Why Women Should Plan for Long-Term Care

group of women
Lori Gubash, CLTC, FICF
Lori Gubash, CLTC, FICF May 8, 2023

Lori leads the LTC team and acts as a liaison to ensure we are providing the best possible Long-Term Care Insurance and business development solutions for our agents and their senior clients.

As Mother’s Day approaches, we celebrate the beloved mothers and women in our lives. Did you know women make up the majority of our nation’s caregivers? Many of them begin their caregiving journey as mothers raising their children. Then, they become caregivers for their parents and or parents-in-law as their health deteriorates. Their caregiving responsibilities are a lifelong commitment that ebbs and flows over the years. While all people can benefit from long-term care planning, women in particular face significant challenges when it comes to living independently as they age, including unique health and financial issues. Women live longer, earn less on average, and spend less time in the workforce as compared to men.

Here are six reasons why you should encourage your female clients, in particular, to make long-term care planning a priority:

1. Women live longer than men.

On average, women outlive men by about five years, meaning married women tend to outlive their husbands. Women who reach age 65 can expect to live an average of 20 more years and those who reach age 75, an additional 13 years. A third of long-term care insurance claims begin between ages 70 and 79, and over half (55%) begin after age 80. More than two-thirds of Americans aged 85 or older are women, and as we age, the more likely we are to need long-term care services.

Read More: The Risk of Longevity

2. Women need more long-term care than men.

Women receive long-term care services for an average of 3.7 years, whereas men use 2.2 years on average.¹ In fact, more than 70% of nursing home residents are women,² and the average age of admission is 80. Over three-fourths of residents in assisted living facilities are women, and their average age of admission is 85.7. Almost two-thirds of formal (paid) home care users and informal (unpaid) care recipients are women. Among people aged 75 or older, women are 60% more likely than men to need help with one or more activities of daily living such as eating, bathing, dressing, or getting around their home. Chronic health issues such as diabetes, arthritis, eye diseases, or cognitive impairment may occur simultaneously and affect their ability to care for themselves.

3. Women are often alone.

Almost 70% of women aged 75 or older are widowed, divorced, or never married (compared to about 30% for men). By age 85, 75% of married women are widowed, leaving them with less income, higher expenses, and a greater chance of needing professional care without a companion to assist them. The difference in marital status is important. Because women are much more likely to live alone, they have no one in their household to help with daily activities. Nearly half of women aged 75 or older are living alone, compared to less than one-quarter of men.

4. Women have fewer resources.

Women are often hit hard by financial changes caused by caregiving, divorce, widowhood, and job loss. Almost half of women aged 75 or older live alone. On average, their income is only three-quarters of what older men make and less than half of what older couples bring in.

5. Women receive more long-term care insurance benefits.

Roughly two-thirds of the $13.25 billion in long-term care insurance claim benefits were paid for women needing care.³

6. Women are the nation’s caregivers.

Approximately 75% of individuals providing home care are women. When women become caregivers, they are 2.5 times more likely to end up in poverty and five times more likely to depend on Social Security. Also, it’s important for women to be aware of the physical, emotional, and mental toll caregiving can take. Often, caregivers wind up burnt out or needing care themselves.

As you celebrate Mother’s Day this year, give thanks to the caregivers that surround us each day. For more information on the long-term care insurance policies available in your state, please contact our LTCI team at (800) 255-1932.

1. How Much Care Will You Need?, Administration for Community Living, February 2020, https://acl.gov/ltc/basic-needs/how-much-care-will-you-need

2. An Overview of Nursing Home Facilities: Data from the 1997 National Nursing Home Survey, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 2000, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/00facts/nurshome.htm

3. Paid Long-Term Care Insurance 2022 Claims Grow, American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, 2022, https://www.aaltci.org/news/long-term-care-insurance-association-news/paid-long-term-care-insurance-2022-claims-grow