American families are faced with an increasingly challenging financial market, with many factors threatening their financial security. The recent economic crisis has injected a new urgency in planning for the future. Some people are turning to family members or friends for support. Sometimes, however, families and friends are not able or equipped to take on the responsibility of caring and providing for another.
The U.S. census projects that in the next 20 years, the number of persons aged 65 or older is expected to double and that at least 70% of people over age 65 will require some long term care services at some point in their lives, while over 40% will require nursing home care. But needing long term care does not only come with age; the U.S. Department of Health and Human services notes that 40% of people using long term care are actually 18-65 years old.
Long term care can add both financial and emotional burdens, especially since the cost of long term care is increasing beyond the rate of inflation. The strain of covering “long life care” can be overwhelming for both the care recipient and the caregiver. Most people underestimate what such care means for both finances and lifestyle and are unprepared to shoulder the emotional weight.
Statistics show that individuals are five times as afraid that they will be a burden to their families and friends then they are of dying. They are worried that they will saddle them with uninsured medical expenses.
People are concerned about loss of independence and diminishing quality of life. It’s not surprising that 78% of Americans would prefer to receive long term care in the comfort of their own homes rather than in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
Receiving long term care at home is an even more viable option than many people are aware. New caregiving services, long term care insurance policies that reimburse for home care and new technologies are making home care a possibility for larger segments of the population.
But if families don’t plan for both contingencies and the future, when the time comes, it may be too late to implement long term care at home. Talking about long term care can help facilitate a difficult time between care recipients and loved ones, and can ensure that they live life on their terms and as fully as possible.
Yet, according to Genworth Financial, 59% of Americans are uncomfortable discussing their needs with their family while 49% of individuals believe their family would be uncomfortable talking about it.
Confusion, denial mistrust and fear can all contribute to a lack of proper planning for long term care. People are bewildered when filtering through what Medicare, Medicaid, long term care insurance, and other insurance actually cover and cite that uncertainty as one of the biggest barriers to purchasing long term care insurance.
In a Genworth Study, the majority of people said they sought to find a financial professional who could clarify long term care insurance and other emotional considerations, cutting through the complexity of long term care options and providing clear and understandable solutions (“Our Family, Our Future: The Heart of Long Term Care Planning,” 2010). Trusted resources can provide guidance and valuable support for a process that can be taxing both financially and emotionally. For people able to confront these issues with a knowledgeable professional, equipped to understand the needs of both care recipients and caregivers, planning ahead has the benefit of ensuring that they can continue to live life on their terms.’
This article was sponsored by Genworth Financial. View a copy of the study here.