Thirty-six percent of U.S. adults responding to a new Brookdale Senior Living poll said they are open to moving into an independent living or assisted living community.

Most respondents, however, said that a senior living community would have to have a fun, social environment, healthful food and independent living options for them to consider it, according to Brookdale.

OnePoll surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults on behalf of the country’s largest senior living company in April.

Almost 64% of those surveyed said they would not be able to afford senior living or didn’t know whether they would be able to afford it.

“It’s easy to get sticker shock when you start researching the price of senior living, but many people are surprised to learn that it can be less costly than aging in place when you add up all of your expenses,” including groceries, mortgage, utilities, yard maintenance, home repairs, transportation, cable and internet, said Mary Sue Patchett, Brookdale executive vice president of community operations.

Alternatively, approximately 35% of respondents said they believed they will able to afford senior living.

The most frequently cited ways respondents said they would pay for senior living:

  • Savings: 46%
  • Retirement income: 46%
  • Investment portfolios: 35%
  • Medicare: 31%
  • Home sale proceeds: 22%
  • Money from family or friends: 15%
  • No plan: 12%

Other survey highlights:

  • Approximately 40% of survey respondents said they haven’t discussed plans for their future with their children. Meanwhile, 58% of adult children polled said they were worried that their aging parents will need senior living assistance, and the same percentage of participants described talking about senior living as uncomfortable and stressful.
  • More than 40% of adult-children respondents said they have no plan in place for their parents in the event of a medical emergency or unexpected death.
  • Respondents said that the average person should start creating a plan for retirement living at age 47.
  • Half of the survey’s respondents said they had no plans in place yet for their later years, although approximately 60% described the discussion of senior living topics as “necessary.”

“The survey confirms what we see when families walk into our communities every day,” Patchett said. “Many people wait to talk about senior living until there’s a traumatic event or they need to make a fast decision.”