A majority of Americans share a common worry: how to pay for long-term care if the need arises. A Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll verifies this concern, with more than two-thirds of respondents saying they are “anxious and uncertain” about how they’ll pay for a senior community or home care costs should they need them in the future.
Many in this situation turn to long-term care insurance (also known by the acronym LTCI). Not only does this insurance provide a way to pay for senior care, but it also delivers something equally as important: peace of mind.
The latest “Beyond Dollars” research study from long-term care insurer Genworth Financial indicates how the burden of long-term care can adversely affect the health of the caregiver: 33 percent of caregivers reported an extremely high level of stress, while 43 percent said a long-term care event negatively affected their personal health and well-being. Moreover, more than half of caregivers—55 percent—revealed that they did not feel qualified to provide physical care.
Bringing Back Control
For many families, LTCI brings back the control individuals want in their lives, explains Violet Swenson, online content director for LTC Global Agency LLC, a long-term care insurance agency. “LTCI grants the care and attention a person deserves without burning a hole in both the parents’ and their adult children’s pockets.”
Indeed, the Genworth survey indicated that LTCI helped relieve stress, with 59 percent of caregivers and 49 percent of care recipients with LTCI reporting they felt significantly less stress than non-owners. Nearly half of those with the insurance said they felt better prepared to deal with a potential long-term care event.
LTCI takes the uncertainty out of planning for long-term care, which is an important factor considering that most families don’t have a clear picture of the expense. “People tend to underestimate future/retirement costs,” says Swenson, citing a recent HSBC study revealing that most pre-retirees tend to spend more than they expect for their future.
Those who have LTCI protect the assets that otherwise might be vulnerable to long-term care costs. “Life savings come to mind first—years of hard work to build a nest egg can be protected,” she says, adding that adult children or home caregivers are also protected. “A majority of adult children never planned to provide financial assistance for their parents. LTCI covers and secures the custodial care, allowing policy owners a flexible and practical way to live their lives.”
Heading Off Conflict
Another benefit of LTCI is that it can head off potential family conflict while giving policy owners a sense of freedom that they can do what they want in their retirement years. “It’s one less worry off their minds,” Swenson explains. “Family members face less stress with their parents being covered; professional help is assured if senior living is considered to be the place to receive care.”
Consequently, LTCI makes retirement less worrisome and a more enjoyable time of life. As Swenson concludes, “Aside from the time, stress, and financial issues resolved with a parent being covered by LTCI, family members can now focus on and develop their individual lives—seeking out employment opportunities, building and keeping relationships with family and friends, and pursuing their passions.”
SHARE YOUR STORY: Do you have long-term care insurance? How has it helped your family in terms of emotional comfort and peace of mind?