Who Will Be Your Caregiver in Old Age? Americans Weigh In

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Senior lady with her caregiver
Halfpoint / Shutterstock.com

If you live to a ripe old age, you might eventually need a caregiver. Few of us like to think of this possibility, yet dependence upon another person is a fact of daily life for many seniors.

Nearly half of us expect our spouse or partner (47%) or our children (43%) to serve as our caregivers should we need such help, according to the Nationwide Retirement Institute. More than 1,300 people age 28 or older with household incomes of at least $75,000 were polled for the institute’s latest annual long-term care survey.

Here is the full list of people survey respondents expect might serve as caregivers:

  • My spouse/partner: 47%
  • My children: 43%
  • A hired caregiver at my home or senior apartment: 27%
  • Staff at an assisted living facility: 21%
  • Family members other than children or grandchildren: 11%
  • My grandchildren: 11%
  • My friends/neighbors/community: 8%
  • Robot/AI: 3%

Overall, Americans do not appear to be overly focused on long-term care planning. Just 17% have discussed the topic with a financial professional.

In addition, 14% of respondents said they have no plans for long-term care, while 4% do not expect to live long enough to need long-term care.

Long-term care is expensive, and nearly three-quarters of survey respondents — 74% — anticipate using personal income and savings to pay for such care.

Another 46% say they will rely on government programs to foot the bill for long-term care services.

A relatively small percentage — 31% — plan to tap into long-term care insurance to pay for these services. Just 1 in 5 survey respondents have purchased long-term care insurance to date, and nearly half of those surveyed — 49% — say the high cost of the insurance is the reason they have not prioritized it.

However, many of these folks overestimated the cost of such coverage, with 20% guessing it was at least $500 a month. Nationwide says the actual average cost could be around $130 a month.

Experts are divided about whether it is wise to purchase long-term care insurance. Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson offers his thoughts in “Should I Buy Long-Term Care Insurance?.”

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