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The Costs of Long-Term Care: Public Perceptions versus Reality in 2006

How much do age 45+ Americans really know about long-term care (LTC) costs and how to pay for them? Not as much as they think they do. And much of what they think they know frequently turns out to be inaccurate.

Of those surveyed...

  • 60 percent say they are at least “somewhat familiar” and 21 percent say they are “very familiar” with LTC services currently available
  • 8 percent are able to estimate the monthly cost of nursing homes within 20 percent plus-or-minus while 17 percent say they “don’t know”
  • 9 percent come within 20 percent plus-or-minus of the cost for an in-home visit by an aide and 20 percent don’t know

If this sounds familiar, it should. This survey was first administered to age 45+ Americans in 2001 with similar results. Five years later, public perceptions about what long-term care services cost or what insurance or government programs cover them still don’t match reality.

The study was conducted—and the report prepared—for AARP by Roper Public Affairs & Media of GfK NOP. Survey data were gathered through telephone interviews with a national random sample of 1,456 age 45+ adults between August 23rd and September 25th, 2006. In addition, state-level data were gathered via telephone interviews with a random sample of 400 people in each of the following states—California, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. Further information about this study may be obtained by contacting Linda Barrett of AARP Knowledge Management at 202-434-6197. (151 pages)