Many Americans prefer thinking about moving 6 feet under to thinking about moving into a nursing home.

Researchers at John Hancock Life Insurance Company, Boston, a unit of Manulife Financial Corp., Toronto, have quantified that dread of institutional long term care by commissioning a survey of 1,000 U.S. residents ages 21 to 75.

About 55% of the participants said they would rather sit down to draw up a will than to talk about long term care, and 53% said going to a nursing home is worse than becoming bankrupt, John Hancock researchers report.

About half of the survey participants said they consider entering a nursing home to be worse than dying.