Caregivers Come Up Short

July 23, 2001 ( Women are likely to provide long-term care for others, only to be at a loss when faced with their own long-term care needs, a study shows.

The survey, commissioned by the GE Center for Financial Learning, found that:

  • although 80% of caregivers to the elderly are women,
  • more than half the women surveyed have no knowledge of long term care planning, and
  • more than three-quarters don?t want to burden their children with their long term care needs,
  • but only 7% have purchased a long-term care insurance policy to preserve their independence.

In addition, the survey found that:

  • almost two-thirds of female Baby Boomers believe that when the need arises, their spouse will provide them with long term care.
  • but, research shows that 59% of women over 65 will be single, due to divorce, widowhood and increased longevity.

Number of Children

Surprisingly, the study revealed that individuals with only one child place unique familial expectations on them, being four times more likely to believe that they can rely on their child for long-term care needs than those with two or more children.

As a result, this group is more likely to forego planning for long-term care needs.

In contrast, childless adults have the most knowledge of long-term care planning and insurance and are more positive about growing older.

Conducted by the Center for Aging Research & Education (CARE), the study is the first in a series on the retirement experience. The sample comprised 1,000 men and women between the ages of 18 and 80.