The second poll in a series of retirement pulse polls by Sun Life Financial suggests that discomfort over aging and hopes of remaining independent throughout the golden years prevent many Americans from planning long-term care. “Shut Your Eyes and Hope for The Best: American Attitudes Toward Long Term Care Planning,” surveys both mainstream and affluent Americans age 50 and older.

Sun Life says this lack of planning and the fact that many respondents don’t think they’ll need assistance is problematic given that the Department of Health and Human Services says 70% of Americans age 65 and older will eventually need some form of assistance with daily living, such as with bathing, dressing or eating.

So what’s preventing adequate planning? Mike Shunney, president of Sun Life Financial Distributors Inc., says fear and wishful thinking paralyzes many people age 50 and older from making contingency plans that can significantly enhance the quality of their final years and, in many cases, conserve their finances. But more than half of Americans aged 50 and older worry about the long-term care costs and don’t feel confident that they’ll be able to meet those costs. In fact, only 16% of the respondents feel financially prepared to finance their long-term care.

“Long term care planning is easy to neglect, since some people will never need such assistance. But neglecting to plan can be expensive, given the rising cost of professional care,” Shunney says. “Instead of hoping for the best, we can all take steps aimed at securing the best possible lifestyle within our means, should we ever need long-term care.”

Carrie Burns writes for Insurance Networking News, a SourceMedia publication.

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