What Every Woman Should Know about Long-Term Care

Why Women May Have More Risk

On average, the difference between men and women’s life expectancies beyond age 65 is 2 ½ years. Women age 65 have a life expectancy of 23 more years (age 88)1. This “longevity bonus” women experience creates a greater risk for care. More than two-thirds of the long-term care population in both nursing homes and residential communities are women.

Although the type of long-term care women receive will depend on individual circumstances, everything comes with a different price tag. The reality is the vast majority of adults (80%), age 65 or older, receive their care in their private residence. Widows often encounter economic and lifestyle hardships that couples do not because widows likely have no one to help with daily activities because they are living alone (69%)2.

Women typically need long-term care services for 1.5 years longer than men. The cost for an extra 18 months of care can easily add up to over six figures. Women are more predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease. Of the 5.2 million people age 65 and older in the United States with Alzheimer’s, 3.3 million (63%) are women3.

Within their households, women are most likely to be the first, last and most affected by a long-tern care event. They tend to be the primary caregiver more often than men (75%) and dedicate as much as 50% more time to providing care. When women assume the role of caregiver, they often risk serious financial consequences4.

Women should take steps to prepare for these potential challenges.

  1. Put yourself first. Think about how your life and how the possibility that someone you love might need care in the future might impact it. Think about the possibility of your needing care someday.
  2. Plan for long-term care as a family. As difficult as it might seem, talk with your spouse, your siblings, your parents and your in-laws about care arrangements.
  3. Talk with your advisor. Develop strategies to protect yourself and your loved ones.


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.



  1. Lincoln Financial Group and Hanover Research, Inc., “The Longevity Opportunity: Planning for Longer Lives as a Family (2015 Survey),” com, http://newsroom.lfg.com/wealth-protection-expertise, July 2017.
  2. Renee Stepler, “Smaller Share of Women Ages 65 and Older are Living Alone,” PewResearch Center, http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2016/02/18/1-gender-gap-in-share-of-older-adults-living-alone-narrows/, February 18, 2016.
  3. Alzheimer’s Association, “2016 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures,” org, http:// alz.org/facts/overview.asp, January 2017.
  4. Family Caregiver Alliance, “Caregiver Statistics: Demographics,” FCA, https://www.caregiver.org/caregiver-statistics-demographics, January 2016.

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