Ignorance is bliss!  The baby boomers, turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day, seem to be fooling themselves into believing they won’t need long term care during their lifetime.

In a recent study conducted by Genworth Financial (the 2011 Financial Reality Check Study), one of the larger providers of long term care insurance, less than 33% of the respondents believe it is only somewhat likely that they will need long term care.  Only 7% think it is “extremely likely” they will need long term care.

The reality of long term care is quite different from the wishful thinking exposed by the Genworth study.

According to Medicare.gov:

        1.    This year more than 9 million men and women over the age of 65 will require long term care.

        2.    By 2020 (just 8 years away), more than 12 million Americans will need long term care.

        3.    People who reach age 65 (10,000 new ones everyday), have about a 40% chance of entering a nursing home, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Long term care is not only expensive, whether the care occurs in home, or in an institutional setting, it is also costly emotionally, mentally and financially for those providing long term care to family members.  For more information on the impact of long term care other than the out of pocket costs, Genworth has prepared “Beyond Dollars.”

Here are some statistics from that publication:

            88% of recipients of long term care said their household income was reduced by an average 34% due to the long term care event

            60% reported a need to cut back on family expenses after a long term care event

            63% said they reduced their savings by an average of 61% reduction

            49% of long term care recipients said they had not considered the possibility of needing long term care

            29% of care recipients required care for 3 years or more

Here are some quotes from family members of long term care recipients that are found in Beyond Dollars:     

            “Anger at my brother and sister for not helping more with our dad . . . Stress with my wife over how much of ‘our time’ this was taking up.”

            “Since my mom lives with us, we now have someone else in the house, plus caregivers 12 hours a day.  For the first 38 years of our marriage, it was just my husband and I . . . This has required a change for both of us.”

            “We expected things to change . . . But the reality of careing for someone 24/7 changes life the way you know it.  It’s nothing like I imagined.”

All of these quotes could have come from many of our clients who deal with long term care issues already.  Blissful ignorance by the aging baby boomers is not going to take away the reality of long term care and its costs, both financial and otherwise.

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