11:31 AM

Survey: Women Over 50 Favor Home-Based Long-Term Care but Fear Costs

Columbus, OH - As long-term care costs continue to increase, a newly released survey (PDF) shows that two in three women over 50 (67 percent) prefer to receive this care at home during retirement, but more than half are skeptical of that outcome.

“Today, baby boomers on the cusp of retirement tell us there is a material gap between how they hope to receive long-term care assistance if and when needed, and how they believe they will actually receive care,” said Roberta Eckert, vice president of the Nationwide Retirement Institute®.

According to a Nationwide Retirement Institute survey, 75 percent of women over 50 are concerned about having money to cover long-term care (LTC) costs. Many (73 percent) want to receive care in a familiar setting – at home or in a family member’s home, but this type of care can often be both emotionally and financially straining.

On behalf of Nationwide, Harris Poll conducted an online survey last fall among 1,316 adults over age 50, including 676 women. The survey revealed 57 percent of these women would not be able to cover an unplanned expense above $1,000, while nearly two in five (39 percent) could not afford an expense of more than $500.

Just 27 percent are confident in paying health care costs beyond what Medicare covers, which in most cases does not include memory care.1 

“One looming concern is that the vast majority of survey respondents know this gap is a problem, and more planning needs to be done,” said Shawn Britt, director of long-term care initiatives with the Advanced Consulting Group at Nationwide. “Care costs are going up, and cognitive impairments like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and others are becoming key drivers of long-term care insurance claims.” 

Cash indemnity LTC benefits offer flexibility

In an effort to help ease the financial and emotional considerations of providing care and help patients retain their quality of life, Nationwide launched a new LTC solution today. For people with a life insurance need and LTC concerns, life insurance coupled with a LTC Rider may provide the solution they are looking for. Nationwide’s new LTC Rider II allows the death benefit to be accelerated for monthly LTC cash indemnity benefits – which people can use how they see fit – to cover potential LTC expenses. Once their claim is approved, clients have the flexibility to choose how to receive the care they need, from the people they trust, in the place they want to be.

“When it comes to long-term care, most think of injuries from a slip and fall accident,” said Eckert. “But according to the Alzheimer’s Association, for women over 65, long-term care is likely to have more to do with dementia. Of the 5 million people living with Alzheimer’s, two thirds of them are women.”

Caring for an aging spouse or parent with dementia creates unique caregiving challenges and expenses. Alzheimer’s and other cognitive impairments are the top LTC claim for women over 65,1 presenting many families with tough decisions on where and how to care for loved ones.

A diagnosis of dementia or memory loss is difficult for caregivers and loved ones alike. In 2015 more than 15 million caregivers provided an estimated 18.1 billion hours of unpaid care valued at $221.3 billion.1 In 2016, Alzheimer’s cost the nation $236 billion. Family caregivers on average spend more than $5,000 a year from their own pocket to care for someone with Alzheimer’s.1

Hope for patients and caregivers

“When it comes to long-term care solutions, a cash indemnity benefit payout enables a patient to stay where they are familiar – in their home or a community setting of choice – with the option to receive and pay for informal care from family and friends,” Britt added.

According to the survey conducted in the fall, more than half of women over 50 (57 percent) would rather die than live in a nursing home. But patients may be able to delay more formalized facility care with proper planning ahead of time – without becoming a burden to family members. For 59 percent of these women, becoming a burden on their family is a big worry.

“What if you were able to pay your loved ones to take care of you?” said Britt. “Receiving care at home, especially care for cognitive conditions takes a lot of planning. However, the reward is a possible delay in moving Mom to a facility if she can remain in a place with long-term memories and familiar surroundings and people.”

While sometimes less expensive with family support, care at home still takes proper funding, and that’s where LTC coverage may help. 

Talk with an advisor

The average life expectancy for women is 86, with one in four reaching age 92.2 Longevity increases the chance of needing LTC services, which is yet another reason why it’s especially important for women to include planning for LTC costs in retirement.

Though few women age 50 or older (12 percent) have discussed LTC costs with a financial advisor, nearly three in four women over 50 who have discussed retirement with a financial advisor (73 percent) also plan to discuss LTC costs with them.

“The good news is the majority of these women with a financial advisor say they plan to have these discussions,” Eckert said. “Financial advisors can play a major role in helping women and men plan for and live in retirement by providing a fact-based estimate of their long-term care costs and setting up a plan to pay for those costs.”

To simplify this complicated issue and encourage discussions around health care costs in retirement, Nationwide’s Personalized Health Care Assessment (PDF) uses proprietary health risk analysis and updated actuarial cost data such as personal health and lifestyle information, health care costs, and medical coverage to provide a meaningful, personalized cost estimate that will help advisors and clients plan for future medical and LTC expenses.

Women can also visit www.nationwide.com/womenandinvesting for additional retirement planning resources.


This survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of The Nationwide Retirement Institute between September 14 and September 22, 2016, among 1,316 U.S. adults aged 50 or older, including 676 women, of whom, 170 have discussed retirement with a financial advisor. Results are weighted to be representative of U.S. adults over 50.

About Nationwide

Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the United States. Nationwide is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. An industry leader in driving customer-focused innovation, Nationwide provides a full range of insurance and financial services products including auto, business, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.