Baby Boomers May Prefer Residential Care Over Home Health: Survey

A new survey of older Baby Boomers goes against some of the common perceptions about what adults in the 60-to-72 age bracket want as they get older — and depending on their circumstances, that could include skilled nursing care.

The survey was conducted by LeadingAge, a group which represents non-profit senior living providers, in conjunction with the National Opinion Resource Center (NORC). The participants included 1,283 individuals aged 60 to 72, with a mix of 53% men and 47% women.

“To me, one of the most important findings was ‘Where would you like to live, if you need help?'” Ruth Katz, senior vice president for public policy at LeadingAge, told Skilled Nursing News.

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A full 60% of respondents said they would prefer to remain in their current home or apartment, even with physical disabilities and a need for help with daily activities. But if they were to have dementia and need help with daily activities, that portion dropped to 29%.

Living Preferences if Help With Daily Activities Is Needed
Source: LeadingAge/NORC

These results shocked LeadingAge, Katz said.

In fact, 42% of respondents said they would want to live in a place that is staffed to provide health care and help with daily activities if they needed help due to dementia.

“That’s a new piece of information,” she said.

Just 11% of respondents said their biggest fear was going to a nursing home, in spite of a multitude of bad press reports; in fact, almost 30% reported their biggest worry as being a burden on their family members. That might seem to fly in the face of the negative perceptions of long-term care, but one of the study’s notable findings was that this age cohort recognized aging in place might not be right for them in all circumstances.

“That kind of supports the idea that ‘For goodness’ sake, people, they’re willing to go to a residential setting that provides a lot of care!'” Katz said.

Robert Holly contributed reporting to this story.

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