44 Experts Say This Will Happen to You If You Live in Denial

Denial of Aging

A survey sponsored by Genworth asked Americans, "Will you need long-term care as you get older?" 63% replied, "No."

Yet, in a study headed up by the Inquiry, they found that 7 out of 10 Americans will need long-term care after turning 65. Why the discrepancy?

Dr. Bill Thomas, a renowned leader in aging, says it's because, "Human beings have a very limited ability to accurately predict or even imagine the needs of their future self. It is especially true when that future contains scary possibilities."

The Problem with Ignoring the Aging Issue

There's nothing wrong in ignoring the need for long-term care if you don't mind living the last few years of life in an institution. If you don't prepare for future care needs, you're headed for a bed in a nursing home paid by your state's Medicaid program. What are the real chances of this happening? Estimates of the risk of any long-term care use after turning age 65 are between 35% and 55%. (Source: Inquiry)

The best way to prepare for your future aging care needs is to save a lot of money. Then you can freely choose how you want to live out the last few years of life. But since 63% of Americans believe they won't need any care at all after 65, more than likely they will not save any money for it either. The Inquiry showed that 50% of retirees will have no private out-of-pocket expenditures for long-term care, but one in 20 is projected to spend $100,000 or more of their money on it.

If the experts can prove that you will need long-term care, and you continue to say you won't, you're in denial, and it's time to snap out of it.

44 Experts Report this if Denial Persists

Experts in Aging Feedback

Are you willing to gamble with the level of care you will eventually need? What makes you so positive that you will fall into the 30% category who will not need any care at all? If you're one of the people who willingly throws the dice on needing help later, here's what 44 experts have to say to you:

