Being a Burden is a Fear of Women

A great fear of 50+ year-old women is being a burden to their family, either for health care or long-term responsibilities. Of those surveyed, 66 percent of woman are worried they will be a burden as they get older. They want to keep loved ones from worrying, so the majority of women are not talking with their loved ones about health care costs in retirement. “Not talking about long-term care now can do more harm than good since families need to be aware of what they will face if they do not plan ahead for this risk, both emotionally and financially,” according to Shawn Britt, director of long-term care initiatives, advance consulting group at Nationwide. On behalf of Nationwide Retirement Institute, Harris Poll conducted the survey in 2015 that revealed 62 percent of women aged 50 or older haven’t talked to anyone about long-term care costs. The survey revealed these facts among 50+ women:

  1. 67 percent would rather die than live in a nursing home.
  2. 73 percent prefer to get long-term care in their own home, but only 51 percent think they will.
  3. 64 percent say they are “terrified” of what health care costs may do to their retirement plans.
  4. 47 percent are willing to give all their money to their children so they could be eligible for Medicaid-funded long-term care.

There is a positive side to women avoiding the fear of becoming a burden. Increasing numbers of women are discussing retirement with financial advisors and more than half of these women plan to have the talk with their families, according to Roberta Eckert, vice president of the Nationwide Retirement Institute. She states, “Financial advisors can play a major role in helping women 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.” The average life expectancy for women is 86 and one in four will reach age 92; longevity increases the chance of needing long-term care services. Shawn Britt adds that mom is typically the caregiver since being a nurturer is in their DNA, but for many women it is difficult to discuss how the role of caregiver might be reversed when it comes time to need help. That being said, men are also concerned about being a burden with 50 percent expressing this fear.

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