Singaporeans worry over costs of disability care

Over two in three felt they might not be able to afford healthcare if they become severely disabled.

Nine in 10 Singaporeans are worried about how they might finance their long-term care needs in the event they become severely disabled, according to a survey by YouGov commissioned by Aviva.

Severe disability is defined by the inability to perform three or more activities of daily living (ADL), which are basic self-care tasks such as washing, feeding, toileting, dressing, transferring and walking.

Across all age groups, the cost of long-term care (83%) emerged as the top concern, followed by the concern they may become a burden to their loved ones (80%) and a loss of independence (75%).

The report noted that the burden of costs is exacerbated by a lack of confidence in their or their families’ ability to pay for the necessary healthcare (69%) and to continue to afford daily expenses (64%) if they were to become disabled.

This is slightly higher for those in their 30s, who do not feel confident about their ability to pay for healthcare (70%) and daily expenses (66%).

Furthermore, a separate Aviva survey in 2018 found that the average monthly cost of long-term care amounts to $2,324, which includes aids to help in daily living, everyday living expenses, caregiver expenses, medication and therapy.

Currently, 58% of Singaporeans estimated that the monthly costs would hit more than $2,000 a month, whilst only close to one-third or 27% think they will require less than $2,000 a month.

On the other hand, although Singaporeans believe that severe disability can happen at any time and to anyone (95%), as much as 50% believe they will continue to stay healthy and are unlikely to need long-term care.

“Whilst younger Singaporeans may not see the urgency in thinking about this yet, closing this protection gap can only be achieved by planning early. Living longer should not feel like a burden, and support can be planned for in advance.” Aviva Singapore's director of product and marketing Daniel Lum said.

When it comes to disability care, younger Singaporeans showed a keenness to stay at home, with 34% of those aged 30-39 preferring to hire a qualified nurse to come to their home every day, whereas only 20% of those aged above 40 chose the same.

Meanwhile, 32% aged above 40 preferred to stay at a nursing home to receive care, but this was only opted by 22% of respondents aged 30-39.

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