Find comfort in the unexpected with long-term care planning

Americans are living longer than ever before—and while this means you can spend more time in retirement with your loved ones, longer lifespans also bring a greater risk of medical problems. 

Article highlights

  • Long-term care & women
  • Impacts on your savings
  • Planning for future expenses

Nearly 61 percent of Americans aged 65 or older have multiple chronic conditions.1 Cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s often require a greater need for care, which means costs can accumulate—and consume retirement savings—quickly.

While these expenses in retirement affect both men and women, the need for long-term care tends to take more of a toll on women. Not only do women, on average, live longer than men, but they are more likely to take on the caregiving responsibilities creating financial strains on both ends. 

Considering your options for dealing with long-term care expenses now, can help relieve some of that burden for you and your loved ones. You can also talk with an advisor on how you can prepare for some of the following financial challenges. 

Becoming an unpaid family caregiver

While you want to ensure your loved ones are cared for, the unexpected demand of caregiving can be taxing. On average, caregivers spend 24.4 hours per week providing care to their loved ones, and nearly one-quarter provide 41 or more hours of care.2 Those who spend a substantial amount of time as a caregiver are also more likely to experience emotional stress, physical strain, and impacts on their finances.

Half of working women who have left their job to take care of a family member are concerned about the impact it will have on their financial security. In fact, women in their 50s who stopped working to provide care lost an average of $324,044 in compensation.3 When it comes to retirement, every dollar counts, and not having this income later in life can affect what kind of future you can afford. Remember, there are financial resources that can offer solutions for some of the difficulties you face as you care for a loved one.

Covering the cost of longevity

On average, today’s women are living to age 86,4 so their retirement plan should accommodate expenses related to any long-term care needs.

For those who believe they can plan on covering healthcare costs themselves, it’s important to understand the financial risk; care is not cheap. A private room in a nursing home costs, on average, more than $99,000 a year. Additionally, if you are planning to stay at home with assistance, the national average hourly rate for home healthcare can range from $23 per hour to $139 per hour. You may be surprised that Medicare doesn’t cover all of a retiree’s total health care expenses. An advisor can work with you find solutions that can help you manage these expenses.

An unexpected event can divert even the most thoughtful retirement income savings strategy. Including long-term care as part of your plan can help offer you and your family some assurance about the decisions you need to make.

As you think about the future, it’s important to consider not only how to cover the costs of caregiving, but also how to plan ahead for your loved ones so they aren’t obligated to do the same. While no one knows what lies ahead, you can plan for the unexpected.

Learn more about planning for long-term care expenses and talk to your advisor about how you can include long-term care protection in your retirement plan.

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1“Living Longer. Living Healthier? Tips for Better Aging Infographic.” National Institute on Aging. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Accessed August 15, 2017.

2“Caregiving in the U.S.” AARP. June 2015.

3“Half of Working Women Have Taken Leave to Care for Family.” LIMRA. September 20, 2016.

4“Calculators: Life Expectancy.” Social Security Administration. Accessed August 15, 2017.