The Southern Berks News
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent survey from diversified financial services leader, Thrivent, found that perceptions toward extended care planning haven’t changed, and a significant percentage of Americans have not documented their plans, should the need for extended care arise.
The survey defined extended care as non-medical care for those who need assistance with basic daily activities such as dressing, bathing or using the bathroom due to a physical or cognitive impairment. This research was conducted in partnership with data intelligence company, Morning Consult, and polled 2,200 adults across the country between March 11-15, 2021.
Although the pandemic magnified the impact of long-term care on individuals and their caregivers’ daily lives, more than half of survey respondents (51%) said COVID-19 did not change their approach to extended care planning at all. This is especially concerning when considering the survey’s broader insights, which found that 70% of Americans have no documented their plans for extended care. Overall, these survey results reinforce the lack of awareness and the need for additional conversation around this important topic that will statistically affect a majority of Americans and their families (Family Caregiver Alliance — Selected LongTerm Care Statistics: https://www.caregiver.org/resource/selectedlong-term-care-statistics/)
According to Thrivent’s 2021 Extended Care Planning Survey, a mere 18% of respondents said COVID-19 made them realize having a plan is more important than ever. Only 12% said the pandemic led them to have a conversation with their spouse and/or immediate family about extended care for themselves of a loved one.
Survey findings reveal 70% of Americans don’t have a documented extended care plan in place for themselves or a family member. In addition, 78% of Americans over the age of 45 report they have no plan in place, even though the likelihood of needing extended care increases with age. Furthermore, 59% of Americans haven’t spoken to anyone about creating such a plan.
“This pandemic has truly underscored the importance of having a comprehensive financial strategy in place,” said John Lauer, financial associate with Thrivent in Morgantown. “One of the key takeaways from our survey is that extended care planning should be incorporated into financial strategy discussions early on so that if the unthinkable happens, people are prepared to make decisions about their care — for themselves and their loved ones.”
Many are unsure about how they would fund their care: 75% of survey respondents said it would be difficult to pay for long-term care and more than half (52%) revealed they wouldn’t be able to fund their care if they needed it today.
“As the survey results show, there’s an opportunity to start having meaningful conversations about extended care,” said Lauer. “By incorporating this as part of an overall financial strategy, individuals and families can plan for extended care while also considering their long-term goals and their values. They’ll also be giving a gift to their loved ones — with a documented plan in place, their families will know exactly how to abide by their wishes.”
Thrivent’s survey found this level of preparation can pay off: people with a financial strategy are 2.7 times more likely have to have an extended care plan in place than those without. 49% of respondents believe extended care should be included in financial management strategies, only 18% think it should be separate and 32% have no opinion.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted, the unthinkable can happen quickly and without notice. It’s prudent for people to use this time while they’re healthy to start thinking about future care and communicating with loved ones. By doing so, the survey findings suggest they’ll feel closer to achieving financial clarity, enabling a life full of meaning and gratitude.
This article is not intended to be used as a solicitation for long-term care insurance but is instead meant to provide helpful information that reinforces the importance of extended care planning.
This article was prepared by Thrivent for use by local financial professionals.
A diversified financial services organization that helps people achieve financial clarity, Thrivent and its subsidiaries and affiliate companies serve more than 2.3 million clients, offering advice, insurance, investments, banking and generosity products and programs over the phone, online as well as through financial professionals and independent agents nationwide. Thrivent is a Fortune 500 company with $162 billion in assets under management/advisement (as of Dec. 31, 2020). Thrivent carries an A++ (Superior) rating from AM Best, a credit rating agency; this is the highest of the agency’s 13 rating categories and was affirmed in June of 2021. Rating is based on Thrivent’s financial strength and claims-paying ability and does not apply to investment product performance. For more information, visit Thrivent.com.