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Margie Barrie, a veteran long-term care (LTC) planner and educator, has been writing articles about LTC finance issues for decades.

Here she looks at women’s need for LTC planning services..

Mother’s Day holiday has passed, but it got me thinking about why long-term care planning is especially important to women.

In her monthly newsletter, Leni Webber, an LTC specialist with ACSIA Partners, identified 12 reasons. They can be divided into two areas: caregiving and longevity.

Caregiving

  1. Women are the caregivers.
  2. They tend to be the primary caregiver more often than men and, in many cases, spend as much as 50% more time providing care than male caregivers do.
  3. Many are juggling caring for a family member along with full-time employment: 20% of women in the workforce are family caregivers.
  4. This sacrifice ends up contributing to the long-term care needs of the female caregivers: One in four will develop health problems of her own.

Longevity

  1. Women tend to live longer than men: They outlive men by about five years, on average.
  2. Women at age 65 have a life expectancy of 23 more years. That means they can expect to live to age 88.
  3. Although that extra longevity can be considered a bonus, it creates a greater risk for needing care.
  4. Women spend an average of twice as many years in a disabled state than men do.
  5. Have you been to a nursing home lately? More than 70% of residents are women.
  6. What about assisted living? Over three-fourths of assisted living residents are women.
  7. Most adults ages 65 and over who need long-term care are living in private homes. Without a spouse around to help, this puts an additional burden on women. Many turn to their adult children, and it’s usually daughters who help.
  8. Paying for care is expensive: Average annual home health care costs can run anywhere from $50,000 to $75,000, depending on where you live.

Does this mean that men shouldn’t get long-term care insurance? No! They need long term care planning, too, and guess who tends to provide most of this care?

With a policy that has “shared” benefits, couples can share their benefits, allowing maximum flexibility, and providing for extra support for a spouse who’s providing “informal care.”

— Read Long-Distance Caregiving, Up Close: LTCI Insideron ThinkAdvisor.


Margie Barrie

Margie Barrie, an agent with ACSIA, has been writing the LTC Insider column since 2000.