Families could save almost $11,000 per year on out-of-pocket expenses for long-term care if they started planning a little earlier, a report released Monday by Genworth found.
Genworth surveyed more than 1,200 caregivers and recipients for the “Beyond Dollars: A Way Forward” report. More than half of those who identified as caregivers said they had lost income because of those responsibilities.
Care recipients who use professional care were more likely to have planned for that eventuality. Forty percent of respondents who receive care at a day facility made plans ahead of time to meet those needs, compared with 23% of people who moved into a family member’s home.
Long-term care is still a difficult subject for clients. Thirty-eight percent of care recipients said they didn’t address their needs because they didn’t want to admit care was needed, and 28% said they didn’t want to talk about it. Twenty-three percent said they weren’t sure where to start.
(Check out Top 10 Cheapest States for Long-Term Care Costs on ThinkAdvisor.)
Wendy Boglioli, national spokeswoman for Genworth and a former Olympic swimmer, has been in the long-term care industry since 1998. She says that sometimes, it’s the advisors who don’t want to bring up the subject of long-term care. “I’m seeing the shift more and more,” she said. “Ten or 15 years ago, advisors didn’t want to talk about it, but it has shifted. If they’re a little leery, they just need to understand that they owe this conversation to every single client they have.”
That reticence shifts a significant financial and emotional burden to family members. Thirty-eight percent of caregivers said they could have avoided a lot of stress if care had started planning earlier. Thirty-five percent of recipients agreed.
Boglioli stressed that young clients need to talk about long-term care just as much as older clients. “Long-term care might seem forever away,” she said, but it’s important to “fill in the blanks for them to be able to see what is coming down the road because it’s all about being prepared.”
Boglioli said most clients in their 40s, 50s or 60s already have “a long-term care story or situation” or are expecting one in their near future. “They’re pretty in tune to needing that conversation.”
It’s important to include family members in long-term care planning. “Family is the backbone of caregiving in this county,” he said, while adding that emphasis on family as caregivers is going to change. Older generations were more likely to have large families whereas younger families are more likely to have only one or two children. She recounted a story about her own family.