The population of Americans age 65 and older is growing at an unprecedented rate, expected to more than double to 98 million by the year 2060. How to plan for and finance high-quality long-term care will remain a key policy question for lawmakers in the years to come.
The AP-NORC Center, with funding from The SCAN Foundation, has been conducting annual nationally representative surveys of Americans age 40 and older since 2013 to monitor a series of long-term issues. Study reports can be found at
These studies examine older Americans' understanding of the long-term care system, their perceptions and misperceptions regarding the likelihood of needing long-term care services and the cost of those services, and their attitudes and behaviors regarding planning for long-term care.
Using oversamples of Hispanic adults 40 and older, The AP-NORC Center's Long Term Care Poll has also looked at what older Hispanics worry about when they think about aging, whether or not they feel prepared to provide care to a family member or friend, planning for long-term care, and other behaviors and attitudes toward care for this important, growing demographic group. Additionally, analyses of oversamples of older Californians have provided an in-depth look at public opinion on key long-term care policy issues including how caregivers are trained and paid under the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Program for eligible recipients of long-term care services.
The Long-Term Care Polls have revealed that a majority of American adults age 40 and older hold several misperceptions about the extent of the long-term care services they are likely to need in the future and about the cost of those services. Few older Americans have done substantial planning or saving for their future needs, and less than half have even talked about the topic with their family. A majority support a variety of policy changes that would help in the financing of long-term care, as well as supporting changes in practice that favor a person-centered care approach. The 2017 survey tracks previous items while exploring new topics, including perceptions of the role of home health care aides, ratings of long-term care services in local communities, attitudes about the country’s preparedness to address the needs of the growing population of older adults, support for new policy proposals to help caregivers, and how much effort the federal government should devote to helping with long-term care costs.