Time flies.

Having a spouse correlates with a huge reduction in the risk that consumer will enter a nursing home.

See also: Will your state face a growing informal care gap?

In the past, while thinking about topics for blog entries, I’ve thought about the concept of “risk reduction marketing” — efforts to reach out to prospects and clients with ideas and swag that may actually help keep people comfortable and safe.

Long-term care insurance (LTCI) marketers could consider emphasizing what great, helpful, insightful people they are by using small, inexpensive flashlights as novelty giveaways. The recipients might use the flashlights to look inside their noses and cabinets on ordinary days — and to stay safe during blackouts.

LTCI marketers could protect clients against the risk of macular degeneration and other vision problems that can be caused or aggravated by exposure to sunlight by simply encouraging the people they meet to invest in good sunglasses.

Now I see, from looking at the statistics on the relationship between marital status and use of formal long-term care (LTC) services, that something else LTCI specialists might consider promoting is marriage.

Of course, it’s hard to know when looking at statistics showing the correlation between two variables whether the relationship has to do with a coincidence; one variable causing changes in the other variable; or a third variable causing the changes in both variables. Maybe married people have an easier time staying out of nursing homes because the characteristics that helped them find mates early in life later help them stay out of nursing homes.

But, if having a spouse really helps people stay out of nursing homes, maybe the LTCI community could work with civic groups, investment experts or sellers of retirement products to organize whatever kinds of events for current LTCI policyholders that securities regulators will still allow.

The ulterior motive would not be to actually sell anyone any products, but to somehow get the single policyholders to sit together and hit it off.

Or, maybe LTCI insurers could offer insureds who sign the appropriate privacy waivers access to a free matchmaking service. 

Or, insurers could come at this from another angle and encourage matchmakers to get into the LTCI sales business. Maybe the matchmakers could warm up some prospective spouses’ cold feet by showing them statistics on the correlation between marital status and nursing home use.