Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Misperceptions Hamper Planning for Long-Term Care

Nearly half of middle-aged and older Americans believe something that isn't true. No, this story isn't about QAnon. It's about long-term care. Fully 47 percent of people aged 40 or older believe Medicare—the government's health insurance program for people aged 65-plus—covers long-term care services such as nursing homes, according to an AARP survey. Medicare does not cover these services. The misperception that Medicare does cover them may be why so few have made plans for long-term care needs as they age, suggests AARP.  

Only 40 percent of Americans aged 40-plus have set aside money for care in their future, the survey finds. An even smaller 28 percent have researched community-based services, 26 percent have researched in-home care options, and just 22 percent have purchased long-term care insurance.

With so few preparing for potential long-term care needs, what do middle-aged and older Americans think will happen if and when they need it?  Hey kids, listen up! The 64 percent majority want their family to help out—either doing all the heavy lifting or in combination with paid help. Here are the long-term care settings preferred by the 40-plus population...  

Preferred care setting if long-term care is needed
41% prefer a combination of family help and paid help at home
23% prefer only family help at home
17% prefer a nurse to provide care at home
11% prefer care in a residential apartment-like setting
  6% prefer care in a nursing home

Although 64 percent of middle-aged and older Americans want their family to help care for them, only 47 percent have discussed these preferences with their family. 

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