The cost of not planning for long-term care

Study pinpoints financial cost of caregiving.

Numerous studies have underscored the physical and psychological strain of taking care of an aging, ailing loved one. However, a recent study by Genworth quantifies the monetary loss that caregiving could entail without the benefit of long-term care insurance (LTCI) or some form of pre-planning.

The new report, “Beyond Dollars: A Way Forward,” calculated that, on average, families would be able to save nearly $11,000 yearly in out-of-pocket expenses if long-term care arrangements were made prior to a loved one actually needing long-term care. Moreover, 53 percent of family members that acted as the primary caregiver have lost income due to their caregiving duties.

Genworth also uncovered notable differences in those who had made LTC arrangements beforehand and those who did not. Pre-planning was found to be more common among care receivers who sought professional help compared to those recipients who rely on a family caregiver. Drilled down by the numbers, 40 percent of those who received care at a daycare facility had made arrangements to cover a long-term care situation, while only 23 percent of those who moved into a family member’s home did the same.

Further, those who failed to take any steps to prepare for a long-term care situation in the family expressed regret over not having done so. More than half – 51 percent – said it was a mistake to have not made arrangements sooner, and 58 percent of those without LTCI see the benefit in the insurance and lament not purchasing a policy. The majority contend that having LTCI would have relieved the financial burden of caring for a loved one (59 percent); meant less strain on family situations; and relief from stress on the family (51 percent).

For why they delayed planning, 38 percent of care receivers indicated they avoided admitting care was required. Other reasons included not wanting to talk about the possibility of needing long-term care (28 percent) and not knowing where to start (23 percent).

Added stress

Serving in a caregiving capacity added to the stress level of caregivers, increasing, in turn, their health issues. More than a third of caregivers (38 percent) and care recipients (35 percent) say that their stress could have been alleviated if care had been obtained earlier.

The Genworth study, compiled with assistance from Directive Analytics, was conducted in February. The results were culled from interviews with 1,208 consumers at least 25 years old. Respondents were either recipients of long-term care or had a family member that had received care for more than 30 days in the previous 12-month period.

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