In my last blog we addressed this new phenomenon of living to 100 and that the majority of Americans said doing so was one of their goals. While it’s certainly good news that so many people are interested in potentially living this long, the bad news occurs if you aren’t prepared to do so.

Statistically, there’s a nearly 1 in 3 chance a 65-year old female will live to 95; and a 1 in 5 chance a 65-year old male will live to 95. The Social Security Administration states that 1 in 4 Americans 65+ can expect to live past 90; and a 10-year old child today has a 50% chance of living to 104. That’s a lot of people living long … the bad news is there’s a 50% chance that some form of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s will accompany the 85+ population – which is the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population.

It’s good news that more and more people understand this – either from their own personal experience or knowing others who are dealing with it. The bad news however, is that Alzheimer’s is the number one fear among older adults – and understandably when we look at the numbers:

• Alzheimer’s is 100% incurable and 100% fatal;
• Every 70 seconds another American family is affected by it;
• Currently 5.7 million Americans have the disease, two-thirds of which are women and an estimated 40% increase in the next 10 years;
• 10+ million people are caring for a loved one with the disease – many of whom are over the age of 65 themselves;
• Over $277 Billion was spent on care in 2018 alone — $90 billion of which came out of the pockets of American families

The news doesn’t get any better with the long-term care (LTC) story:

• 70% of people 65+ will need some form of LTC, yet 70% don’t believe it will be them;
• An estimated 65 million family caregivers provide 80% of their care – at an extraordinary toll – mentally, physically, and financially;
• The 65+ population is the fastest growing segment seeking bankruptcy protection over the last 20 years – the 65+ is up 150% and the 75+ is up 433% — all due to unexpected and unprepared for healthcare costs.

So while it’s great news that we’re living long, the bad news is there’s likely to be a huge uptick in healthcare costs if we’re not prepared. However, 75% of Americans say helping them sort through their healthcare and LTC options is the best solution to all this – if they just do it! But the more we understand both the possibilities of this along with the emotional, physical, and economic toll these conditions can take on loved ones, the more we can prepare for our own futures so we don’t become a burden to the people we love the most.

Being November is both National Alzheimer’s Awareness month and LTC Awareness month, now is a good time to address this issue because if you don’t it could be really bad news … for more than just you.