Becoming a Burden is a Fear of 47% of Affluent Seniors

BY Rachel Cagle
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Affluent older Americans have many concerns about long-​term care in retirement and not talking about it may be making matters worse. A new Nationwide Retirement Institute survey reveals that 56% of affluent older Americans would rather die than live in a nursing home, yet 47% fear becoming a burden, with women more likely than men to be worried (52% vs. 42%).

A majority (71%) of the 1,007 U.S. adults age 50 or older with a household income of $150K surveyed online by Harris Poll on Nationwide's behalf say that they would like to have the option of relying on a family member if they needed long-​term care; however, they would not expect help from (70%) or rely on (65%) a family member unless they were able to pay them.

"Affluent adults fear nursing homes but are concerned their care needs will challenge their family if they require caregivers," said Holly Snyder, vice president of Nationwide's life insurance business. "However, these adults are not discussing their long-​term care needs, and not planning ultimately results in fewer options when one does need care."

Concerningly, many older affluent adults are not taking advantage of long-​term care insurance and planning. Only 27% currently have long-​term care insurance for themselves or someone else.

Only 42% are confident in their plan to pay for long-​term care expenses. Despite their concerns, about two in five (39%) have not discussed long-​term care costs with anyone including a spouse, partner, children or financial advisor.

Nationwide's seventh annual survey also included a separate sample of 522 U.S. adults age 50 or older who are or have been caregivers, meaning they have or are now providing paid or unpaid long-​term care to a friend or family member, not through an agency, business or non-​governmental organization. The survey results reveal the challenges of being a caregiver. On average, caregivers spend 56 hours per week fulfilling their role. 

In addition, caregivers often experience financial pain points. Only one in five caregivers (20%) have received any financial support for their efforts and more than half (56%) spend their own money on caregiving expenses. Of those that do, they on average are spending $4,038 a year of their own money on caregiving expenses.

Beyond time and financial commitments, half of caregivers (52%) say they face added stress in balancing things. In addition, 64% say caregiving has negatively impacted their life emotionally and two fifths of caregivers (41%) say that their physical health has been negatively impacted.

The existing opinion of those in potential need of eldercare or nursing homes may be able to be swayed through information they'll find when doing their research on care possibilities. In the last month, according to AudienceSCAN, 40.5% of Eldercare/​Bursing Home Shoppers has used a search engine (92% prefer Google) to research a service they were considering for purchase. Nearly 25% won't venture past the first page of results though.

"This year's survey underscores the challenges caregivers face as a result of their role, including negative impacts to a caregiver's physical, emotional, social and financial well-​being," Snyder added. "Having open conversations with your loved ones better equips everyone involved and allows you to develop an effective long-​term care plan that mitigates negative impacts for caregivers."

Nearly three in four affluent adults (73%) fear out of control health care costs, and 50% are very or somewhat concerned about having enough money to last through their retirement. However, those with an advisor are more likely to say they are confident in their ability to pay for long-​term care expenses compared to those who do not have an advisor (50% versus 35%).

Eldercare /​Nursing Home Shoppers can be reached through a number of digital advertising methods. Last year, according to AudienceSCAN, 72.6% of this audience clicked on a text link ad on a website and 70.8% took action after receiving an email advertisement. They're also 116% more likely than other adults to take action after seeing an ad during an online or printed directory search. Traditional ads are also effective, as 80.3% of this audience took action after seeing a TV commercial last year.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.