By: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU
Principal, Agent Support Group
Over the last few weeks, I was introduced to some staggering statistics as they relate to Alzheimer’s and other types of Dementia. These figures will greatly impact the way we conduct ourselves as insurance/financial advisors. Here is what I learned:
- In 2016, there were 15.9 Million Informal Caregivers in the U.S. providing care for Alzheimer’s and other types of Dementia. That means that family and friends provided this kind of care.
- This care amounted to 18.2 Billion hours of collective care.
- That amounts to 1,145 hours/caregiver or simplified even further, 22 hours/week.
- This “unpaid” care monetized, is equal to over $230 Billion.
Considering formal care in the same year for Home Health Care and Facility Care combined was over $241 Billion, it’s a fair assumption to say that the above numbers are worthy of our undivided attention. To further the problem, there are more than 5,000,000 Americans living with Alzheimer’s and by the year 2050, it could be as high as 16 Million.
Since the majority of care provided is by family members and friends, it is no wonder that a huge financial toll is realized by these caregivers. As mentioned above, the average time spent caring for these individuals is 22 hours/week. It is presumed that there can be a large amount of wages lost for the time taken to provide care. Also, two thirds of caregivers are women, of which 34% are age 65 or older. What is more troubling is that over 35% of these caregivers have diminished health due to the physical and emotional strain that they endure.
As it relates to the caregivers, it is also noteworthy to mention that 1/4 of them are considered “the sandwich generation,” which means that not only are they caring for an aging parent, but they also have children under the age of 18.
When you look at all of the numbers and process it all, it is very scary. Although there is nothing we can do to take away the anguish of watching as a loved one slips away, we can help ourselves and our clients with proper planning tools and techniques. These approaches can help mitigate some of the financial effects and maybe help alleviate some of the emotional toll that comes with the territory.
Today, we have so many tools at our fingertips. There are many different policy designs offering a number of Chronic Illness & Long Term Care definitions, each covering cognitive impairments as an instant benefit trigger. There are Stand-Alone LTC policies, Life Insurance with CIR/LTC Riders and Blended Life options. Through these different product designs, we can offer so many ways to access benefits and in some cases, they can even be uncapped.
Like I stated when I started this post, the statistics are staggering. This is an alarming crisis facing all of us and we at ASG, are dedicated to assisting you in offering expertise and advice to that growing group of caregivers and their families that are in need of our the products and services that we all provide. The Informality with Informal care needs to change. The more people we tell this story to, the better off we will all be.
Find more of Mark’s Bark’s Blogs on our website: http://www.asglife.com/insurance-view/marks-barks-blog/