1.Higher Risk of Dementia
Sad but true. Women have a higher risk of dementia than men. There are a number of different reasons for this. For starters, women outlive men and with that longevity comes the increased risk of dementia.
6 Times More Likely to Develop Dementia
“Researchers followed 1,221 married couples in Utah who were 65 and older for up to 12 years, tracking dementia diagnoses in the group. Among the 255 people who developed dementia, researchers found that their spouses were six times more likely to be diagnosed with dementia themselves, compared to those who didn’t have a spouse with dementia” Everyday Health
Additionally, women provide a large proportion of care to people with dementia. In fact, about two thirds of primary caregivers are women. They care for parents, siblings, aunts and uncles and spouses.
Stress and isolation may be partly to blame for this. The emotional toll that caring for someone with dementia puts on a caregiver is high. Dealing with the caregiving duties without help may be impossible.
Bringing in Help
Those who can afford to bring in extra help or who have a Long-Term Care Policy that will pay for the help may fare better. Being able to get away from the situation at home can reduce the stress in a family caregiver. Studies have shown that certain lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of dementia. These include, exercise, stress management and social interactions. Having someone else care for your loved one several days each week will allow you to exercise and maybe have lunch with some friends. This will help to lower your stress levels also.
2. Outlive Their Husbands
When a woman loses her husband she also loses half of the social security benefits they were collecting together. However most of her bills remain the same. Rent, utilities, food, medicine and transportation continue. As she ages she may have more medical needs. Without a husband to help she may also need assistance around the house to do daily chores.
“ When Dan was alive we worked together. Grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning. Now I have to do it all by myself. Sometimes it’s just easier to have a bowl of cereal than to fix a good meal. My arthritis has gotten worse and going the grocery store has become a challenge some days.” ~ Serena
Age is a Factor
The truth is as we age our risk goes up. It is not uncommon to go into a nursing home and find a number of people, especially women, in their 90’s and 100’s.
3. No Children or Estranged from Children
An estimated 1 in 5 Boomers do not have children. No one knows the percentage who may be estranged for their children. Though children do not guarantee that you will be well cared for in your old age it is a safety cushion for many. If you never had children or you are estranged from your children there is even more reason to have a solid plan in place. That plan should include a visit to an Elder Law Attorney to get your affairs in order. You should also consider purchasing a Long-term care policy to help pay for costly care services down the road.
4. Higher Risk of Chronic Illness
Women suffer higher rates of chronic illnesses than men. Many of these can be debilitating. Arthritis, lupus, MS, diabetes, COPD and more can make daily life a challenge as we grow older.
“Just doing simple things like fixing a can of soup for lunch will sometimes exhaust me.” Carol, a COPD sufferer.
“Getting dressed can be so painful some days that I just stay in my pajamas and do not answer the door.” ~ Kathryn, an Arthritis sufferer.
Living with a chronic illness has also been associated with higher rates of depression. One of the reasons may be the isolation a sufferer may experience. As we age with chronic illness the need for assistance increases. Unfortunately, so has the cost of this care. For many people, bringing in care is not an option. Their income is low. However, with a long term care policy they could get the care they need.
As Certified Long-Term Care professionals since 2003, and members of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, both Sue and Allison have the training, knowledge, and experience to help you understand your options.
Sue Myers and Allison Younger
With over 20 years of experience, both women are committed to ensuring that their client’s long-term care needs are met while their wealth is protected.