The Southern Berks News

Survey finds most remain unprepared for extended care


Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent survey from diversifie­d financial services leader Thrivent found that perception­s toward extended care planning haven’t changed and a significan­t percentage of Americans have not documented their plans should the need for extended care arise.

The survey defined extended care as non-medical care for those who need assistance with basic daily activities such as dressing, bathing or using the bathroom due to a physical or cognitive impairment. This research was conducted in partnershi­p with data intelligen­ce company Morning Consult and polled 2,200 adults across the country between March 11-15, 2021.

Although the pandemic magnified the impact of long-term care on individual­s and their caregivers’ daily lives, more than half of survey respondent­s (51%) said COVID-19 did not change their approach to extended care planning at all. This is especially concerning when considerin­g the survey’s broader insights, which found that 70% of Americans have not documented their plans for extended care. Overall, these survey results reinforce the lack of awareness and the need for additional conversati­on around this important topic that will statistica­lly affect a majority of Americans and their families (Family Caregiver Alliance — Selected LongTerm Care Statistics: https://www.caregiver. org/resource/selectedlo­ng-term-care-statistics/)

According to Thrivent’s 2021 Extended Care Planning Survey, a mere 18% of respondent­s said COVID-19 made them realize having a plan is more important than ever. Only 12% said the pandemic led them to have a conversati­on with their spouse and or/immediate family about extended care for themselves or a loved one.

Survey findings reveal 70% of Americans don’t have a documented extended care plan in place for themselves or a family member. In addition, 78% of Americans over the age of 45 report they have no plan in place, even though the likelihood of needing extended care increases with age. Furthermor­e, 59% of Americans haven’t spoken to anyone about creating such a plan.

“This pandemic has truly underscore­d the importance of having a comprehens­ive financial strategy in place,” said John Lauer, financial associate with Thrivent in Morgantown. “One of the key takeaways from our survey is that extended care planning should be incorporat­ed into financial strategy discussion­s early on so that if the unthinkabl­e happens, people are prepared to make decisions about their care — for themselves and their loved ones.”

Extended care planning can align with broader financial strategy

Many are unsure about how they would fund their care: 75% of survey respondent­s said it would be difficult to pay for long-term care and more than half (52%) revealed they wouldn’t be able to fund their care if they needed it today.

“As the survey results show, there’s an opportunit­y to start having meaningful conversati­ons about extended care,” said Lauer. “By incorporat­ing this as part of an overall financial strategy, individual­s and families can plan for extended care while also considerin­g their long-term goals and their values. They’ll also be giving a gift to their loved ones — with a documented plan in place, their families will know exactly how to abide by their wishes.”

Thrivent’s survey found this level of preparatio­n can pay off: people with a financial strategy are 2.7 times more likely to have an extended care plan in place than those without. 49% of respondent­s believe extended care should be included in financial management strategies, only 18% think it should be separate and 32% have no opinion.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighte­d, the unthinkabl­e can happen quickly and without notice. It’s prudent for people to use this time while they’re healthy to start thinking about future care and communicat­ing with loved ones. By doing so, the survey findings suggest they’ll feel closer to achieving financial clarity, enabling a life full of meaning and gratitude.

This article is not intended to be used as a solicitati­on for long-term care insurance but is instead meant to provide helpful informatio­n that reinforces the importance of extended care planning.

This article was prepared by Thrivent for use by local financial profession­als Rebecca Wise, 610-839-8955, and Bridgit Holly, 215368-4888, Boyertown, and John Lauer in

Morgantown, 610-2865986. A diversifie­d financial services organizati­on that helps people achieve financial clarity, Thrivent and its subsidiary and affiliate companies serve more than 2.3 million clients, offering advice, insurance, investment­s, banking and generosity products and programs over the phone, online as well as through financial profession­als and independen­t agents nationwide. Thrivent is a Fortune 500 company with $162 billion in assets under management/ advisement (as of Dec. 31, 2020). Thrivent carries an A++ (Superior) rating from AM Best, a credit rating agency; this is the highest of the agency’s 13 rating categories and was affirmed in June of 2021. Rating is based on Thrivent’s financial strength and claimspayi­ng ability and does not apply to investment product performanc­e. For more informatio­n, visit, on Facebook and Twitter.

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