By any number of measures, Tennessee lags far behind all other states in offering older adults and those with disabilities a chance to receive long-term care (LTC) in the home and community, rather than in nursing homes, which are often more costly. AARP's Tennessee state office commissioned a telephone survey to explore the opinions of self-identified registered likely voters age 18+ on the current state of LTC in Tennessee. The survey specifically explored respondents' preferences and concerns about where to receive LTC services and their confidence in being able to afford these services and support for redirecting public funds to help people stay at home as long as possible. The survey found that:
- About nine in ten registered likely voters age 18+ support increasing funds for services that would help people stay in their own homes and communities longer. Importantly, four in five say that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate for Governor or State Legislature who supports allowing funds that are now only used for nursing homes to also be used for LTC services that allow people to stay in their own homes or communities.
- Three-quarters of respondents want to receive LTC services in their own homes. About nine in ten say it is extremely or very important for them to have LTC that will allow themselves or their family members to stay at home for as long as possible. More than four in five say that it is extremely or very important to be able to get reliable information and help applying for all types of LTC.
- Six in ten respondents are worried about being able to receive LTC in the setting of their choice. More than four in ten say they are not very or not at all confident about being able to afford LTC for themselves or their family members.
Given the strong preference for in-home LTC options, the desire for reliable information, and the strong support for increasing funds for these services, Tennessee policymakers need to work on expanding LTC choices and providing alternatives to nursing home care. Tennessee voters strongly support reallocating resources from institutional care to in-home care and would likely vote for candidates who support this action.
This survey of 811 self-identified registered likely Tennessee voters age 18+ was conducted by Woelfel Research on February 19-23, 2008. For more information, contact Joanne Binette at 202-434-6303. (22 pages)