Study: Seven out of 10 people retiring at 65 will require long-term care at some point
By Susan Suben
We’ve often heard the expression, “It takes a village to raise a family.” When it comes to caregiving, it takes a village to care for a family. Caregiving is all-encompassing financially, physically and socially. Caregivers, community resources, faith organizations, home health care agencies, assisted living facilities, nursing homes and government programs, all feel the impact of providing care for someone dealing with a long-term illness. The need for long-term care (LTC) is a risk that requires a plan to surround ourselves with a reliable support system that is not strained beyond its limits.
Each year, Genworth, a financial company based in Virginia, produces a study titled “Beyond Dollars — How Caregiving Impacts Families, Communities and Society.” According to the findings of the 2018 study, “every day until 2030, 10,000 baby boomers a day will turn 65 and seven out of 10 of them will require long- term care at some point.”
The study’s research shows that 58 percent of caregivers are between the ages of 25-54, with an average age of 47 vs. 53 in 2010. It also shows that 51 percent are more likely to be the adult child of the care recipient.
Interestingly, care recipients under the age of 65 have increased between 2010 and 2018. What does this mean? A caregiving event is unpredictable and care recipients are not necessarily aged to need LTC. This supports the notion that you are never too young to have a LTC plan.
As stated in the study, the findings focus on five key insights:
• Most people are in denial about the potential need for care
• Caregiving can negatively impact health and well-being
• Caregivers’ savings and retirement funds are at risk
• Caregivers’ careers and livelihoods are impacted by providing care
• Planning helps to mitigate stress and negative impacts
If you are currently healthy and active, you do not think about needing care. I can’t begin to tell you how many times over the last 24 years I heard clients say, “I can’t deal with planning right now” or “I’ll just kill myself.” Genworth’s “Cost of Care Companion Study,” of Sept. 1-4, 2017, states that six out of 10 are convinced the need for care will never happen to them and “fewer than a quarter had made plans to cover this type of situation.” The end result of denial can be a crisis situation. Individuals who might eventually need care and those around them often have to scramble to put a plan in place. Why wait?
Negative Impact on Well-Being
Having taken care of both my parents and by arranging care management plans for my clients, I understand the negative impact caregiving can have on caregivers. Depression, stress, anger, and frustration are just a few of the emotions caregivers feel, in addition to reduced social connection to family and friends. According to the Genworth study, 46 percent of caregivers said the LTC event negatively affected their health and well-being and 50 percent report having less time for their spouse or partner, their children and themselves.
Loss of Income / Secure Retirement
When I was taking care of my mom, I traveled to NYC often. I paid for transportation, necessities for her daily living and what I call her happiness items. However, I could not work while I was away which put many of my projects on hold. Caregivers generally experience a loss of income and can miss out on career advancement opportunities due to absence at work in order to attend to their loved one.
Caregivers estimate “that they pay, on average, a total of about $10,400 in out-of-pocket expenses.” Most caregivers do not “anticipate or plan for this expenditure…and in many cases are cutting back on personal spending and savings…jeopardizing their own financial futures.”
The Genworth study further states that 70 percent of caregivers missed time from work and 46 percent of caregivers had to work fewer hours. The study states: A LTC event “lasts an average of three years… that’s potentially a full year’s worth of income.”
Your plan for LTC will help those around you deal more easily with the consequences of a potential illness. Don’t be in denial. A LTC event is generally unexpected. Two out of three people in Genworth’s study wished they had taken steps sooner.
Planning may involve purchasing a LTC insurance policy or seeking the advice of an attorney or a financial planner. It may also involve having “the conversation” with your family outlining how you would like to be taken care of and what funds would be available for your care. The strategy that works best for you will put you in a position of control over your life and be an act of kindness for your caregivers.
Susan Suben, MS, CSA, is president of Long Term Care Associates, Inc. and Elder Care Planning. She is a consultant for Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Company. She can be reached at 800-422-2655 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.