For many of the 10,000 baby boomers reaching retirement age every day, the idea of needing long-term care is only that: an idea and not a reality. A new poll conducted by the AP-NORC Center For Public Affairs Research shows that two-thirds of baby boomers say they’ve done nothing to plan ahead for the possibility of long-term care costs. Three in 10 say they don’t like thinking about getting old at all.
The numbers show that the aging boomer generation may be living in a bit of a fantasy world. Even though over half of the boomers surveyed said that they have had to provide caregiving services to elderly friends or relatives, few of them have taken practical steps to ensure that their own long-term care needs will be met if and when the time comes.
Government data shows that about seven out of every 10 Americans will require some kind of elder care or long-term care assistance after reaching age 65. Many of these people receive assistance from family members, but others require home health assistants or stays in assisted-living facilities or nursing home environments. Further, the average person who requires long-term care assistance needs it for at least three years.
Part of the problem also lies in how much boomers are expecting to pay for long-term care. Monthly costs for staying in a nursing home can easily exceed $7,000, and many boomers mistakenly believe that Medicare will pay for the expense. While Medicaid will pay for nursing home care for those who qualify, Medicare will not.