Americans Unprepared for Long Term Care Needs

November 1, 2011 ( - A new study from Northwestern Mutual reveals that nearly eight in 10 Americans acknowledge the increasing need for long term care (LTC) planning, yet nearly half (45%) are “not sure” how they plan to address future LTC needs.  

The study also found that almost two thirds of people believe the cost of providing LTC services will rise faster than the return on their savings, and more than half (53%) believe that long-term care costs will double in the next 14 years. Yet, less than one third (28%) are currently saving for future LTC needs.

According to a press release, when it comes to being a caregiver, more women report that they have been a caregiver than men (27% vs. 22%), particularly women over the age of 45 (36% vs. 28%). Additionally, women are significantly more likely to report that the physical demand of caregiving is their biggest challenge (64% vs. 49%).

Compounding the issue is the fact that women, on average, live five years longer than men, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control. Despite this fact, the study showed that fewer women are saving for their future needs (24% vs. 32%).`

The study found that respondents with caregiving experience are:
•  Almost twice as likely as those who haven’t had caregiving experience to have discussed long term care options with family and friends (43% vs. 23%);
•  Almost twice as likely to have addressed the need for long term care within their retirement plans (30% vs. 17%); and
•  More likely to understand their options and the resources available when it comes to LTC planning (56% vs. 34%).

The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Northwestern Mutual from October 11-13, 2011, among 2,194 American adults ages 18 and older.