Discussing long-term care insurance can be tough—assuming advisors can get their clients to discuss it at all. People’s reluctance to face their own mortality, never mind possibly becoming dependent on someone else for their daily needs, can be overwhelming.
But while cost, insurability and policy features may come up during a discussion, some factors don’t get discussed although they merit inclusion.
According to a recent study conducted by Genworth in collaboration with J&K Solutions, only 11% of adults say they’ve bought LTCI. They’re also far more concerned with saving enough for their retirement (58%) than with caring for ailing parents (4%). While it remains to be seen how many of those not prioritizing the care of ailing parents eventually go on to become caregivers themselves, an earlier Genworth study conducted among both caregivers and care recipients revealed some pretty telling statistics.
That second study found, among other things, that the gender gap is narrowing in caregiving—48% of males now find themselves involved in caregiving, while earlier studies found that women predominated as caregivers by a large margin. According to Pam Nelson, vice president of customer insights at Genworth, “Part of the reason we’re seeing […] more males is the changing work environment, where people work out of their homes.”
That said, it’s not getting any easier. In fact, quantifying the cost of caregiving can be shocking. “We asked caregivers some of the things they had to give up [to provide care]. Sixty-five percent ended up having to miss some time from work.”
Of those people, Genworth also asked if they had lost income, and it should come as no surprise that they did. What might be surprising is that almost half reported income loss; those people estimated the amount of lost income at 40%. “That’s really significant,” said Nelson.
Not only did people lose income, 33% reported losing career opportunities and 28% either lost their jobs or had to change careers.
And that doesn’t include the cost to caregivers of contributing financially to elders’ expenses. Respondents reported covering an average of $8,080 in out-of-pocket expenses, with nearly 60% saying they’d cut back on their own discretionary spending to do so.