May 29, 2014
More Plan Funerals Than Plan Elder Care
More adults are planning their funerals than are making arrangements for care in their final years of life.
That’s among the revealing findings about how Americans grapple with the inevitabilities of old age in an annual survey about U.S. attitudes toward long-term care. More than 1,400 adults were surveyed in March and April by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (NORC is a social science research organization affiliated with the University of Chicago.)
“Experts believe that, like any other long-term financial planning, long-term care planning is the kind of thing you should get started with as soon as possible,” said Jennifer Benz, a senior research scientist for AP-NORC. But for many people, “it’s not even on their radar,” she said.
Nearly two out of three adults over age 40 said they have discussed funeral plans with family or others they trust, and more than half have also created a so-called advanced directive specifying how they would like their medical care to be handled if they become incapacitated.
While death and mortal illness are on people’s minds, there’s scant thinking about their long-term care arrangements. More than two-thirds reported they have done “little or no planning” for how they’ll be cared for in old age.
But people do worry: 62 percent expressed a lot of concern or moderate concern about their care, the AP-NORC poll found.
As people age, they do slightly more planning. Among Americans 40 to 54 years old, only 9 percent have done “a great deal” or “quite a bit” of planning, compared with 19 percent of people over 65.
Still, only one in five people entering or already in their retirement years is getting prepared – that’s hardly an impressive amount.
To read the AP-NORC poll results in detail, click here.