How older Americans rank worries related to long-term care (LTC) may depend heavily on how LTC questions are worded.
Researchers have published figures supporting that idea in a summary of results from a recent survey commissioned by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), a unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc., and USA Today.
The NCOA survey sample included 1,007 U.S. adults ages 60 and older and 1,000 adults ages 18 to 59.
The researchers told the participants that the average U.S. life expectancy has increased to 78, up from 47 in 1900, and then asked the participants, “What worries you most about a longer life?”
One LTC-related fear — the fear of moving into an assisted living facility or a retirement home — was a major worry for four percent of the younger participants and just three percent of the older participants.
But “losing my memory” was a major worry for 12 percent of the younger participants and 13 percent of the older participants.
The idea of “not being able to take care of myself,” which was the top-ranked fear for both younger and older participants, alarmed 16 percent of the younger participants and 19 percent of the older participants.