Retirement Confidence, Alzheimer’s, and Long Term Care

Most Americans are not confident in their ability to maintain their lifestyle in retirement, as reported by “Employee Benefit News.”[i]  Although the online publication reported that retirement confidence levels are below 50% no matter the age of the responder, those between ages 40-50 were most likely to say they were ‘not confident’ or ‘completely doubtful’ in their ability to retire in the way they would like.

What is the reason retirement confidence is so low?  For some, it may be an acknowledgement that their jobs may not last as long as they previously thought.  Others who may have thought they were on track for a successful retirement might be shaken by low interest rates and the resulting decline in interest income.  Could the low retirement confidence number be due to a nagging feeling: what was once adequate for retirement has become inadequate – given longer lifespans and the possibility of long term care?

Retirement surveys have historically focused on income in retirement.  It’s easy for individuals to focus on income and overlook the unfunded and uninsured health care expenses that may be incurred in retirement.

Is the awareness that financial health is more than simply retirement income on the rise?  Consider the impact of Alzheimer’s disease, for example.

In the report “2013 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures[ii],” published by the Alzheimer’s Association, we learn:

–        One in 9 people age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s disease;

–        32% of those age 85 and older have Alzheimer’s disease;

–        Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death.

As the report states, “In 2012, 15.4 million caregivers provided an estimated 17.5 billion hours of unpaid care, valued at more than $216 billion.”  That averages 114 hours per year per caregiver. The gloomy news regarding the costs of unpaid and paid caregiving are sobering facts for family members and employers.

When considering whether retirement plans are adequate, the cost of extended long term care must be considered.  Long term care insurance is the only insurance specifically designed to both protect someone against the potentially devastating cost of this care, while making private pay options more affordable.



[i] “OneAmerica survey finds generational retirement ‘confidence donut’ “ as reported on Employee Benefit News