Positive views of assisted living and continuing care retirement communities continue to grow as aging preferences change, suggests new research published in the December issue of The Gerontologist.

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health analyzed data from a sample of 1,783 participants in the National Health and Aging Trends Study who were aged at least 65 years and were asked about the best setting for a fictional person 80-year-old who needed help with activities of daily living due to health issues.

Although aging in place remained the preferred option among those questioned, almost one-third of respondents chose assisted living / CCRCs as the best option among five choices: living at own home with help from friends and family, living at home with help from someone paid to come in, living with an adult child, living in an assisted living facility or CCRC, or living in a nursing home. People with higher levels of education, higher incomes and those who were white non-Hispanic were most likely to select assisted living / CCRCs as the best care option, the authors wrote. Nursing home care ranked last.

“Most striking was that although the percentage of older adults living in non-nursing home residential care settings with low, nearly 6 in 10 persons living in these settings viewed assisted living / CCRC as the best option,” the researchers wrote.

The authors aren’t sure of the reasons for participants’ stated preferences but suggested that concerns about being a burden to family members and the likelihood that disagreement about care would be greater in family caregiving arrangements may be factors.