California Report: Great Need, Insufficient Means for Long-Term Care

A survey of registered California voters age 40 and better found that just about half (49 percent) of respondents expect to need long-term care (LTC) for a loved one within the next five years, but most of these cannot afford to pay for it. Of those who say they are likely to need LTC services, 75 percent say they cannot afford more than three months of care, while almost half (47 percent) report that they cannot afford one month of care.

The survey also identified high rates of emotional and financial stress among respondents who provide caregiving to a family member, and anxiety about being able to afford LTC at any point in the future, with about two-thirds of respondents stating that they are worried about being able to afford LTC. Just about half of all respondents (47 percent) stated that their household income has declined in the past year, and a similar number reported that they have had to reduce their food budget (42 percent) and retirement saving (45 percent) due to economic need.

Most participants were either unsure that Medicare does not cover LTC (either in-home or at a professional LTC community), or inaccurately believed that it does so.

Across economic groups, ethnic groups, and political affiliations, a majority of respondents reported that affordable LTC options should be prioritized by elected officials. The survey, which was given to 1,667 registered voters in August 2012, was conducted by the Lake Research Partners and Chesapeake Beach Consulting for the SCAN Foundation and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. It is available for download through the UCLA Center website (click to access).

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