Adults 50+ Think They May Need Assistance When Older - Few Have Done Much About It

When you reach age 50, you start to understand the consequences of aging. Retirement is ahead, and you start noticing changes in your health, body, and mind. Preparing for the growing cost of long-term health care is vital to retirement planning.

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Adults 50+ Think They May Need Assistance When Older - Few Have Done Much About It
5 Min Read June 27th, 2022

Thirty years ago, if someone talked to you about long-term care, often they would respond that they don't need help with lawn care. That's right, lawn care - the words' long-term care' was not in most people's vocabulary. 

Today most people are aware of the issues related to aging and how the consequences that long-term health care can have on families and finances. The COVID-19 virus crisis highlighted this problem as older people were impacted more than others. 

AARP Long-Term Care Readiness Survey

AARP surveyed 1,011 U.S. adults aged 50 and older to determine the level of readiness for long-term health care and aging. There seems to be a great awareness of the problem, but that is about it.

The AARP released the results of their research, showing that nearly seven in ten believe that they will need assistance with their daily activities as they age. Yet, fewer than three in ten have given 'a lot of thought' to how they will continue to live independently when they need assistance. 

Even though traditional health insurance, including Medicare, pays little to nothing toward most long-term care services, about half of the adults 50-plus in AARP's recent survey believed that Medicare covers care in a nursing home or care in their own home from a home health aide. 

People Don't Want to Burden Loved Ones

Despite a lack of planning, most people responded they don't want to be a burden on their loved ones. One of the two top concerns that people have are not becoming a strain or burden on their families.

The other top concern is not being able to continue to live independently. These were the two top concerns noted by roughly six in ten adults 50-plus. Slightly fewer say they are concerned about not having enough money saved, needing to live in a nursing home or assisted living facility, or not being able to remain in their own home.

Only 28% of the respondents indicated that it was unlikely that they would need help with daily living activities, and 3% said there was no chance they would ever need assistance when they get older.

Less Denial with Age

Denial of potential need is less for those aged 50 to 64 and increases for those 65 and older. A vast majority of the respondents have yet to purchase Long-Term Care Insurance. 

Only LTC Insurance and Medicaid will pay for long-term health care. Medicaid requires an individual to have little or no income or assets to qualify for benefits. Long-Term Care Insurance is medically underwritten, so you must have reasonably good health to obtain coverage.

Only half the respondents have discussed their end-of-life plans with family and have written a will. The lack of planning places the burden on loved ones and puts the full responsibility of paying for professional care on themselves.  

Unpaid Family Caregivers Untrained and Unprepared

There are 53 million unpaid family caregivers in the United States, according to a 2020 AARP study. Family caregivers are usually untrained and unprepared for this demanding job.  

The goal for most people is to live and thrive independently. As we age, we experience declining health and mobility problems, making that difficult or impossible. Family members often feel concerned about the safety and well-being of their aging parents. Home health care is beneficial, and professional caregivers are trained to provide care. However, family caregivers find it hard to keep up.

Danielle Myers from Status Solutions, a senior living technology company, says seniors are at risk for serious safety concerns. She says time is of the essence when a senior is unsupervised and falls at home. With today's technology, automatic alerts can be sent directly to caregivers, family, and emergency contacts, decreasing response times. 

Professional Long-Term Health Care is Expensive

The AARP study did not ask about the Long-Term Care Insurance Partnership program. The partnership program, available in most states, offers additional dollar-for-dollar asset protection if you own a qualified LTC Insurance policy. Not surprisingly, few people, including financial professionals, are aware of this program. 

While it can be assumed most people won't like purchasing insurance, the only other solution for future long-term health care is either self-funding or family caregivers. Neither option is attractive and creates stress on loved ones and financial pressure. Medicaid is available if someone has little or no income and assets but is not a solution for anyone else. 

Since premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies, be sure to seek the assistance of a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist that works with the top companies. Premiums are regulated. Every insurance company must file its products and premiums with each state's insurance department. No individual agent, agency, or advisor can offer special deals. 

Experts say the best time to purchase Long-Term Care Insurance is when you are in your 50s, when premiums are lower and better health allows for more options - How Much Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cost? | LTC News.

The consequences of aging affect everyone in your family. Long-term health care costs are rising sharply because of inflation, increasing labor costs, and higher demand for services. Costs vary depending on where you live, and the types of services you require - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News.

Economic Uncertainty Means Planning is Vital

Investors are concerned about their retirement assets. In a research survey conducted by Charles Schwab, while account holders have concerns, at the moment, they understand the need to stay the course.

Investors' concerns about the market are understandably on the rise this quarter amid inflation, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and volatility, but we're encouraged to see that they're staying the course with a focus on diversification and following their long-term financial plans.

Jonathan Craig, Managing Director, Head of Investor Services & Marketing at Charles Schwab.

Craig says that investors are also staying engaged during the current volatility. Economic uncertainty, inflation, and market fluctuations are reasons to have guarantees as they plan for retirement. 

LTC Insurance Means Guarantees

Long-Term Care Insurance offers guarantees. LTC Insurance provides guaranteed tax-free benefits that give the policyholder access to their choice of quality care services, including care at home. Most research indicates that people will prefer to be at home and age in place when they start to need help with daily living activities or supervision due to dementia. 

