A star-studded team of well-known personalities is lending their celebrity status — and their stories — to a campaign to encourage more people to plan for their long-term care needs.
Genworth recently put together a public service announcement featuring Angela Bassett
In it, the celebrities talk about their own health challenges and those their loved ones faced as they got older. The message behind the “Let’s Talk Now” campaign is to break the ice on the uncomfortable subjects of aging and long-term care.
Long-term care is different from standard healthcare. It involves making sure you are able to accomplish everyday tasks. Being in a nursing home is a form of long-term care. Round-the-clock care like this can cost as much as $87,000 a year. In-home care is another type of long-term care that allows people to remain in their homes.
About 7 in 10 Americans will need long-term care after the age of 65. Each day between now and 2030, 10,000 baby boomers will reach the age of 65. And more than 90 percent of American adults don’t have long-term care insurance to cover some of these care costs.
Long-Term Care Is Personal
Bassett, known for her roles in “American Horror Story” and “Olympus Has Fallen,” joined the campaign because she’s experienced her own challenges with long-term care planning.
Her mother wanted to go into an assisted living center when her health began to fail. Bassett said her family had to make important decisions regarding her care and end-of-life wishes. While they had talked about some of these topics when her mother was well, it wasn’t as easy to discuss choices when her mother’s health declined.
The Emmy-nominated actress, who recently directed a Lifetime biopic of Whitney Houston titled “Whitney,” said she found some conversations were difficult to have. Bassett said she was happy she could help financially with her mother’s long-term care, but she wishes the process had gone a little more smoothly. In June, Bassett’s mother passed away.
That isn’t the only close tie Bassett has to caring for an aging adult. About three years ago, her mother-in-law was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig ’s disease. Her family has had to discuss her mother-in-law’s long-term care at length, especially since she does not want to be put in a care home and wants to remain independent. Her mother-in-law is more open and receptive to the talks, Bassett said.
“You have to allow them to age in a way that they want to,” Bassett said in an interview with Healthline. “You let them lead.” Bassett advocates talking with loved ones instead of making plans for them.
Now, Bassett, 56, says she wants to inspire others to talk about long-term care with those they love. She’s had “the talk” with her husband, and has also opened up a dialog with her sister, who is single.
Bassett said that people as young as 30 and 40 should start talking about what they want as they age, and make provisions if that includes long-term care. That could mean arranging for in-home care if they become sick or unable to manage daily tasks, or going into a care center. It also means creating a will or other advance directive. And it could mean taking out a long-term care insurance policy.
“Through this video, we hope that the compelling words from Angela, Jim, Maggie, Maria, Rob, and Zachary will encourage Americans to take the initiative to have ‘the talk’ and put a long-term care plan in place,” said Tom McInerney, Genworth’s president and CEO.
“That’s what this whole initiative is about,” Bassett said. “Planting a seed. A simple first step.”