60% of older adults can't afford 2 years of long-term care: 5 notes

A National Council on Aging analysis found 80 percent of older adults are financially struggling or at risk of future financial insecurity, but today's 65-year-old is expected to live another 20 years.

Researchers from the NCOA and LeadingAge LTSS Center at University of Massachusetts Boston analyzed data from the Health and Retirement Study, a longitudinal study of approximately 20,000 people in America. The analysis found most older Americans lack resources to weather a "financial shock" such as long-term care needs, health issues or loss of income due to divorce or widowhood.

The analysis also found:

  1. Someone turning 65 today has an almost 70 percent chance of needing long-term care services and support in their lifetime.

  2. Older adults prefer to age in place; however, 60 percent are unable to afford two years of in-home long-term services and support.

  3. Of people 60 and older, 45 percent had household incomes below the Elder Index — the income older adults need to live independently — for their geography.

  4. Between 2014 and 2016, 90 percent of older households experienced decreased income and net value of wealth.

The report said optimizing Social Security, accessing benefits, improving long-term care and using home equity could help alleviate the financial strain on older adults.

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