Women Live Longer But Suffer More Disability Issues

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Published: Mar 24th, 2016
Women Live Longer But Suffer More Disability Issues
Article Updated:April 29th, 2020

Most of us understand that women generally live longer than men do. This longer life, however, is increasing the risk of disability according to a recent study.

Even though women live longer, the study shows they will suffer from disabilities much earlier than men. The study concluded that women might live longer, but men have more active years before them.

The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, reported that, on average, a 65-year-old woman's life expectancy had increased by two years to 85.5 years. However, even though women outlive men, roughly 30 percent of 65-year-old women were found to be living with a disability.

Women Living Longer ... But ...

Researchers compared data from studies of people 65 and older and enrolled in Medicarein 1982, 2004, and 2011. They looked at if a disability kept them carrying out normal activities of daily living and followed the participants in the years following the survey to determine their mortality rate.

"Despite the fact that women live more years than men, they can expect fewer active years." 

 Vicki A. Freedman, a research professor at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, and lead author of the study, which was published on last week in the American Journal of Public Health.

Part of the reason that older women are more likely to have disabilities is that "women are just living longer regardless of the disability."

Jen'nan Read, an associate professor of sociology and global health at Duke University who was not involved in the study.

No one seems to understand why women appear more able to keep on ticking through physical adversity, although several gender differences could be at play, Read said. 

"As the population is aging, and women are more likely to live longer, it has huge implications for [women's] quality of life. They live longer and have a poor quality of life years and also tend to be less likely to have the social and economic resources to deal with these problems."

"We need systems in place, such as assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and home help programs, but we are nowhere near the level we would need as this population of baby boomers explodes in the next 10, 20, 30 years,"

Jen'nan Read 

Cost of Caregiving is Expensive

Health insurance and Medicarepay little for the costs of extended care dealing with activities of daily living or supervision due to cognitive issues. 

Many experts recommend Long-Term Care Insurance to address these costs. As medical science extended lifespan, it also increased the risk of needing extended care, which can have emotional as well as the financial and physical impact on families.

“People mistakenly associate Long-Term Care with nursing home care, but most care actually takes place at home or in the community."

 Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI)

The AALTCI is a national consumer advocacy and education group.

LTC Insurance Helps You Stay in Your Home

According to a study conducted by the association, some 52.1 percent of all new long-term care insurance claims that started in 2017 began in the home setting. In 2017, just the major insurance companies paid out over $11 Billion in Long-Term Care Insurance benefits in 2019 to American families. 

“We know that consumers want to remain in their own homes and having a long-term care insurance policy can make it easier for them to do just that.”

“Home care benefits from a long-term care insurance policy is one fact that surprises consumers.”   “The other is that policies, especially for those wanting home care benefits, can be more affordable than many people think.”

Jesse Slome 

The financial costs and burdens of aging impact American families in a very significant way. Too many people forget to plan until their health or age makes it much harder to do so. Most people indicate in surveys that they wish to remain in their own homes. Ideally, people want to avoid facilities, especially nursing homes.  People surveyed also say they wish to avoid putting pressure on their adult children or be forced to sell off assets, thus draining their savings.

"Either way, the costs are significant as is the toll on loved ones who typically are called on to provide care. Long-Term Care Insurance can be an affordable option but many wait too long,” he said.

The US Department of Health and Human Services says if a person reaches the age of 65, they will have a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term health care service before they die.

As always, people are encouraged to seek regular medical check-ups, maintain healthy lifestyles, exercise, and plan for the financial costs of aging before retirement. However, long life comes the higher risk of needing extended care.

Planning for the financial costs and burdens of aging is an essential part of retirement planning. Longevity has a cost. One of those costs come from the consequences placed on your family and finances due to extended care services many of us will require as we get older. 

Shared Spousal LTC Policies Help Couple Plan

Women do live longer. However, for couples, affordable Long-Term Care policies offer shared spousal benefits. These shared benefits make planning even more affordable and allow a couple to safeguard their savings and income and reduce the stress and burden otherwise placed on their families. 

Ideally, experts suggest planning in your 40s or 50s when premiums are much lower, and your health is generally better. Taking action now is the key to enjoying a successful future retirement.

Start your research by discovering the current and future cost of extended care services where you live. You can then calculate the financial impact on your future retirement. 

Find Cost of Long-Term Health Care

The LTC NEWS cost of care calculator is the first step. Just click here and see the cost of long-term care services both today and tomorrow. 

There are several other resources available on LTC NEWS to help you learn about your options. But you need expert help. Qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialists will help you design the best plan based on your age, health, family history, and other factors.

The cost of Long-Term Care Insurance can vary dramatically between insurance companies for the same coverage. You can save a lot of money by seeking the right professional help. 

Unlike financial planners or general insurance agents, a specialist will usually work with the top insurance companies, not just one or two. They also know how policies get used at the time of claim; this allows them to design an appropriate plan without over-insuring you. 

Find a trusted and experienced specialist by clicking here

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• long-term care

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LTC News Contributor James Kelly
James Kelly

Contributor Since
August 21st, 2017

LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

About the Author

LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

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