Nebraskans are getting older. By the year 2030, over 375,000 residents – 21 percent of the population - will be age 65 or older. Our state must begin preparing now for that reality with a long-term care system that supports family caregivers and offers adequate in-home services and supports.
Seventy percent of adults age 65 plus will need long-term care services at some point in their lives. According to a new AARP survey regarding long-term care and caregiving issues, AARP members age 50 and older in Nebraska want to be able to stay in their homes when faced with the need for long-term care services.
Key findings include:
- Ninety percent say it would be extremely or very important to stay at home as long as possible if they or their family members needed long-term care. Further, 86 percent believe it should be a top or high priority for AARP in Nebraska to ensure the availability of a broad range of long-term care services that will allow them to stay in their homes.
- Sixty-five percent say they are not very or not at all confident that they could afford long-term care services for themselves or their family. Only 23 percent are confident or very confident they could find long-term care services to remain in their home if needed.
- Eighty-five percent find it extremely or very important to have a service which provides access to long-term care information in one place.
- Nearly 20 percent say they are currently or have previously provided caregiving services within the past two years. One-third of caregivers surveyed live with their care recipient and almost half have been providing care between one and five years. Nebraska caregivers provide 210 million hours of unpaid care valued at $2.2 billion annually.
- Sixty-nine percent of caregivers surveyed spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care and over half have an annual household income before taxes of less than $30,000.
On average, in-home care services are a bargain at just one-third the cost of institutional care. While the state has increased funding for home- and community-based services, Nebraska has a long way to go before residents have adequate opportunities to receive care at home.
We need to expand information services and caregiver supports to help people stay at home as they age. Nebraskans need unbiased information on all types of long-term care services and assistance applying for services where they are eligible.
AARP’s survey findings can help the state direct resources to make needed improvements so that people can live and age with dignity in their own homes and communities. To learn more about our long-term care advocacy efforts at the State Capitol or to get involved as a volunteer advocate, contact Mark Intermill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-866-389-5651.