Game Plan for Care: Genworth Shares Caregivers’ Top 5 Lessons Learned
Amid career- and money-related concerns, study uncovers practical advice for would-be caregivers
PR Newswire, Richmond, VA (November 19, 2015)
Plan Better. That’s the No. 1 piece of advice caregivers shared as they reflected on the challenges of navigating their roles without the proper resources and planning, according to Genworth’s recent Beyond Dollars study.
Genworth is sharing the treasure-trove of advice gleaned from more than 1,200 caregivers and care recipients this November as the nation observes Long Term Care Awareness and National Family Caregivers months.
“Our conversations with caregivers have unearthed a number of powerful storylines that will help families provide the best care experience for loved ones while safeguarding their own needs,” said Suly Salazar-Layton, director of Thought Leadership at Genworth’s U.S. Life Insurance Division. “As we recognize the undeniable strength, commitment and amazing spirit of caregivers this November and throughout the year, it was only fitting to curate and share these learnings.”
The burden on caregivers continues to rise as they report missing 19 percent more work than they did when surveyed two years ago and paying 20 percent more in out-of-pocket expenses for care-related expenses compared with five years ago. As reported earlier, caregiving also can have a significant impact on careers.
In hindsight, more than half of caregivers and care recipients surveyed said they would have done things differently. Genworth collected the top five lessons learned in a playbook of actionable tips designed to help alleviate core financial and emotional roadblocks that many caregivers struggle to manage:
A Game Plan for Care:
While almost half of all care recipients (48 percent) had considered the possibility of the need for long term care, only 26 percent actually made a plan to cover their potential needs. Even among those who did make plans, 63 percent said that they wished they had taken steps sooner. Not planning led to stress that could have been avoided, additional health issues, hasty decisions, financial strain on the family’s budget and the care recipient no longer being able to express their preferences. Respondents who wished they had planned sooner estimated that they could have saved $8,000 of the $10,000 in out-of-pocket expenses caregivers pay annually. Lesson? Start planning sooner rather than later.
Ask others for help so you can get a break:
43 percent of caregivers said the demands of their roles had a negative impact on their health and well-being, leading to depression (44%) and extremely high levels of stress (33%). Some talked about being pulled in competing directions and feeling bad about not doing anything well. The lesson: it’s okay for caregivers to ask for the support they need. Sharing the responsibility of caregiving can allow everyone to reflect on and embrace the positive feelings of caring for a loved one.
Create a plan to make the care recipient more comfortable in your own home:
On average, caregivers host care recipients in their home between three to four years. The strong majority (87 percent) of caregivers stated that care recipients require moderate to heavy assistance to stay comfortable in the caregiver’s home. Lesson? Making the necessary household modifications can provide an immeasurable amount of safety and convenience. Doing so may also provide extra help for the caregiver, allowing the caregiver to be present for his or her own family.
Ensure medical directives are in place and have been reviewed by family and friends:
Caregivers emphasized the importance of having medical directives in place and ensuring they have been reviewed with family, friends and, particularly, the caregiver, when it comes to the care recipient’s medical needs. Raising the topic may be the hardest part. For tips on how to start the conversation and develop a specific, actionable plan, check out Genworth’s Let’s Talk page: https://www.genworth.com/lets-talk.html.
Consider the financial options you have available for paying for care:
Generally speaking, there are four ways to obtain long term care services. You can pay for them on your own, rely on family and friends for help, or sign up for Medicaid (if you qualify). Other options may include long term care insurance, or annuities or life insurance with long term care benefits. Keep in mind that it may be best to combine more than one of these solutions to cover your long term care costs. 59 percent of caregivers and 49 percent of care recipients who had long term care insurance reported feeling significantly less stress than non-owners. 47 percent of caregivers of recipients who had long term care insurance felt much better prepared to deal with the situation.
“Caring for a loved one can be one of the most fulfilling things a person can do, but without proper planning and consideration it can bring undue stress to families and individuals,” said Salazar-Layton. “As caregivers in this study so eloquently pointed out, proper planning can lessen the emotional and financial impacts on both caregivers and care recipients.”
- Consumers can find out what the cost of care is in 440 regions across all 50 states by visiting Genworth’s Cost of Care website.
- Genworth’s Let’s Talk website offers tips for initiating conversations about long term care and financial planning with loved ones.
- Consumers looking to plan for their long term care needs can take action by tapping additional educational resources such as the National Advisory Center for Long Term Care Information www.longtermcareinsurance.org.
- Genworth’s Caregiver Support Resource helps families make informed choices about long term care.
About the Study
The study, conducted by Genworth in conjunction with Directive Analytics, a third party survey administrator, in May 2015, included interviews with 1,200 U.S. consumers 21 years of age or older. Respondents either were recipients of long term care, caregivers or had a family member that was a recipient of care greater than 30 days during the previous 12-month period.
- Additional findings from the survey are detailed in the Beyond Dollars Executive Summary.
- Key findings are visually represented in an infographic.
About Genworth Financial
Genworth Financial, Inc. (NYSE: GNW) is a leading Fortune 500 insurance holding company committed to helping families become more financially secure, self-reliant and prepared for the future. Genworth has leadership positions in mortgage insurance and long term care insurance and product offerings in life insurance and fixed annuities that assist consumers in solving their home ownership, insurance and retirement needs. To help families start “the talk” about their futures and long term care planning, Genworth recently completed the first stage of its national #LetsTalk Tour to encourage conversations and information sharing. Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, Genworth traces its roots back to 1871 and became a public company in 2004. For more information, visit genworth.com.
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