Special Considerations for Women in Planning for Their Older Years

This is a guest post from Lisa Wendt. As the president and chief executive officer of LifeSecure, Lisa is actively involved in long-term care insurance industry leadership and advocacy efforts.

Planning for your older years is something everyone should consider, but there are special considerations if you’re a woman. Women are at greater risk of living in poverty than men during their older years.  Even if you’re part of a happy couple, planning for your older years is in every woman’s best interest.

Four Reasons Women Should Take Extra Care in Planning For Their Older Years

1. Women Live Longer Than Men

Women outlive men; however, longevity is a double-edged sword. Associated with longer lives is an increase in frailty and the need for long term care services. Because many older women are widowed or live alone, there is no one there to provide their long-term care. 

2. Women Use More Long-Term Care Services

Did you know more than 70 percent of nursing home residents are women? And that women spend twice as many years in a disabled state as men at the end of their lives? Many are left impoverished as a result.

Lisa Wendt
Lisa Wendt

3. Women Are The Nation’s Caregivers

Women remain the primary caregivers in society, spending a significant part of their adult lives providing care. Approximately 75 percent of those providing home care are female — most often a daughter. As a result, women move in and out of the work force and, according to the Social Security Administration, experience 12 fewer years of earnings.

4. Elderly Women Are Highly Vulnerable To Poverty

Women often run out of financial resources late in life. Divorced or single older women are most vulnerable, because they typically have lower incomes and fewer resources. Additionally, it is not uncommon for married women to use retirement savings to pay for an ailing partner’s long-term care needs, leaving little or nothing for themselves.

The month of May is designated by the U.S. Administration on Aging as Older American’s Month to encourage support for America’s seniors. It also provides an opportunity to highlight the aging challenges that are unique to women.

I encourage every woman to prepare now for a secure, worry-less future. Too often, the difficult decisions around long-term care for aging loved ones are made at the last minute under great stress. What are you doing to make sure your needs are taken care of as you become older?

Photo by Arlington County.

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