One of the ways you, a trusted long-term care planning advisor, can set yourself apart from the order takers is by producing content that shows how much you know.

You can tweet, post on Facebook and blog. You can appear on local talk shows, organize in-person seminars, and even try writing books.

Related: Looking for prospects? Write a minibook

In some cases, your source of inspiration may be obvious: You’ll take what an insurer or distributor gives you, and that’s that. Getting anything else through the necessary approval process might be too difficult.

Related: Take your e-marketing to the next level

But what if you do have the freedom to think, and write, for yourself, and ideas are hard to come by? Or, what if you do have good ideas, but you need respectable data to support and illustrate them?

Given that you are creating marketing materials, and you work in a highly regulated industry, you will probably want to stick as much as possible to sources of information that are in the “public domain,” and free for anyone to use. That way, you know you can use the data without first getting permission.

One great source of information that’s in the public domain is the federal government. Some U.S. states and non-U.S. governments copyright their statistical reports. U.S. federal agencies, on the other hand, generally do not copyright the statistics they publish.

The Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, a body based at the Administration for Community Living at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recently published a public-domain report of interest to any financial professional involved in retirement planning, including planning for post-retirement acute care and long-term care costs.

Earlier this month, the forum published “Older Americans 2016: Key Indicators of Well-Being,” a 179-page collection of aging statistics from 16 federal agencies. The report includes information on the size of the older population, aging-related behavior, and aging-related health risks and health care services.

The report can be a great source of data for your marketing materials, and it may also be useful when you are thinking about the future of your own practice.

For a look at seven of the tables from the “Older Americans” report that could be of the most use to a long-term care planner, read on.

 Man in wheelchair looking out window

The size of the U.S. over-85 population could grow especially rapidly between 2030 and 2040. (Photo: iStock)

7. How many people will be very old, and when?

Some people need long-term care when they’re in their 70s, or even, sadly, much earlier. This year, for example, a number of U.S. babies affected by the Zika virus may need long-term care for their entire lives.

But the kinds of adults who are likely to qualify to buy long-term care planning products are most likely to end up needing long-term care services when they’re ages 85 or older.

Here’s a handy table, based on U.S. Census Bureau data included in the new forum report, that shows how the size of the over-85 population might change between now and 2060. (Page 82)

Year

Number of people ages 85 and older

1990

3.1 million

2000

4.2 million

2010

5.5 million

2014

6.2 million

2020

6.7 million

2030

9.1 million

2040

14.6 million

2050

19 million

2060

19.7 million

Related: Medicare trustees look ahead to the year 2090

 Whole wheat bread

From the government’s perspective, one of the best things you can do for your long-term care planning prospects may be to persuade them to eat more whole grains. (Photo: Stephen Ausmus/USDA)

6. How likely are older people to eating properly?

Consumer groups and regulators have gotten mad at insurance agents over their use of “free dinner seminars” to whet prospects’ attention.

One implication of a diet quality table in the new aging indicators report is that persuading older prospects to attend a marketing dinner might be great for the prospects’ health, as long as you can persuade those same prospects to eat some whole wheat bread or pasta.

The table, drawn from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data, shows how likely Americans age 65 to 74, and 75 and older, were to be eating enough of various types of foods in 2011 and 2012.

Here’s an excerpt (from Page 126) that shows how likely people age 65 through 74 were to be eating enough of various types of plant-based foods: 

Dietary component

Percentage of people eating the recommended amount

Total fruit

74.2

Whole fruit

99.2

Total vegetables

86.4

Greens and beans

80.5

Whole grains

38.6

Related: 10 states where people skip vegetables

Only about half of people ages 85 and older who live in the community can still drive.

Only about half of people ages 85 and older who live in the community can still drive. (Photo: iStock)

5. What kinds of problems do older people have with driving?

In any community in which driving is about as common and important as eating dinner, talk of older people who have lost the ability to drive may be the topic with the most power to catch the attention of your prospects.

The idea of losing the ability to eat or bathe without help may be too frightening and remote for many people to grasp.

But many of your clients have probably known people who have lost the ability to drive.

One table in the aging indicators report, drawn from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services care access data, shows the kinds of limits on driving experienced by noninstitutionalized Medicare enrollees of various ages.

