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“The pandemic reinforced the importance of having a comprehensive financial strategy that includes chronic and later-life care. However, our survey shows that a majority of people aren’t understanding this,” says Thrivent president and CEO Terry Rasmussen.
The Thrivent survey2 reports that:
- Only 18% of respondents say the COVID-19 pandemic has shown them that having a documented extended care plan is “more important than ever.”
- Almost six out of ten respondents haven’t spoken with anyone about creating such a plan for themselves or others. A mere 12% say the pandemic has spurred a conversation with their spouse and or/immediate family about an extended care for themselves or a loved one.
These findings mirror a
The numbers behind Americans’ lack of long-term care preparedness
More broadly, the Thrivent Extended Care Planning survey2 also reveals longer-standing barriers around long-term care planning.
People say they lack needed funds for a long-term care plan.
Funding their plans appears to be a challenge among respondents:
- Three-quarters of respondents say it would be “difficult” to pay for long-term care.
- Over half (52%) say they wouldn’t be able to fund their care if they needed it today.
But there’s some good news here: 49% of respondents believe that extended care should be a part of financial management plans. That’s a start in the right direction.
There’s an extended-care planning gender gap.
- 77% of women versus 64% of men lack a documented extended care plan for themselves or a loved one.
- 37% of women versus 45% of men have talked with their families about an extended care plan for themselves or others.
- 62% of women versus 42% of men say they wouldn’t be able to fund their care if they needed it today.
Having a documented extended care plan is an important step toward giving yourself and your loved one’s financial clarity at a time when it’ll be needed most.
3 key steps to help get on track with your long-term care plan
“Based on our survey findings, Americans need more education around extended care planning,” said Steve Sperka, vice president of Health Insurance Products and product spokesperson at Thrivent. “Having a documented extended care plan is an important step toward giving yourself and your loved one’s financial clarity at a time when it’ll be needed most.”
Sperka suggests these three steps for getting up to speed on developing a long-term care plan.
1. Consider your care options carefully.
Decide what you would want to happen, should you need long-term care:
- Who will be your primary healthcare decision-maker(s)? Have you designated a healthcare agent or proxy, should you become unable to direct your care?
- Where do you want to be cared for – at home, or in a care facility? This can include anything from home care and assisted living/residential care to adult day care and nursing home care. If you plan to stay at home, Don’t forget to consider any home modifications you may need to receive care.
- How will you fund your extended care? Long-term care insurance is a way to prepare for and help manage the costs associated with extended care, in addition to your existing resources.
2. Talk with your family.
Have a conversation with your family to get their feedback as you develop a plan. By doing so, you’ll know who you can rely on to execute your wishes. Ask your family specific questions, including:
Do any of them want to be actively involved in your daily care and/or be your healthcare agent?
- Are they comfortable with you choosing to receive long-term care at home, if that's what you choose?
During this process, you may also learn that one or more family members is uncomfortable with the possibility of your taking on the duties of a caregiver. If so, take this opportunity to help them work through those fears and concerns.
By talking with your family and close friends about your plan, you’re helping to minimize their uncertainties when the time comes to receive care. This is especially true if your condition prevents you from to discussing your plan in the moment.
3. Plan long-term care costs as part of your overall financial strategy.
The survey reports that people with a financial strategy are almost 2.7 times more likely to have an extended care plan in place than those without. Consult with your financial advisor to discuss your extended care funding options, including long-term care insurance.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted, the unthinkable can happen quickly and without notice, potentially leaving those without a plan in crisis. “At Thrivent, we believe everyone deserves a plan,” says Rasmussen. “When you plan ahead,” she adds, “You’ll feel closer to achieving financial clarity and leading a life full of meaning and gratitude.”
At Thrivent, we believe everyone deserves a plan.
Interested in learning more about Thrivent’s 2021 Extended Care Planning Survey findings?2 Download the