Skip to content Skip to navigation

Long-term care planning, funding examined in survey

June 16, 2014
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
| Reprints

As those working in long-term care (LTC) and policymakers grapple with how such care should be planned for and financed in the United States, the Associated Press (AP)‒NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago has released an issue brief with results of a survey revealing how Californians are—or are not—planning for LTC, as well as their views on the role of family.

“This issue brief takes a focused look at [LTC] attitudes and experiences in this large and diverse state,” says Trevor Tompson, the center’s director. Key findings:  

  • Polarization on some LTC policies is greater among partisans in California than among partisans in the rest of the country, yet Democrats, Republicans and political independents agree on the extent to which individuals and families should be responsible for care costs relative to the government and insurers.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Californians age 40 or older say they will need LTC someday, yet the majority have done little or no planning for their own LTC needs.
  • Across demographic groups, a majority say they can rely on their family as they age, with differences based on age and household composition. Compared with the rest of the country, however, fewer Californians say they have discussed their LTC planning needs with loved ones.
  • Similar to the rest of the country, Californians aged 40 or more years are more likely to have planned for their death than for LTC, yet sharp differences exist across demographic groups in LTC planning behaviors.
  • Hispanics and those born outside of the United States express greater concern than others about a number of aspects of aging.
  • Confidence in one’s ability to pay for LTC is lower among foreign-born Californians, those who are younger, and women.
  • Among California’s caregivers, most acknowledge the stress of providing care to family or close friends, but overall they remain positive about the experience. Differences emerge based on a number of socioeconomic factors.
  • Although six in 10 Californians aged 40 or more years expect a loved one to need care in the next five years, non-Hispanic whites, U.S.-born Californians, and those in higher-income households are much more likely than others to have planned for their loved ones’ care.

The AP‒NORC Center, as part of a national survey, conducted 485 interviews with a representative sample of California adults who were aged at least 40 years. The SCAN Foundation provided funding.