  1. "People who are prepared get to choose the kinds of care they will receive and who will deliver that care. People who are not prepared get care that is chosen by someone else."
  2. "The consequences for individuals and families is a tremendous strain on their finances and relationships, but one that's eventually rescued by Medicaid."
  3. "People without assets will most likely be immediately eligible for Medicaid, which is a means-tested state and federal poverty program."
  4. "Unfortunately, many people find themselves in the midst of a crisis and suddenly have to navigate an incredibly complex and fragmented system of care and services."
  5. "People never expected this to "happen to me" and don't have ideas in place for what to do now."
  6. "The biggest issue is money. If you have enough money, you have options as you age. If you don't have any money, the system will help take care of you."
  7. "Simply put Medicaid and the hope of getting care."
  8. "If you don't plan or prepare at all, consequences include added, unnecessary stress, family or relational rifts, caregiving shortages, and major health care crises."
  9. "Those who cannot afford the cost of in-home care, medical costs, prescription drugs, and durable medical equipment will have to live how and where government care as the last resort provides."
  10. "Care costs a great deal. Most have no idea, how much we are talking about. This is true whether it is in a community or at home."
  11. "Today, disability and disease mean something different than in previous decades--where once we could expect the relief of death. Now we can expect a reduced quality of life for an extended period. This suggests that long-term care planning should be more than just securing support in the last few years of life."
  12. "Devastation for some families. Living in substandard housing, choosing between buying medications, food, and services."
  13. "If you are not prepared financially, you may have to go to a nursing home as opposed to the luxury of being cared for at home. In addition, not having sufficient funds may limit your choices of nursing homes and locations to go to."
  14. "The loss of choice and control over long-term care placement that ultimately affects the care quality on receives and quality of life for the person."
  15. "When families have fewer options due to lack of preparation and financial constraints, it just makes conflict and hard choices more likely."
  16. "People are shocked that in-home care is not covered by Medicare, that it is an out-of-pocket expense."
  17. "Individuals who aren't financially prepared will end up sharing a room with a stranger in an SSI bed or a low-income housing unit. This becomes the only option available."
  18. "Ill-preparedness brings on severe emotional, physical and financial drain on governments, families, caregivers, insurance, and the public."
  19. "The greatest consequence will be a substandard experience in the care and environment when they can no longer take care of themselves."
  20. "Family members often find themselves being put into the caregiver role, either in their own home or that of the family member needing assistance. The family member(s) providing the care can also find themselves paying out of their pocket for their family member's care."
  21. "It's going to be one of the two things - somebody steps in or nobody steps in."
  22. "Your children and family who you promised to love and provide will now have to postpone or give up their job and career opportunities to take care of you."
  23. There is not enough discussion on what long-term care is. It's not just "nursing homes."
  24. "If you do not choose an insurance company, oneis chosenfor you. It's the 'Medicaid Insurance Company,' and most people are dependent on it, even though they wish we weren't."
  25. "With the average cost of care in excess of $75,000 per year, they soon find themselves quickly burning through even the best laid financial or retirement plans."
  26. "The cost of home care vs. facility care is about the same. In either case you can quickly run through the money you thought you would be using for a comfortable retirement."
  27. "The entire family can be wiped out financially, emotionally, and otherwise. That's a high price to pay for keeping your head in the sand."
  28. "Making a decision when pressed for time may lead to inappropriate or inadequate care."
  29. "People are emotionally unprepared for the experience in many ways, such as needing physical help from others, re-learning tasks like walking in rehab, relying on family members to take care of finances, etc. It is incredibly stressful."
  30. "Bankruptcy."
  31. "What we see dealing with clients who are, for whatever reason, unprepared for long-term care, is shock, confusion, depression and despair."
  32. "Their spouses and families are overnight forced into situations they never dreamed of: loss of the home; depletion of savings; impoverishment of the well spouse."
  33. "Financially, without planning for the future, including the possibility of chronic care needs, people find themselves without the funds to pay for needed care."
  34. "It is frightening what deplorable conditions people are forced to live in when they cannot afford care."
  35. "Our closest friends, neighbors and family members end up becoming our "informal" caregivers."
  36. "Not preparing for long-term services may result in the older adult living in a facility they would not otherwise choose to live in."
  37. "Long-term care planning provides future choices and a feeling of control over some of the most importance decisions we will all face in our final years."
  38. "Facing the heart-wrenching decision of being forced to move from a home into LTC without being psychologically prepared."
  39. "As a pharmacist, I find that at some point during a patient's care, they are no longer able to manage their own medications and it forces them into institutional living."
  40. "Social security won't save us. Our kids won't house us. And, our savings won't cover us. We risk state-institutionalization on a massive scale."
  41. "Medicaid, loss of choices for optimal long-term care and a major reduction in quality of life."
  42. "The consequences are chaos, crisis, stymie, and shoot-from-the-hip (and you may be a bad shot), the take-what-is-available."
  43. "Diminished quality of life, increasing stress and burden on families."
  44. "Folks give away their power when they do not plan or when a decision, conscious or unconscious, is made not to address this responsibility."

The Experts Say to Do This

How to Plan for Future Care Needs

If you remain open and choose to learn what the aging experts say to do to best prepare for your future care needs, you'll find it's not that difficult and it may help you enjoy the latter years.

  1. "People need to understand that these choices will be made. Preparing now, means that YOU get to make them! Not preparing means that other people (sometimes even people you don't know or don't like) will make them for you."
  2. "Become your own advocate. Put together a plan that includes the proper legal and financial planning paperwork."
  3. "Have consistent talks with your family about your long-term care plan and maintain the ongoing dialogue."
  4. "Build your team of trusted advisors that includes family members, financial planner, estate planning attorney, etc."
  5. "Knowledge is power. Seek input and advice from those with both positive and negative long-term care experiences."
  6. "Take care of yourself while you can. Make healthy choices to reduce risks and maximize your health."
  7. "Save money. Save money. Assuming you don't get an opportunity to have more children!"
  8. "Start the conversation about the future with aging parents now so everyone can agree on a course of action before the unthinkable happens."
  9. "Americans of all ages can start having conversations with their families about what aging with dignity means to them, and what their needs and values are as they age."
  10. "Talk to people who've had positive and negative experiences with long-term care and learn from those experiences."
  11. "Think about and talk about how you want your end of life experience to be."
  12. "Start small. The 5 Wishes Document is a great place to start: outlining your five top preferences for care at the end of life sets the foundation on which to build the rest of your long-term care plan."

Want to learn more? Get full access to the report and learn who the 44 experts are and all of their wise opinions and suggestions: America has a Major Misconceptions on Aging.



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