The Beyond Dollars study not only demonstrates the impact a long term care event can have on family members, relationships and savings, it also reveals that the cost of waiting is high. The study finds that on average, families could save nearly $11,000 annually in out of pocket expenses if long term care arrangements were made before an actual long term care event occurred. Those that did not make plans for their long term healthcare needs recognize their mistake as more than half (51 percent) say that steps should have been taken sooner to prepare.
Among the many reasons for not taking steps to plan sooner, 38 percent of care receivers did not want to admit care was needed, 28 percent did not want to talk about it and 23 percent did not know where to start.
Financial and Emotional Toll
By taking on the responsibility of caring for a loved one, caregivers may feel increased stress and health issues that go far beyond the financial toll. The study found that 38 percent of caregivers and 35 percent of care recipients believe stress could have been avoided if care had been received sooner.Looking at the relationship between those who had purchased a long term care insurance policy versus those who did not, Beyond Dollars found that more than half (58 percent) of those without long term care insurance see the benefit in owning a policy and regret not having one. The majority believe long term care insurance would have resulted in relief from the financial burden associated with long term care (59 percent); less strain on family situations (59 percent); and relief from stress on the family (51 percent). "My family faced a long term care crisis when my father became ill and needed nursing home care," said Olympic Gold Medalist Wendy Boglioli, National Spokesperson for Genworth. "This first-hand experience prompted my husband and me to plan well in advance so our children would not have to worry. The consequences of not having a plan are life-changing and the most important first step is having the conversation." Working beyond the psychological and financial barriers many people face in starting to plan, Wendy suggests initiating the conversation by:
- Think past the present: Create long-term goals to cultivate an interest in your family's financial future
- Enlist an expert: Develop a team that includes an Elder Care Attorney, Financial Professional and Tax Accountant to help your family understand the ins-and-outs of planning for long term care; don't try to do it alone
- Consider the realities: Don't assume what would work today will also work in 10 or 20 years from now, take into affect your family's availability and their impact
- Put a plan in writing: Having a written plan allows you to monitor goals and adjust your plan to help stay on track
- Tell your family: Have an open dialogue with your family on your needs and goals for long term care in order to have a team by your side that understands your plan