The overall state of long-term care (LTC) planning in the United States may have more to do with lack of nerve than with lack of money.
LTC planning specialists at Genworth Financial (NYSE:GNW) have tried to offer strategies for getting Americans to "LTC up" in a collection of materials posted in connection with the November 2012 Long-Term Care Awareness Month marketing campaign.
The marketers commissioned a telephone survey of 888 U.S. adults ages 35 and older in October and found that only 42 percent of the survey participants said they had an LTC plan, and just 56 percent of the participants who had some kind of LTC plan believed that a loved one fully understood the plan.
About 82 percent of participants ages 45 to 54 cited considerations such as not wanting to think about being dependent on others and not finding time to talk about the subject as reasons for failing to have an LTC plan.
Genworth then brought in Dr. Barbara Nusbaum, a money psychologist, to come up with ideas of understanding and battling consumers' reluctance to think seriously about possible LTC needs.
Nusbaum told Genworth that consumers should chose an LTC planning partner, then hold at least three scheduled meetings with the planner.
"Don’t have a drive-by conversation with your planning partner," Genworth said in a summary of Nusbaum's advice. "A conversation on the fly is a form of avoidance."
Letting apparent lack of money, or worries about money, to put off planning is another form of avoidance, Nusbaum said.
"The potential cost of not planning can be far more expensive and worrisome than planning," Nusbaum told Genworth.
Genworth is encouraging consumers to learn more by visiting http://www.askwendyb.com, a consumer-oriented blog written by the company's national LTC planning spokesperson, Wendy Boglioli. Boglioli, an Olympic Gold Medal winner, learned about LTC planning when she was helping her father deal with his own LTC needs.
Genworth also has posted an LTC planning video on its website.