wipe out the finances of future generations.”

The survey found that respondents want to see a way for individuals to access Medicaid services without being forced to spend personal assets all the way down to poverty levels in order to qualify.  “This could be done through an expansion of state public/private partnerships that shield a set amount of personal funds through the purchase of approved long-term care insurance policies,” said Volunteers of America.

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The report also found that woman continue to serve as the primary hands-on caregiver for loved ones.  In addition, most women surveyed who are not currently caregivers expect they will be providing care at some time in the future.

Survey respondents also supported policies that would allow seniors to remain in their own homes for as long as possible and receive care in home- and community-based settings.

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View a copy of the report.