Long Term Care Insurance Expert Praises Longevity Study Findings

Swedish researchers have validated that maintaining a healthy lifestyle pays of by adding several years of life for the typical man and woman.

“This is the first generation of Americans who are living longer lives thanks to medical advances but few are entering older ages in good health and that’s a problem,” declares Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, the industry trade group.  “Unhealthy lifestyles cut lifespans and are resulting in large numbers of people who need long term care during the final years of their lives.  They are not prepared, their families are not prepared and the cost to taxpayers in the years ahead is something our budgets are not prepared for.”

The Swedish researchers from Stockholm University sought to find if healthy living positively affected people who were age 75 and older.  They followed nearly 2,000 individuals for 18 years, keeping records on their life choices, leisure activities and health matters.

While some 92 percent of the study’s participants died during the study period, half lives to more than 90 years old.  The researchers found that women, study participants who were more highly educated and those who maintained healthy lifestyles even through their older ages were most likely to live longer.

“Smokers died on average a year before non smokers,” Slome notes.  Individuals who smoke are not able to obtain special preferred health discounts for long term care insurance according to the long term care insurance expert.  The study did find that men and women who quit smoking earlier in their lives lived about as long as those individuals who had never smoked.

Exercise plays an important factor in longevity the study researchers report.  People who exercised on a regular basis lived two years longer on average than those who did not.  Those with the healthiest lifestyle including diet and weight, lived 5.4 years longer on average.

“We applaud studies like this because quite frankly no one seems ready to address the elephant in the room, the fact that obesity and poor health will bankrupt families and ultimately cost this country hundreds of billions of dollars,” Slome adds.  “Only a very small proportion of Americans have any plan in place to deal with the real risk and consequences of living a long life, let alone one that is a long unhealthy life.”

Long term care insurance has been purchased by over eight million Americans.  “Not everyone can health qualify for this coverage and not everyone can afford a private solution,” Slome admits.  The organization maintains the nation’s most comprehensive website containing the latest data from Association conducted studies of buyers and claimants with long term care.  To learn more about long term care insurance costs or to connect with one of the Association’s staff, call the organization’s offices at (818) 597-3227 or visit the Association’s website.

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