Archive Details

What Alarms Americans Most About Having a Long Term Care Illness?

--55% say becoming a family burden is their biggest concern --Interactive survey allows users to compare their views to others

RICHMOND, Va., April 12, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --When asked to identify their greatest fear regarding having a long term care illness, Americans are over five times more worried about becoming a burden on their families than the possibility of dying, according to a survey released today by Age Wave/Harris Interactive, America Talks: Protecting Our Families' Financial Futures, sponsored by Genworth Financial companies (Genworth). Ironically, the survey also found that relatively few have even discussed with their families the kind of long term care they would wish to receive, if it were needed. The research sought to bring greater insight into why Americans avoid planning for the costs associated with living longer lives, and identified some important psychological barriers preventing them from talking about preparing for an unforeseen long term care event.

To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click:

Over half (55%) said being a burden on their family would be their greatest worry in the event they could no longer care for themselves. Surprisingly, death was of the least concern, with only 10% of respondents citing this as a worry. Other fears included ending up in a nursing home (24%), and depleting savings (12%).

The findings were presented at Genworth's "Let's Talk" Forum on long term care and retirement, which was led by Age Wave's Ken Dychtwald Ph.D., psychologist, gerontologist, best-selling author and a leading expert on aging, health, and retirement. The goal of the forum was to gain greater insight from real consumers about the trends identified in the survey. As a leading long term care insurance provider, Genworth has partnered with Age Wave to gain a greater understanding of consumers' attitudes and perceptions about planning for their own retirement and future healthcare needs. The forum was a continuation of Genworth's "Let's Talk"campaign launched in 2009, which provides families with ideas for initiating sensitive conversations about potential long term care plans with loved ones.

Fear of upsetting family members is a major barrier

The survey revealed that fear of upsetting family members is a major barrier to talking about how they envision the type of care they'd like to receive.

Click here for graphic

"Discussions that include the entire family are imperative to navigating through the potential financial and emotional risks that an unexpected illness can impose. Yet families still avoid talking to each other about how they would potentially manage the care of a loved one, should the need arise," said Dychtwald.

Genworth believes that families would benefit significantly by talking early, and often, about how they might best deal with the impact an unexpected illness of a relative could have on both the financial and general well-being of the whole family. "Unfortunately, most people are caught by surprise when faced with decisions about the long term care of a relative, when time is short, emotions are strained, and options are limited. Often, these decisions are too difficult for families to reconcile on their own," said Buck Stinson, President, U.S. Life Insurance Products at Genworth. "Talking to a trusted advisor about the many innovative solutions available today can give them the confidence of knowing they have an action plan in place," he added.

Three key topics that can help get the conversation started are:

  • Identify preferred options/costs of care (in-home care vs. nursing home, etc )
  • Define roles and responsibilities of family members who might oversee that care
  • Discuss possible sources of funding of care

    In addition, the survey found that 92% of spouses, or partners, had not discussed all three of these long term care topics with each other; 95% of parents had not discussed them with their adult children, and 96% have not had these talks with their parents.

    For many families, it's likely that one or more relatives will require long term care at some point in their lives. "Whether it be in the home or at a nursing facility, understanding the type of care a loved one would prefer most is an important first step," said Stinson.

    Tools and Resources

    Genworth is also introducing a user-friendly version of its online survey for consumers interested in getting a snapshot of how their own views about retirement compares to others, available at:

    The full survey report, America Talks: Protecting Our Families' Financial Futures, may be downloaded for those who wish to compare their results to that of the national survey.

    An interactive press release containing downloadable content, including a video with highlights from the forum with Ken Dychtwald, is available at: is Genworth Financial's Web site dedicated to its "Let's Talk" campaign. The site offers tips and advice on how to break the ice with family members, guidance from experts, helpful 'Do's and Don'ts,' and advice from people who have taken the important first step of discussing long term care with their own families.

    About the Survey

    The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive among 2,939 U.S. consumers between January 12 -15, 2010. The sample is representative of the entire U.S. population of consumers ages 18 and over on the basis of age, gender, race, income, education and region.

    About Genworth Financial

    Genworth Financial, Inc. (NYSE: GNW) is a leading Fortune 500 global financial security company. Genworth employs approximately 6,000 people with a presence in more than 25 countries. Its products and services help meet the investment, protection, retirement and lifestyle needs of more than 15 million customers. Genworth operates through three segments: Retirement & Protection, US Mortgage Insurance and International. Its products and services are offered through financial intermediaries, advisors, independent distributors and sales specialists. Genworth Financial, which traces its roots back to 1871, became a public company in 2004 and is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. For more information, visit From time to time Genworth releases important information via postings on its corporate website. Accordingly, investors and other interested parties are encouraged to enroll to receive automatic email alerts and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds regarding new postings. Enrollment information is found under the "Investors" section of

    About Age Wave

    Age Wave is the world's leader in market analysis and innovative insights concerning the boomer and mature adult sectors. Drawing on over thirty years of experience, Age Wave has developed a unique understanding of the population's expectations, attitudes, hopes and fears regarding retirement and maturity-related lifestyle and workstyle issues. Under the leadership of Ken Dychtwald, PhD., Age Wave has overseen hundreds of cutting edge research, training, and consulting assignments worldwide across a variety of industry sectors. Ken Dychtwald is widely viewed as the nation's most visionary gerontologist/psychologist and is the author of sixteen books including his latest, A New Purpose: Redefining Money, Family, Work, Retirement and Success. For more information, please visit

    About Harris Interactive

    Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit

    SOURCE Genworth Financial

    Email Alerts

    Email Address *
    Mailing Lists *

    Enter the code shown above.

    Email IR

    Tim Owens – Investor Relations

    Contact IR