The question becomes one of who is really at
risk. It may be that long-term care is primarily a
women's issue. Have you ever visited a nursing home?
Who are the nursing home residents, by and large?
If your experience reflects the published reports,
you know that the nursing home population consists
primarily of elderly women - single, elderly women.
Findings of a study conducted by the Medicaid
Department of the State of New York reveal some
- Eighty percent of nursing home admissions
- The average admission age of these women is
- At age 82, most women are single, or
- Compared to men, women are confined 50
Conclusion: Men die!
If a man doesn't die suddenly, he often becomes
ill and his wife takes care of him until he dies.
Or, his wife cares for him as long as she's able to
so do. When she simply can no longer handle things,
she admits him to a nursing home and shortly
thereafter he dies. Therefore, facility care clearly
seems to be a women's problem. Women bear the most
The Department of Health and Human Services Task
Force on Long Term Care Policies published
length-of-stay figures. The statistics indicate that
52% of all people admitted to nursing homes stay
less than 90 days and 63% stay for less than six
months. What portion are likely to be men? Since
women stay 50% longer than men, we can surmise that
a large percentage of these "short stay" residents
Statistical data was reported in the July/August
1990 issue of Contingencies Magazine, published by
the American Academy of Actuaries, in an article
titled "Who Should Buy Long Term Care Insurance."The
studies show clearly that although there is a
significant risk of financial disaster for men, the
predominant people at risk of losing assets are
single, elderly women.
With couples, there exists a serious risk of
impoverishing a non-institutionalized spouse.
Indeed, there remains the distinct possibility of
"forced spend-down" or erosion of assets to pay for
nursing home care. This causes a depletion of the
assets that might otherwise be available to pass on
the family or gift to charity.