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LTC Choices Often A Mystery

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Few adults know much about long term care options or costs, an elder care company reports.

Home Instead Inc., Omaha, Neb., has based that conclusion on a survey of 166 people ages 65 to 75 who were not using senior care, and a second survey of 444 adults ages 35 to 64 whose parents were still living independently.

Asked to identify the living options available to seniors who can no longer care for themselves, 61% of the seniors named nursing homes, and 50% identified assisted-living facilities as an alternative.

But only 48% of the adult children could identify nursing homes as an option, and only 38% listed assisting living facilities as a possibility.

About 42% of the seniors surveyed said they were familiar with such options as independent living communities and in-home care.

Among the adult children, awareness levels were 39% for independent living facilities, 35% for in-home medical care and 29% for in-home nonmedical care, Home Instead says.

Asked to guess the cost of care in a nursing home, seniors estimated the median annual cost at $65,000, compared to an actual median cost of $78,000.

Adult children thought nursing home care cost just $59,000 per year.

Survey participants tended to overestimate the cost of other care options, Home Instead says.

The actual median cost of assisted living care is just $36,000, but adult children estimated the cost to be $47,000, and seniors guessed that the annual cost was $49,000.