Most LTC Insurance offers inflation riders, so benefits increase as the cost of care increases. With most policies, these increases in benefits are factored into the premium. However, some companies use "purchase options" where the benefits go up, but your premium also goes up. Experts say to avoid those types of plans since the premium keeps increasing and will soon cost more than if you purchased the proper inflation benefit to start with. 

Policies are similar because of federal and state regulations, but you should understand the major parts of these plans - Understanding the Major Parts of a Long-Term Care Insurance Policy | LTC News

In addition, federal regulations require specific inflation benefits, depending on your age, when you own a Partnership Long-Term Care Insurance policy.

Things change, your health changes, the economy changes, and you get older every year. While most people understand the problem with aging and the risk of future long-term health care, too many people want to put this off. Being prepared will safeguard income and assets, access to a choice of care services, and allow your loved ones the time to be family instead of becoming your caregiver.

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About the Author

Linda is a freelance writer interested in retirement planning, health and aging.

LTC News Contributor Linda Kople

Linda Kople

Contributor since October 31st, 2017

Editor's Note

Being proactive when planning for retirement is vital, but during times of economic uncertainty, adding guarantees will add peace of mind. We can't avoid aging, but we can plan for the costs and burdens of aging and the impact long-term health care will have on your family and finances. 

Planning requires thinking ahead and being realistic about the risks we face in the decades ahead. You will not avoid changes in your health. Your health and mobility decline. Many of us will suffer from dementia and require supervision. 

These changes mean we will need help with everyday living activities that we take for granted. You will either pay for professional caregivers, or your family will become caregivers. Sometimes both. How will you handle the rising cost of long-term health care?

The solution comes from the guarantees offered with affordable Long-Term Care Insurance. Your LTC Insurance policy provides guaranteed tax-free benefits that give you access to your choice of quality care options allowing your loved ones to be family instead of caregivers. 

You might have many questions about LTC Insurance - start here - Frequently Asked Questions | LTC News.

The ideal time to obtain coverage is in your 50s to take advantage of lower premiums because of your age and better health.

Seek Professional Help Planning for Long-Term Care

Long-term care is a very specialized area, and few insurance agents and financial advisors have the expertise. Find a specialist who represents the top companies as premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies. Leading specialists will often have over 500 clients with Long-Term Care Insurance.

A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

Experts recommend seeking the help of a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you find the right coverage. A specialist will match your age, health, and family history with the right coverage at the right price. 

Planning Tools and Resources Available on LTC NEWS

Planning for the future is never easy, but long-term health care planning can be very complicated and comes with many emotions. Getting the right tools and resources will make the process much easier.

One of the goals is to reduce the stress and anxiety usually placed on your family at the time of crisis. LTC NEWS can be beneficial in providing you with important information for you to consider.

LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:

You might have questions and LTC NEWS provides the answers for many of the most asked questions here - Frequently Asked Questions | LTC News. Find all the resources available on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Help for Older Parents

If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

If your parent or parents need help be sure to get them quality care. LTC NEWS can help. We have put together several comprehensive guides to help you in your process.

Start by reading our four guides -  

Get Assistance in Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim

Many insurance companies have issued Long-Term Care Insurance policies over the years. Filing a claim can sometimes be complicated unless you know what to do or get expert help and assistance. 

Don't allow the claim process to stop you from using the benefits available in an LTC policy. Quality care obtained early will help provide a better quality of life and reduce the risk of a deep decline and facility care. 

If you need help in starting the process of a Long-Term Care Insurance claim, LTC NEWS can help. LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you or a loved one complete the claims process with a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. We have teamed up with Amada Senior Care, who will do all the work - free with no obligation. 

Get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

Advantages of Reverse Mortgages 

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance. You might be eligible at younger ages as well. 

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, and even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. Mike Banner, LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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LTC NEWS is open to contributors to share their stories with the world. 

You can write a story or ongoing column for LTC NEWS. You can write about many topics, including aging, caregiving, health, lifestyle, retirement planning, and long-term care, to name a few.

Be sure to write for our core target audience of adults aged 40 and older. Our audience is worldwide; however, our primary target is the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and other English-speaking nations. 

Improve your website or blog's SEO and gain exposure and traffic at the same time by being a contributor to LTC NEWS. 

You can even promote yourself, your business, and your website or blog. However, it must have editorial content exclusive to LTC NEWS and not just an advertisement. It can include links to other sites, and you can share the article link once published on your website or social media.

Email your story idea or article: newsroom@ltcnews.com - LTC News Contributors | LTC News

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Use LTC NEWS to drive traffic to your website and help you attract people interested in your products and services. Plus, you can improve your website's SEO so more consumers can find you when they search for your products and services.

There are various marketing options available with LTC NEWS. Traditional advertising, sponsored content articles, strategic alliances, and more are available. 

Learn more about how LTC NEWS can help you market your business, drive traffic, and improve SEO - Advertise With Us | LTC News.

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Let's work together and help consumers who search for us on the web - Site Request | LTC News.

You can also affordably purchase a dofollow link to your website or blog on LTC NEWS. Just contact the advertising department.

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Include LTC NEWS in your press release distribution. If your group, organization, business, political committee, etc., have news to share, send it to LTC NEWS. Email - newsroom@ltcnews.com  

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