Here’s an excerpt that shows how many noninstitutionalized Medicare enrollees gave up driving altogether in 2013. (Page 155)

 Age group

Percentage who’ve given up driving

65-74

11.3

75-84

21.2

85 and over

46.5

Related: Google sees stranded seniors as big market for self-driving cars

Home health agencies serve far more people than nursing homes do.

Home health agencies serve far more people than nursing homes do. (Photo: iStock)

4. What kinds of LTC providers do people use?

Many prospects equate “long-term care services” with nursing home care. Insurers helped spread that misconception years ago, by focusing on selling insurance policies that covered only nursing home care.

Today, typical policies cover care in a wide variety of settings.

One table in the aging indicators report, drawn from National Study of Long-Term Care Providers survey data, shows where long-term care users of various ages were receiving care in 2013 and 2014.

Here’s an excerpt that indicates were people ages 85 and older were getting long-term care services. (Page 150)

Type of provider

Number of people using

Nursing home

569,795

Residential care community

439,315

Adult day care

45,716

Home health agency

1,282,996

Hospice

634,151

Related: 5 states where older people get stuck in nursing homes

Many people in nursing homes need help with eating.

Many people in nursing homes need help with eating. (Photo: iStock)

3. When people get LTC services, what kinds of services do they really use? 

Prospects who are thinking they will try to use informal family care to reduce spending on long-term care services may need help understanding what kind of care informal caregivers can really provide, and what kind needs are more likely to necessitate nursing home care, or heavy-duty home health care.

A second table in the aging indicators report based on the 2013-2014 National Study of Long-Term Care Providers shows, for example, that nursing home residents are much more likely to need help with going to the bathroom than users of adult day care services.

Problems with eating show a similar pattern, but eating is the activity of daily living that long-term care users are most likely to be able to handle on their own.

Here’s a table excerpt that shows how likely users of various types of long-term care services are to have trouble with eating. (Page 150)

 Provider type

Percentage who have trouble with eating

Nursing home

58

Residential care community

19.8

Adult day care

24.3

Home health agency

56.7

Related: Technology startups target in-home care market for elderly

Only 21.2 percent of caregivers are spouses, but spouse caregivers provide 31.1 percent of the caregiving hours.

Only 21.2 percent of caregivers are spouses, but spouse caregivers provide 31.1 percent of the caregiving hours. (Photo: iStock)

2. Who is providing informal care, and how much? 

Several people in an older person’s circle may share caregiving responsibilities, but some types of caregivers tend to supply more caregiving hours than others.

One table in the aging indicators report, drawn from the National Study on Caregiving, gives the percentages of various types of people who served as informal caregivers in 2011, and also the percentages of caregiving hours each type of informal caregiver provided. The table may help certain types of caregivers (especially spouses and daughters) understand what they’re really up against.

Here’s an excerpt that shows how spouses, daughters and sons stood in 2011, in terms of percentage of all caregivers, and in terms of the percentage of caregiving hours provided. (Page 156)

Caregiver type

Percentage of caregivers

Percentage of caregiving hours

Spouse

21.2

31.1

Daughter

29.3

30.6

Son

18.3

15.9

Related: Caring for his elderly dad made this Japanese businessman homeless

Medicare enrollees pay 45 percent of their long-term care facility bills, but they pay an even higher percentage of one other type of health care bill.

Medicare enrollees pay 45 percent of their long-term care facility bills, but they pay an even higher percentage of one other type of health care bill. (Photo: Highwaystarz-Photography)

1. How are Medicare enrollees paying for various types of health care services?

Prospects will want to know how much they could end up paying for long-term care services and other types of health care services.

The aging indicators report includes a table, based on Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services data, that shows average service costs per enrollee for 2012, and where the enrollees got the money to pay their bills.

Medicare enrollees, for example, spent an average of $343 each on hospice costs in 2012, and Medicaid paid 100 percent of the hospice bills.

Enrollees spent an average of $447 on dental care, but Medicare paid just 1.8 percent of the enrollees’ dental bills.

Here’s an excerpt that shows the average total spending on five types of services per Medicare enrollee, and the average percentage of the payments that came out of the enrollees’ own pockets. (Page 144)

 Care type

Average cost per enrollee

Percentage of payment that came from the enrollees’ own money

Dental care

$447

77.3

Long-term care facility

$2,032

45

Prescription drugs

$2,793

21.3

Home health care

$550

19

Physician/medical

$4,050

16.7

Related:

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