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The Long-Term Care Poll

Grandparent sitting in a big chair with her grandson, looking through a book
A series of studies on long-term care and aging in America
  • Client
    The SCAN Foundation
  • Dates
    2013 - Present

The population of Americans aged 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.

Since 2013, The AP-NORC Center, with funding from The SCAN Foundation, has been conducting nationally representative surveys of Americans to monitor a series of long-term issues, as well as other issues related to aging.

The surveys 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. Since 2020, they have also explored the impact of COVID-19 on the aging population and Americans’ assessment of their ability to age in a community setting. These surveys have often specifically targeted older adults who have more direct experience with these issues.

The AP-NORC Center’s Long-Term Care Poll has also utilized oversamples of Black and Hispanic adults to elevate the voices and concerns of these populations. Going back to 2014, it has looked at what older Hispanics worry about when they think about aging, whether they feel prepared to provide care to a family member or friend, their planning for long-term care, and other behaviors and attitudes toward care for this growing demographic group. More recently, it has looked at Black adults’ experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic, the availability of critical services related to aging in their communities, their evaluations of the country’s health care system, and their concerns about accessing high-quality health care.

The Long-Term Care Polls have revealed that a majority of American adults hold several misperceptions about the extent of the long-term care services they are likely to need in the future and the cost of those services. Few older Americans have substantially planned or saved for their future needs, and fewer than half have even discussed the topic with their family. A majority support a variety of policy changes that would help finance long-term care, as well as supporting changes in practice that favor a person-centered care approach.

The most recent surveys in 2020 - 2022 tracked previous items while exploring new topics, including family caregiving during the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans’ preparation for aging in community settings, social isolation during the pandemic, use of telehealth, and the role of government in health care for older adults.

Study reports can be found at

Learn More About the Study

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