The typical 80-year-old woman in the United States may have enough financial resources, including home equity, to pay for about 20 months of nursing home care, or 35 months of home health care.
An 80-year-old woman in the top quarter in terms of income and wealth may be able to pay for 58 months of nursing home care and about 103 months of home health care.
Brown offers no recommendations about specific products or tax changes the Treasury Department should support, but he said policymakers should think more about helping older women who live alone and those who are disabled, rather than thinking in terms of helping all older women.
“Aging per se poses much smaller economic risk under the current system compared with the risks associated with disability and living alone,” Brown writes.
Older women who stay healthy and stay married tend to be economically secure. But those who are widowed, who are never married or who become disabled tend to go through hard times, Brown says.
“Few households have the ability to cover an extended disability spell,” says Brown, who also touches on private annuities and private long-term care insurance in the report.
Private annuities can provide the same kind of payout that Social Security or a private pension plan provides, but they “are not widely used,” Brown says.