Senior woman has financial problems. Counting money, monthly pension, don’t have enough money for paying bills.
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The cost of assisted living, other long-term care settings and healthcare in general weighs heavily on the minds of older adults, according to the results of a new poll.

In February and March, the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging asked a national sample of adults aged 50 or more years to rate their level of concern about 26 health-related issues for older adults. The poll report represents findings from a national survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago for the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

According to the findings, the top three issues of concern were the cost of assisted living, home care or nursing home care (56%); the cost of medical care (56%); and the cost of prescription medications (54%).

Rounding out the top concerns were financial scams and fraud (53%); the cost of health insurance/Medicare (52%); and the cost of dental care (45%); followed by access to quality assisted living, nursing home or home care (38%); healthcare quality (35%); inaccurate or misleading health information (34%); and access to affordable health foods (33%).

Among the issues falling outside the top 10 list of concern were poverty (32%), social isolation and loneliness (28%), being able to age in place (28%), and ageism or age discrimination (23%).

The study also noted differences among demographic groups.

Younger respondents, aged 50 to 64, were more likely than adults aged 65 or more years to be very concerned about access to quality assisted living, nursing home care or home care (41% versus 35%) and social isolation and loneliness (32% versus 24%). 

Women (44%) were more likely than men (32%) to say they were concerned about access to quality assisted living or nursing home care or home care. Women (44%) also were more likely to say they were concerned about social isolation and loneliness compared with men (22%), and women were more concerned than men about financial scams and fraud (59% versus 47%) and the ability to age in place (33% versus 22%). 

The AARP said that the research shows that affordable healthcare is a “kitchen table issue” among older adults, their families and caregivers, the organization’s senior vice president of research, India Venkateswaran, said in a statement

“It is critical that we continue improving healthcare access and affordability for the millions of Americans struggling to pay for insurance premiums and copays, prescription drugs and long-term care while putting food on the table and paying bills,” she said in a release.