America is facing a huge eldercare crisis but nobody seems to realize it. The Washington Post compares expectations to reality in a piece that shows how challenging the aging of America will be:
About 60 percent of adults between 40 and 65 years old don’t think they’ll need need long-term care services, according to a new Health Affairs study. That’s much less than the 70 percent of people at least 65 years old who will need long-term care services at some point either in their home or at a facility, according to a widely cited earlier study from the Georgetown University Long-Term Care Financing Project.
One dimension of this crisis also uncovered by the Health Affairs study is that people are overly optimistic about whether their family or Medicare will be able to take care of them. In reality, however, “37 percent of people over 65 will need at least some facility-based care and 42 percent will need some formal care at home,” and Medicare doesn’t pay very well for nursing homes.Even if people were to think ahead more intelligently, however, the options are not all that great. Buying long-term care insurance when you are younger is one way to face eldercare costs, but both individuals and the government often find it too expensive. The lack of easy solutions to this problem, however, makes it all the more important for us to think more much about it, both individually and as nation, than we currently appear to be doing.