AXA Equitable has released helpful tips you can share with your clients this month, which is Long-Term Care Awareness Month. The suggestions are from nationally recognized gerontologist Dr. Sandra Timmermann and are designed to help people complete the retirement puzzle with long-term-care protection.
- Don’t put off a family conversation. Greater numbers of people will need long-term care as longevity rates increase. It is estimated that 52% of Americans who reach age 65 will need some form of long-term-care support. The time to initiate this conversation is when you are healthy and independent – starting a dialogue early will pay off both for you and your family.
- Plan for possible cognitive incapacity. Elderly people who become frail or cognitively impaired may ultimately lose control of the ability to execute their affairs on their own, so; it is important to consider that possibility early in the retirement process. One out of ten people over age 65 have dementia and the ratio increases to about one in two after age 85.
- Evaluate your home to see if it is “age friendly.” 87% of adults age 65+ want to stay in their current home as they get older. One of the major benefits of long-term care coverage is that it can enable people to stay at home longer or until the end of life, so it is important to evaluate how your housing needs might change over time.
- Get to know other resources available in your community. As more people focus on remaining at home as they age, more community-based services are springing up around the country. Towns, cities, and states often provide a range of low or no-cost services such as transportation to doctor’s appointments, home-delivered meals, and adult day care.
- Review your retirement plan to make sure the cost of care is covered. Take time now to calculate how much long-term care will cost and how it will impact your retirement finances, and start the conversation early with your financial professional. Planning in advance for the possibility of needing long-term care in the future can help you focus on building an enjoyable and fulfilling life in retirement.
“One of the most important and least discussed elements of a retirement plan is long-term care protection,” noted Dr. Timmermann. “It is essential to have those difficult discussions early to protect your and your family’s assets and ensure that you are able to age where and how you desire.”
AXA and Dr. Timmermann announced collaboration earlier this fall to deliver materials around aging issues for financial professionals to use with their clients. Dr. Timmermann’s areas of expertise include retirement life stage issues and connecting the dots between aging at home and long-term-care protection.
”We often hear that clients are concerned about their future care needs but don’t know where to start or what benefits long-term-care protection can provide,” said Trey Reynolds, Head of Life Distribution for AXA in the U.S. “At AXA, we see the retirement journey on a multidimensional level, going beyond just the financial aspects, to include overall wellbeing. Our work with Dr. Timmermann allows us to provide clients with the tools and resources needed to think holistically about their personal journeys.”
With longevity rates increasing, the conversation around long-term care is more relevant than ever. It is also important for people to consider the impact it may have on their spouse’s/partner’s and/or children’s financial security.
 U.S Department of Health and Human Services (https://aspe.hhs.gov/basic-report/long-term-services-and-supports-older-americans-risks-and-financing-research-brief)
 Alzheimer’s Association. https://www.alz.org
 AARP Public Policy Institute, “What is Livable? Community Preferences of Older Adults,” April 2014