Connecting the dots: aging at home and LTC protection
Nationally recognized gerontologist and expert on aging and retirement, Dr. Sandra Timmermann, provides us with a new way of presenting the value of long-term care protection products.
Framing the issue: the age 50+ consumer
Why does long-term care planning need to take place now?
- Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are now already retired or thinking about it. There's a large opportunity here as this generation transitions, and they may be good candidates for long-term care discussions.
- Longevity rates are increasing. And as more people live longer, the need for long-term care is greater, since the older you are, the more likely you are to develop chronic health conditions.1 Once a health crisis occurs, it may be too late to provide a good solution.
Because Boomers are good at denying their age (or that aging is happening at all), it is important to guide them into a discussion about health issues and costs that could arise. One good way to do this is to start talking about their home and where they’d like to live.
The link between housing and LTC as clients age
According to AARP, 76% of adults age 50 and over say they want to remain in their homes as they get older.2 It may be possible to make that happen, but the discussions about housing need to happen before a long-term care need itself arises. That way, there is time to plan and make renovations and adjustments so that living at home is possible.
Around 50% of Americans will need some type of long-term care in their lifetime.3 Therefore, it makes sense to plan for the possibility ahead of time. Unfortunately, many people don’t. Why? It’s an unpleasant topic.
One solution is to talk about how the client can age at home, instead of in a nursing home. Many resources are available, if your clients are willing and able to plan ahead.
Helping clients think things through: some strategies
Connecting the dots and helping clients address where they would like to grow older isn’t always an easy discussion. Dr. Timmermann provides some strategies to get you started, including:
- Asking probing questions to get the discussion rolling
- Using psychology in communications, understanding that older people value independence, fear aging and the loss of control and dignity, and are concerned about financial security and their family’s well-being too.
- Work backward, starting with the question, “Where do you think you will live in the last years of your life?”