CHICAGO, July 9, 2015—According to a new national survey investigating experiences and attitudes regarding long-term care, most Americans age 40 and older do not feel prepared for planning or financing long-term care for themselves or a loved one. This study was conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, with funding from The SCAN Foundation, and explores new issues, including person-centered care experiences and the special challenges faced by those who provide ongoing living assistance to elderly loved ones while also providing financial support to children, among other important matters.

This survey, the third in an annual series of studies of Americans age 40 and older, examines older Americans’ understanding of long-term care, their perceptions and misperceptions regarding the cost and likelihood of requiring long-term care services, and their attitudes and behaviors regarding planning for possible future care needs.

The research shows that, consistent with previous years’ findings, many older Americans continue to lack confidence in their ability to pay the costs of ongoing living assistance. In fact, only a third said that they have set aside money for care. More than half report doing little or no planning at all for their own ongoing living assistance needs.

“The three surveys on long-term care are helping us create a comprehensive picture of what Americans 40 and older understand about the potential need for these critically important services,” said Trevor Tompson, director of the AP-NORC Center. “Experts estimate that 7 in 10 Americans who reach the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care, and our findings show that many Americans are unprepared for this reality.”

Among the study’s findings: 

  • 12 percent of Americans age 40 to 54 provide both financial support for their children and ongoing living assistance to other loved ones.
  • More than 25 percent of Americans age 40 and older are unsure whether Medicare pays for ongoing living assistance services like nursing homes and home health aides. About 1 in 4 older Americans also overestimate private health insurance coverage of nursing home care.
  • Approximately half of older Americans believe that a family member or close friend will need ongoing living assistance within the next five years. Of those who anticipate this need, 7 out of 10 report they do not feel very prepared to provide care.
  • More than three quarters of those Americans age 40 or older who are either receiving or providing ongoing living assistance indicate that their care includes at least one component of “person-centered care.” Most of those reporting believe that these features have improved the quality of care.
  • Although only one in 10 Americans age 40 and older report having already received ongoing living assistance, including 7 percent who are currently receiving such care, a majority of this age group expects to need such care in the future.

“The findings of this most recent study shed new light on the perceptions of the public regarding longterm care and most importantly, how best to plan for the future,” said Dr. Bruce Chernof, president and CEO of The SCAN Foundation. “The insight provided by this research is critical because it will help us promote affordable health care and support for daily living, which are essential to aging with dignity and independence.”

About the Survey
This study was conducted by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and funded by The SCAN Foundation. This telephone survey was conducted April 7-May 15, 2015, and reached 1,735 adults nationwide age of 40 and older. The random digit dial sample was provided by a third-party vendor, and the margin of error was +/- 3.2 percentage points. A full description of the study methodology can be found at

The proper description of the survey’s authorship is as follows: This study was conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, with funding from The SCAN Foundation.

About The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research
The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research taps into the power of social science research and the highest-quality journalism to bring key information to people across the nation and throughout the

The Associated Press (AP) is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. Founded in 1846, AP today is the most trusted source of independent news and information. On any given day, more than half the world’s population sees news from AP.

NORC at the University of Chicago is an independent research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions. Since 1941, NORC has conducted groundbreaking studies, created and applied innovative methods and tools, and advanced principles of scientific integrity and collaboration. Today, government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world partner with NORC to transform increasingly complex information into useful knowledge.

The two organizations have established The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research to conduct, analyze, and distribute social science research in the public interest on newsworthy topics, and to use the power of journalism to tell the stories that research reveals.

About The SCAN Foundation
The SCAN Foundation is dedicated to advancing a coordinated and easily navigated system of high-quality services for older adults that preserve dignity and independence.


Contact: For more information, contact Eric Young for NORC at or (703) 217-6814 (cell); Ray Boyer for NORC at or (312) 330-6433; or Paul Colford for AP at