10% of Surveyed Seniors Say They’ll Fund Long-Term Care with Reverse Mortgages

By Alex Spanko

A recent survey found that 10% of seniors aging alone plan on using reverse mortgages to pay for long-term care costs — a number that lags behind other sources, but still represents a potential area of opportunity for the industry.

The vast majority of respondents — 68% — identified savings and investments as a source of long-termcare funding, followed by “out of pocket” at 47% and long-term care insurance at 33%. Only life insurance had fewer responses, with just 3% of respondents mentioning those products or life settlements.

The survey, sponsored by Seniorcare.com and conducted by University of Connecticut assistant professor Rupal Parekh and aging advocate Carol Marak, revealed a variety of trends among seniors aging alone — defined as those without spouses and material support from friends or family.

Of that group, 26% said they feared losing their homes, while 30% felt only “somewhat” confident in their ability to handle an unexpected expense. A further 16% said they couldn’t weather that financial storm at all, while 14% had “very little” confidence in making it through a surprise outlay.

The breakdown was similar when the surveyors asked whether the seniors felt secure in their financial futures. A full 62% said they were somewhat, very little, or not at all confident, compared with just 12% who were “completely” secure. Furthermore, only 9% said their finances allowed them to enjoy their lives.

There are some major limitations on the study, which took respondents from the Elder Orphan Facebook group. More than 500 members of that cohort responded to the survey, which was also supported by the University of Texas at Arlington, but they didn’t exactly mirror overall U.S. demographics: For instance, 71% had a bachelor’s degree or higher, 98% were women, and 97% identified as Caucasian.

The researchers also noted that the respondents self-identify as “elder orphans,” and by participating in a Facebook group on the subject, show a proactive desire to learn more and share their stories of aging alone.

Check out the full survey results at Seniorcare.com.