40+ Are Not Prepared and Misunderstand Long-Term Care Options

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research recently released ‰ÛÏLong-Term Care: Perceptions, Experiences andAttitudes among Americans 40 and Older.‰Û

They conducted a national survey of Americans 40 or older to understand the experiences and attitudes of this population as they begin to plan for their own care and interact with the long-term care system to provide care for loved ones, we examine their understanding of the long-term care system. åÊIn all 1,019 interviews with a nationally representative sample of adults were conducted.

The study reveals several critical issues:

åáåÊåÊåÊåÊåÊ Although Americans 40 years or older report several concerns about aging and losing their independence, they are not taking actions to plan for their own long-term care needs.

åáåÊåÊåÊåÊåÊ Only 41 percent of this population has taken the important first step of discussing their preferences for long-term care with their families and only 35 percent have set aside money to pay for their long-term care needs.

åáåÊåÊåÊåÊåÊ There are widespread misperceptions among those 40 or over surrounding the costs of long-term care services, with significant proportions of the population underestimating the costs of nursing home care and overestimating the role of Medicare in paying for that care.

åáåÊåÊåÊåÊåÊ A majority supports some public policy options for financing long-term care. This includes bipartisan support for tax incentives to encourage individual saving for long-term care expenses.

åáåÊåÊåÊåÊåÊ Americans 40 or over count on their families to be there for them as they age, but those who are currently receiving long-term care or who have received it in the past are less likely to believe they can rely on their family in a time of need.

Key findings from the survey are provided.

åáåÊåÊåÊåÊåÊ Three in ten Americans 40 or older would rather not think about getting older at all, and, when prompted to think about it, a majority worry about losing their independence.

åáåÊåÊåÊåÊåÊ Even with widespread concerns about aging, many Americans have not translated those worries into effective planning strategies.

åáåÊåÊåÊåÊåÊ People frequently misperceive the costs of long-term care and they overestimate the role of Medicare in paying for their care.

åáåÊåÊåÊåÊåÊ Americans 40 or older show majority support for several policies to help individuals pay for the costs of long-term care, though with some partisan divides.

åáåÊåÊåÊåÊåÊ The majority of Americans 40 or older have some experience with long-term care.

åáåÊåÊåÊåÊåÊ Americans 40 or older count on their families to be there for them in times of need and as they age.

åáåÊåÊåÊåÊåÊ When thinking about their living situation as they age, Americans prioritize features that promote independence.