An estimated 70 percent of the United States population will require long term care at one point in their lives, but a new poll from the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that many of them are not prepared for the costs and challenges that come along with care. In fact, researchers discovered that about two-thirds of people 40 and older have done little to no planning regarding long term care, and only one quarter of respondents believe they'll ever require the use of assisted living.
Experts say there are a number of reasons for this troubling disparity, but one of the most prevalent is that adults simply do not expect to need any form care as they get older. Researchers found that 30 percent of respondents don't think of themselves aging at all. While perceptions of retirement are changing - especially as it relates to levels of health and activity - it's still important to plan ahead. Anything from surgery to an injury may require the use of care, and while some seniors expect family members to help out, that's not always as easy as it sounds.
"The expectation that your family is going to be there when you need them often doesn't mean they understand the full extent of what the job of caregiving will be," Susan Reinhard, the director of AARP's Public Policy Institute, told The Associated Press. "Your survey is pointing out a problem for not just people approaching the need for long-term care, but for family members who will be expected to take on the huge responsibility of providing care."
Making long term care decisions is especially important when it comes to financial planning. A 2012 Metlife Mature Market Institute study found the rates for services such as assisted living and home care rose last year.