Women Live Longer But Suffer More Disability Issues

A recent study confirms women continue to enjoy longer life, however that means they require a higher level of disability as they age. This means women must plan for the financial costs and burdens of aging.

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Women Live Longer But Suffer More Disability Issues
7 Min Read March 24th, 2016 Updated:August 25th, 2021
James Kelly

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

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.

According to the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, an 84-year-old woman living today should live another 7 1/2 years on average, one year longer than an 84-year-old male. 

Women Living Longer ... But ...

Researchers compared data from studies of people age 65 and older and enrolled in Medicarein 1982, 2004, and 2011. They looked at if a disability kept them carrying out normal daily living activities 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 long-term health care costs dealing with daily living activities 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 an emotional, physical, and financial 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 2020, just the major insurance companies paid out over $11.6 Billion in Long-Term Care Insurance benefits 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 will 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. As we get older we experience substantial changes in our health, body, and mind. Often these changes lead to the need for long-term care services. 

Most people indicate in surveys that they wish to remain in their own homes. Ideally, people want to avoid facilities, especially in nursing homes. People surveyed also say they want to avoid putting pressure on their adult children or be forced to sell off assets, thus draining their savings.

Family caregivers face enormous challenges as the role of caregiver is physically and emotionally exhausting. Plus, the role places stress on the caregiver's family as their career and lifestyle change dramatically. 

Paid caregivers are expensive. Long-term care costs, both in-home care and facility care, have been going up every year. As a result of the virus-crisis, costs are now rising faster than ever before.

"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 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says if a person reaches the age of 65, there is almost a 50% chance of needing long-term health care services before they die.

People are always encouraged to seek regular medical check-ups, maintain healthy lifestyles, exercise, and plan for the financial costs of aging before retirement. However, with long life comes a 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 Couples Plan

Women do live longer. However, for couples, most affordable Long-Term Care Insurance 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. 

Cost of Long-Term Health Care WIll Vary Depending on Location

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. 

The financial impact of long-term health care is substantial even to well-to-do families. Typically a male will need care first, and the women will live longer and be more dependent on savings and family when they need extended care.

These costs vary depending on where you live. For example, one year of in-home care in Knoxville, Tennessee, averages about $43,000 a year, according to the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator - Tennessee Long-Term Care | LTC News

However, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, that same year of in-home care averages almost $70,000 a year Minnesota Long-Term Care | LTC News.

Those are today's costs. The costs go up every year, with higher labor costs to blame. Facility care will also be more costly.

Long-Term Care Insurance can help reduce the financial burden and give family members more time to be family and not be placed into the role of being a caregiver. 

Tools Available on LTC NEWS Help in Research

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. 

Find a trusted and experienced specialist by clicking here

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. 


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About the Author

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

LTC News Contributor James Kelly

James Kelly

Contributor since August 21st, 2017

Editor's Note

Preparing your family and finances for the future costs and burdens of aging is an essential part of retirement planning. But Long-Term Care Insurance is more than just about money. 

Yes, long-term health care is a significant cash flow issue. LTC Insurance addresses this problem. But, long-term care is also a family issue. Without any plan in place, the family will go into crisis mode. The result can be a disaster for you and your family, and your wishes may take a back seat.

An LTC policy keeps you in control and helps avoid becoming dependent on your children decades from now. You will have access to guaranteed tax-free benefits that will pay for your choice of quality care, either in-home or in a facility. 

Planning Resources Available on LTC NEWS

Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News is an outstanding resource that shows the current and future cost of long-term health care where you live. You will also see state-specific information that will help you plan correctly.

You can compare the major insurance companies that offer Long-Term Care Insurance products here - Top Insurers for Long-Term Care Insurance | LTC News.

The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide is an outstanding read to help you get a good overview of the topic area. There are also available tax incentives. See if these tax incentives are helpful - Long-Term Care Tax Benefits Guide.

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Items to Discuss with a Long-Term Care Specialist

There are several topics to discuss when you speak with a Long-Term Care Insurance specialist. Be sure they discuss these issues:

  • Partnership: Most states offer special policies that provide dollar-for-dollar asset protection. The Long-Term Care Insurance Partnership Program might be one of the best-kept secrets in retirement planning. Make sure the specialist explains this program and how it might help you.
  • Tax incentives: There are federal tax incentives available for some people. If you own your own business, be sure to ask.
  • Health Savings Accounts: If you have an HSA you can use the pre-tax money in your account to pay for the premium.
  • Asset-Based or Hybrid policies: These are life insurance or annuities with a rider for long-term care. Careful, only a handful are actually a long-term care benefit. However, one of these policies can provide you with the flexibility of both a long-term care benefit or a death benefit. They are expensive but can be paid with a single premium.
  • Health and Family History: Make sure the specialist asks you detailed questions about your health, family history, and retirement plans. Underwritingcriteria vary with each insurance company. If they are not asking you detailed questions, then find another specialist.

Find a trusted and qualified specialist by clicking here.

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Looking for Quality Caregivers? Need Help Filing an LTC Insurance Claim?

If a loved one already needs in-home care or owns a Long-Term Care Insurance policy and needs assistance filing the claim, LTC NEWS is here to help.

LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News. You can also help find caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not.

Power of Reverse Mortgages

There are many people today that have much of their savings invested in their home. With today's reverse mortgages, you can use the money in your home to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, add retirement income, or even pay for in-home care if you need care now. 

Learn more now - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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