Our Family, Our Future: The Heart of Long Term Care Planning
Today, American families are facing new challenges and searching for new solutions. In an era of economic uncertainty, rising longevity, and increasingly interdependent families, many of us are increasingly anxious about our loved ones’ financial security and how it could impact our lives. As we confront these new realities, key questions arise: What matters most when seeking health and financial independence? What are people’s greatest worries in later life? How can family members communicate effectively about the care and support they may need as they grow older? What are the greatest challenges of caregiving? How might financial professionals help us protect our families and ourselves from the financial and emotional costs of long term care?
To better understand these issues and potential solutions, Age Wave collaborated with Genworth Financial and companies (Genworth) and Harris Interactive to launch a “Our Family, Our Future: The Heart of Long Term Care Planning,” a national survey of 2,151 Americans conducted in September 2010. This study is a comprehensive exploration of the hopes, worries, and needs of families regarding their lifetime health and financial independence and identifies steps to achieve financial peace of mind. Key findings include:
#1: Charting a course for lifetime health and financial independence
- On average, Americans now say they would ideally like to live 92 years.
- Maintaining good health is twice as important as any other factor when people reflect on how long they want to live.
- People are over five times more worried about being a burden on their family than dying.
- Uninsured medical expenses are the top financial worry among men and women age 55+.
- Almost two-thirds of people will actually need some long term care, such as home care, assisted living, or nursing home care, after they reach age 65, but only 35% of people believe they will need such care.
- People rank Alzheimer’s as their single greatest fear among disabling diseases in later life.
#2: The 21st century caregiving challenge
- People greatly underestimate the financial, social, and lifestyle impact of caregiving responsibilities.
- When someone needs long term care, a wide circle of primary caregivers, secondary caregivers, other family, friends, and community members often provide the care and are impacted by the responsibilities.
- The sandwich generation, with its primary concern for parents and children, has evolved into more complex multi-generational “Rubik’s Cube”-like families.
- When people consider becoming caregivers, their greatest worries are the potential emotional strain – even more than the financial costs.
#3: Planning for long term care: the missing links with family and financial professionals
- The top reasons for planning ahead for long term care are “not being a burden on others,” followed by being “able to afford quality care in the setting I choose,” and “protecting my spouse’s/loved ones’ quality of life and future security.”
- When asked what is most worrisome about being burdens on their family, people told us they are most concerned about protecting their families from the financial pressures of providing for their long term care.
- Three key topics are core to conversations with family about long term care: (1) what long term options are most preferred, (2) potential roles and responsibilities of different family members for managing care, and (3) how long term care needs would be paid for if they are needed.
- The vast majority of families have not had a comprehensive discussion regarding long term care.
- Seventy-eight percent (78%) of men and women say they would find it helpful to talk to a financial professional about long term care planning. However, only 16% have had this conversation with a financial professional.
For more information on this study, please contact Genworth Financial at 888 GENWORTH