The majority of community members will need some type of long-term care in their lives. Recent research from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows that as many as 75% of all seniors will eventually require extended caregiving. Our New York elder law attorneys have spent years helping local residents prepare for this reality. A growing number of families are becoming cognizant of the importance of having a long-term care plan. However, much more awareness still needs to be raised before all those who likely need to prepare for this care actually do.
As reported in Market Watch last week, a recent poll suggests that discomfort about the aging process is at the root of many American’s failure to properly plan for their long-term well being. The latest data shows that more than half of residents over 50 years old report being worried about paying for long-term care, and only 16% feel confident that they have an adequate plan in place. While few Americans are comfortable with their planning, many still fail to take the preparatory steps necessary to bring peace of mind.
Unfortunately, a “hope for the best” attitude is prevalent among some who are reluctant to plan ahead for this care. One individual involved in the survey explained that the new data “shows that fear and wishful thinking paralyzes many people age 50 and older from making contingency plans that we believe can significantly enhance the quality of their final years and in many cases, conserve their finances.” That fear and wishful thinking may be why there is disconnect between the average individual’s projections about their own need for this special care and the statistical reality. While government data shows as many as 75% of citizens will need long-term care, less than 50% of survey respondents thought that they would personally need the help down the road.
Our New York elder law estate planning lawyers know that a combination of fear about the aging process and unfamiliarity with preparatory options prevents many from creating a strong long-term care plan. Sadly, many of those who have the most to gain from visiting with a professional to learn about their options fail to do so. This is misguided. As the survey author advised, “instead of hoping for the best, we can all take steps aimed at securing the best possible lifestyle within our means, should we ever need long-term care.”
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