Survey: Older adults prefer assisted living over home health or nursing home care

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Survey: Older adults prefer assisted living over home health or nursing home care
Survey: Older adults prefer assisted living over home health or nursing home care

Older adults' first choice for living arrangements as they age is to stay at home and remain completely independent, according to the latest adviser poll by Key Private Bank.

Moving to an assisted living community, however, was a “close second,” by far topping being cared for by family or professional caregivers at home or moving to a nursing home.

The poll surveyed 150 financial advisers who work with high-net-worth individuals on long-term care planning. Ninety-six percent said that being independent at home was their clients' top choice, but 93% said that assisted living came in second. Home care and nursing home living were the options least appealing to clients, according to the advisers, at 11% and 1%, respectively.

Learning the reasons behind the specific preferences expressed by clients was beyond the scope of the poll, a representative of Key Private Bank told McKnight's Senior Living. Regardless of where older adults told advisers they wanted to live, however, most advisers said their clients are not planning early enough, nor are they communicating enough with children and family members about their wishes and future plans.

Fifty-five percent of advisers said that only “some” clients are discussing long-term plans with children and other family members. Twenty-two percent said that “hardly any” are doing so.

Additionally, 58% of advisers said that fewer than one-fourth of their clients have a long-term care plan in place. In fact, 52% of advisers said that convincing clients to put a long-term care plan in place is their biggest long-term care-related challenge. The next most frequently cited challenge was helping clients increase savings for long-term care costs without substantially affecting other financial goals.

“We encourage all of our clients to take a proactive approach to long-term care planning to navigate the costs and complexities of long-term care,” said Chad Stevens, vice president and senior financial planner at Key Private Bank. “With forecasting caregiving needs and addressing coordination of care named a top-three challenge by advisers, talking through long-term care desires early on with family members will be crucial to setting expectations, delegating responsibilities and avoiding misunderstandings or surprises. It's never too soon to start having these conversations.”

Forty-six percent of advisers said that long-term care planning should occur between the ages of 40 and 50, and 37% said it should happen between 50 and 60.

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