SeniorCare.com recently asked 44 long term care experts about why only 37 percent of Americans think they will need long term care when in fact 69 percent actually will.
One of those experts, Dr. Bill Thomas, commented on this misconception and its ramifications:
Why is there a drastic difference in people’s perception vs reality?
There is a river in Egypt, I think you know the name, that explains this.
Put more scientifically, human beings have a very limited ability to accurately predict or even really imagine the needs of their future self. This is especially true when that future contains scary possibilities and lies decades in the future.
What are the consequences for not being prepared?
People who are prepared get to choose the kinds of care they will receive and who will deliver that care.
People who are not prepared get care that is chosen by someone else.
How would you close the discrepancy gap?
We need to change the narrative surrounding aging in general. Your topic is actually just one (very tangible) example of the toll we pay for living in a deeply ageist society. Fixing this problem requires us addressing ageism head on.
What advice do you have for consumers about their future care needs?
People need to understand that these choices will be made. Preparing now, means that YOU get to make them! Not preparing means that other people (sometimes even people you don’t know or don’t like) will be making them for you.
Not preparing is choosing to let other people decide your fate.
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