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Boomer Women’s Long-Term Care Planning: Barriers and Levers

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Research has shown that, in the past, getting people to make long-term care (LTC) plans is a challenge, and this may be particularly the case for Boomers.  A common belief is that they will live in a society in which prevailing attitudes, demography, economics, and medical advances have made the prospect of growing old in America one that contains previously un-dreamt-of choices of managing chronic illnesses and remaining active and involved in life. This mindset could lead Boomers to believe that they will never have a need for LTC.

In late September 2008, AARP commissioned an online survey with a nationally representative panel of Boomer women. Key findings revealed:

• More than half of the Boomer women (53%) have not had any experience with caregiving. Just over one-third (36%) had provided care or are currently providing for an aging relative. Those who have been caregivers are twice as likely to have some kind of LTC plan (16%) as those who have not (8%).

• Most respondents (56%) indicated that they did not have any type of LTC plan. However, those who have made at least one kind of plan (family, legal, or financial) are more likely to have made additional plans.

• Most often, the trusted source of information that Boomer women turn to when making plans for their future health needs or financial security falls into the category of family and friends (83%).

• When asked to rank the factors that would most influence them to make and implement an LTC plan, the number 1 factor was observing the LTC experience of a friend or family member, followed by understanding clearly the available options and fear of what will happen if no action is taken.

• More than two-thirds of respondents (65%) indicate they cannot afford the cost associated with LTC planning.

• Unaware that Medicare does not cover LTC, over a quarter of respondents (29%) are counting on Medicare to pay for their LTC service needs.

AARP contracted Knowledge Networks, Inc. to conduct the survey during September 3-16, 2008, with a nationally representative panel of 2,898 women aged 50-62. The panel included oversamples of African American and Hispanic women. For more information, contact Helen W. Brown at 202-434-6172. (57 pages)

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