Older Adults Lack Information in Search for Long-Term Care

According to a recent national study, nearly a quarter of Americans aged 50 and older say they – or a loved one – needed long-term care in 2022. The findings further suggest that seniors and their caregivers could benefit from more consumer-friendly information and guidance about long-term care services, a need researchers say will grow exponentially in the future.

Posted on January 12, 2023

Finding Long-Term Care Causes Wide-Ranging Emotions

Results showed that people looking for long-term care experienced a range of emotional responses in searching for a provider:

  • 53 percent of respondents reported feeling anxious about the process
  • 52 percent described feeling frustration
  • 23 percent said they were confident during the process of long-term care for themselves or their loved one
  • 23 percent of respondents felt “at peace” about the choice they made for long-term care
  • Only 14 percent of respondents reported feeling happy

Respondents Want to Feel Prepared When Deciding on Long-Term Care

Researchers found that respondents want advice for seeking long-term care when it comes to the following:

  • 92 percent wanted to know what types of long-term care services are available
  • 90 percent wanted more information about paying for long-term care
  • 90 percent said advice and support on long-term care would have been helpful to them
  • 88 percent needed help understanding whether their personal or health care needs require long-term care
  • 88 percent of those surveyed also said they needed help choosing a long-term care provider
  • 86 percent said having someone to listen to them when seeking long-term care services would have been important to them
  • 84 percent of respondents wanted help deciding whether to pursue in-home care or community-based services (i.e., nursing home care)

Paying for Long-Term Care

A large number of respondents reported needing more information about how to pay for long-term care.

Of the people who were surveyed, 63 percent said it was extremely important to have additional details about the various types of care options available. Meanwhile, 69 percent said it was extremely important to have further details about the cost of care and their payment options.

Who Participated in the Survey?

The survey featured responses from a nationally representative sample of more than 1,000 participants with annual household incomes ranging from under $30,000 to more than $100,000. Responses were collected in November 2022.

Respondents, all aged 50 and older, were 53 percent female and 47 percent male, and represented the following regions across the United States:

  • South – 38 percent
  • West – 23 percent
  • Midwest – 21 percent
  • Northeast – 18 percent

NORC at the University of Chicago conducted the survey, which was commissioned by think tank Nexus Insights.

Can This Problem be Solved?

In a separate Nexus Insights report from September 2022, experts called for the creation of information hubs where seniors and their caregivers can find the resources they need to answer their questions regarding long-term care.

The report also outlined seven criteria defining these proposed navigational hubs:

  • Accessibility
  • Consistency in services across the country
  • Local focus with a deep understanding of each community’s programs and providers
  • Visibility among its target users
  • Freedom from incentives that would promote specific service providers
  • Unbiased advice
  • Full service

To learn more about long-term care services and options, find a qualified elder law attorney.

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