Senior Woman With Crutch Get Support
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As older adults face the prospect of needing assistance with daily activities in the future, few have given much thought to how they will continue to live independently, according to a new AARP survey.

According to the results of the organization’s “Long-Term Care Readiness” survey, 68% of older adults believe they will need assistance with their daily activities at some point, but only 28% have given much thought to how they will continue to live independently if they need that assistance.

A recent National Poll on Healthy Aging found a similar lack of planning among older adults, presenting an opportunity for senior living providers. 

Attitudes on needing assistance varied by age in the AARP survey, with 74% of those 65 and older indicating they likely will need assistance, compared with 64% of respondents aged 50 to 64. The 65-and-older group also gave more thought to how they will live independently, with 31% indicating they had given it a lot of thought and 48% indicating they had given it some thought, compared with 25% and 47%, respectively, of respondents 50 to 64.

Not being able to continue living independently (63%), and potentially becoming a burden to family members (62%), were the top two concerns noted by the older adults. Slightly fewer said they are concerned about savings (59%), living in assisted living or a nursing home (58%), or not being able to remain at home (57%). 

Respondents aged 65 and older were more likely than other respondents to be concerned about not being able to live independently as they age and about becoming a burden on family (64%) and needing to live in an assisted living community or nursing home (63%). 

But the COVID-19 pandemic had little effect on thoughts about independent living. Sixty-two percent of those aged 60 and older said they think about how to live independently as they age — about the same as two years ago — with 30% indicating that they are thinking about it more often now. 

Planning for the future also varied among age groups. 

Adults 65 and older were more likely to have written a will (65%), designated a legal power of attorney for healthcare and finances (57%), planned with their families about how they will be cared for as they age (32%), set aside funding to pay for that care (31%) and researched community-based services (22%).

The AARP surveyed 1,011 U.S. adults 50 and older Dec. 9 to 13 to gauge attitudes and behaviors related to long-term care planning.