RICHMOND, Va., Oct. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- More than half (53 percent) of family members serving as primary caregivers for loved ones have lost income due to the demands of providing care. The study, Beyond Dollars: A Way Forward, also found that caregivers whose loved ones did not have long term care insurance face additional stresses including covering the cost of daily living, medical and other support-type needs.
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"Most families believe they can solve a long term care crisis themselves or that a family member will bear the load of caring for an aging relative," said Bob Bua, President of CareScout, a Genworth company. "This thinking may work for the short term, but over a longer period of time, families will start to feel the burden of stress and guilt affecting the care receiver, caretaker and the entire family."
In light of November's Long Term Awareness Month, Genworth encourages consumers to educate themselves on their long term care options to overcome the personal and psychological pitfalls that arise around money and financial planning.
Regrets and the Cost of not Planning
"People tend to wait for a crisis to hit before recognizing the importance of having a plan in place," said Roger Baumgart, CEO of Home Instead Senior Care. "We plan for marriage, home ownership and other life changing events; families need to plan ahead for what we know to be a very expensive burden in retirement and that's the cost of long term care."
Planning ahead is most common among care receivers who enlisted professional care and is less common among recipients relying on a family caregiver. In fact, the study found that forty percent of those who received care at a day care facility made plans to cover a long term care situation while only 23 percent of those who moved into a family member's home did the same.
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
- Consumers can find out what the cost of care is in 437 regions across all 50 states by visiting Genworth's Cost of Care website.
- Genworth's Let's Talk website offers tips for initiating conversations about long term care and financial planning with loved ones.
- Join Genworth's National Spokesperson and Olympic Gold Medalist, Wendy Boglioli, for discussions on being Financially Sound, Physically Strong at AskWendyB.
- On Genworth Celebrates Caregivers Facebook page, caregivers can have their questions about caregiving challenges answered by a professional care advocate.
- Genworth's Caregiver Support Resource helps families make informed choices about long term care.
About the Study
The study, conducted by Genworth in conjunction with Directive Analytics, a third party survey administrator, in February 2013, included interviews with 1,208 U.S. consumers 25 years of age or older. Respondents either were recipients of long term care or had a family member that was a recipient of care greater than 30 days during the previous 12-month period.
Genworth Financial, Inc. (NYSE: GNW) is a leading Fortune 500 insurance holding company dedicated to helping people secure their financial lives, families and futures. Genworth has leadership positions in offerings that assist consumers in protecting themselves, investing for the future and planning for retirement --including life insurance, long term care insurance, and financial protection coverages --and mortgage insurance that helps consumers achieve home ownership while assisting lenders in managing their risk and capital.
Genworth operates through three divisions: U.S. Life Insurance, which includes life insurance, long term care insurance and fixed annuities; Global Mortgage Insurance, containing U.S. Mortgage Insurance and International Mortgage Insurance segments; and the Corporate and Other division, which includes the International Protection and Runoff segments. Products and services are offered through financial intermediaries, advisors, independent distributors and sales specialists. Genworth, headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, traces its roots back to 1871 and became a public company in 2004. For more information, visit genworth.com. From time to time, Genworth releases important information via postings on its corporate website. Accordingly, investors and other interested parties are encouraged to enroll to receive automatic email alerts and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds regarding new postings. Enrollment information is found under the "Investors" section of genworth.com.