Reasons to Look Into Long-Term Care, Especially If You Are a Woman
It’s no secret that women generally live longer than men, and there are plenty of statistics to prove it. And while a longer life is surely a blessing, it can also present many hardships if you don’t plan properly.
This includes planning for health setbacks. Among the 75+ crowd, women are 60% more likely to become disabled to the point where they can’t perform independently in at least two activities of daily living (such as eating, bathing, dressing or getting around their home) (1) So, it’s not surprising that more than 70% of nursing home residents in assisted living communities are women (2).
Another factor that has to be considered when it comes to having a longer life expectancy, is that long-term care is expensive. In 2010, the average cost for assisted living was more than $38,000 a year, according to the annual Genworth Cost of Care Study. See our previous article for more figures. According to the Center for Retirement Research, retirees can expect to spend 29% of their annual income on healthcare by 2020.
2) Women are the “go-to” caregiver.
There are between 5.83 and 74 million people (family, friends and neighbors) providing care to an aged 65+ person who needs assistance with everyday activities (5). The “typical caregiver is a 46 year-old woman who spends 20 hours a week providing care to her mother” (6).
And while women often perform this function for their husbands, he is typically not around to provide that care when she needs it (11).
Further, it is vital to have a plan that keeps the healthy spouse from going broke! Generally speaking, the nursing home, with government approval, can and will take whatever assets are needed until Medicaid kicks in. This can leave the healthy spouse destitute.
3) Women have higher rates of disability and chronic health problems.
Women are more likely to need assistance. According to the AARP, “the lifetime probability of developing a disability for an individual at age 65 is 44% for males and 72% for females” (8). Further, AARP reports that “across all ages, women are much more likely to develop a disability than are men. In fact, women faced a lifetime probability of developing a disability that is at least 60% higher than for men across most ages” (9). Research shows that “women spend twice as many years in a disabled state (as men) at the end of their lives” (10). Furthermore, “Over three-fourths (75.7 percent) of residents in assisted living communities are women and almost two-thirds of formal (paid) home care users and informal (unpaid) care recipients are women” (11).
Most of us will need some kind of help. The question is, where will it come from?
Our children, our siblings, maybe even our elderly parents? Do you want to ask your neighbor or best friend?
Just like other areas of success, we are better off if we plan for it. There are many options to explore. Let us help you.
1 and 2. Long-Term Care – Important Information for Women, 2012, http://www.aaltci.org/long-term-care-insurance/learning-center/for-women.php
3. Spector, W. D. et al. The characteristics of long-term care users (AHRQ Publication No. 00-0049). Rockville: Agency for Healthcare Research and Policy, 2000.
4. Health and Human Services. Informal caregiving: Compassion in action. Washington, DC: Author, 1998. Based on data from the 1987/1988 National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH), 2002.
5. Both of these reports used data from 1994 National Long-Term Care Survey. The Health and Human Services report also incorporated data from the 1982 National Long-Term Care Survey and the Informal Caregiver Supplement to the 1989 National Long-Term Care Survey.
6. and 7. Long-Term Care – Important Information for Women, 2012, http://www.aaltci.org/long-term-care-insurance/learning-center/for-women.php
8. and 9. http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/il/fs77r_ltc.pdf
10 and 11. Long-Term Care – Important Information for Women, 2012, http://www.aaltci.org/long-term-care-insurance/learning-center/for-women.php