U.S. Care Logo


Why Think About Long-Term Care?

Likelihood of Needing Long-Term Care
Population Changes Indicate a High Future Demand for Long-Term Care
Socioeconomic Status of the Elderly
Long-Term Care Costs
Long-Term Care Insurance Market
Long-Term Care General Information
Increasing Chronic Conditions and Disability
Impact of Long-Term Care on Caregivers
 



Likelihood of Needing Long-Term Care
  • Four out of every 10 older people will stay in a nursing home at least once, and nearly 1 in 10 will stay for 5 or more years.

  • (Agency for Health Care Policy Research, 1996)
  • 7.3 million Americans needed long-term care in 1994. In the year 2000, the number will increase to 9 million and skyrocket to as many as 24 million by 2060.

  • (American Health Care Association, 1998)
  • People aged 85 years and older are the heaviest users of long-term care. One in four people over 85 years of age (24.5 percent) lived in nursing homes in 1990.

  • (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1996)
Back to top



Population Changes Indicate a High Future Demand for Long-Term Care
  • If residency ratios remain unchanged, the number of persons residing in nursing homes will double or triple by 2030. The number could rise by over 300 percent for those aged 85 and over.

  • (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1996)
  • From 1997 - 2030, individuals 85 and older, the group most likely to require long-term care will more than double from 3.9 million to 8.5 million and by 2050 will more than double again to 18 million (to as high as 27 million).

  • (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1996)
  • In 1991, life expectancy was 79 years for women and 72 years for men.

  • (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1996)
  • Once a person reaches 65 years of age, it is expected that they will live another 17 years.

  • (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1996)
  • It is projected that the "oldest old" (those age 85 and over) will comprise 24 percent of elderly Americans and 5 percent of all Americans by 2050.

  • (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1996)
  • In 1994, approximately one in eight Americans was age 65 or older. By 2030, one in five Americans will be senior citizens.

  • (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1996)
  • Today, the elderly comprise 13% of the total population. The number of individuals aged 65 and over, will make up about 20 percent of the total population in 2030.

  • (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1996)
  • In 1995, four percent (1.4 million) of the 65+ population lived in nursing homes. But the percentage increased markedly with age, ranging from 1% for persons 65 - 74 years to 5% for persons 75 - 84 years and 15% for persons 85 years.

  • (AARP & Administration on Aging, US Department of Health and Human Services, 1996)
  • The nation's population is aging. In 1860, half of the U.S. population was under 20 years old. By 2030, at least half could be 39 years or over.

  • (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1996)
  • In 1993, California had the largest number of persons aged 65 or older (3.3 million), although its proportion of elderly ranked 46th among the States and the District of Columbia.

  • (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1996)
  • The states with the highest proportion of elderly were Florida, Pennsylvania and states in the Midwest. Florida has the largest proportion elderly (18.6 percent) in 1993.

  • (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1996)
Back to top



Socioeconomic Status of the Elderly
  • About one of every six (15.9%) family households with an elderly head had incomes less than $15,000 a year and 40% had incomes of $35,000 or more (for noninstitutionalized population).

  • (AARP & Administration on Aging, US Department of Health and Human Services, 1996)
  • Approximately 30% (9.9 million) of all noninstitutionlized older persons lived alone in 1995. They were comprised of 42% of older women and 17% of older men.

  • (AARP & Administration on Aging, US Department of Health and Human Services, 1996)
  • Baby boom women are likely to be widowed later in life than today's older women, and more may be divorced or never have married.

  • (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1996)
  • In less than 25 years, the percentage of elderly living in poverty almost halved from 24.6 percent in 1970 to 12.9 percent in 1992. This was partly due to "catch up" increases in Social Security benefits and the indexing of benefits to inflation rates.

  • (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1996)
  • In 1992, those elderly who were living alone or not with a relative were more likely to be poor (25 percent) than elderly persons in married couple families (6 percent).

  • (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1996)
Back to top



Long-Term Care Costs
  • A year in a nursing home now averages more than $40,000 and can exceed $100,000 in some parts of the country.

  • (Wall St. Journal, 3/31/99)
  • An individual with a severe disability living at home may pay over $36,000 for the assistance of a home health aide.

  • (American Council of Life Insurance, 1998)
  • On average, assisted living facilities charge $26,000 per year.

  • (American Council of Life Insurance, 1998)
  • Spending for long-term care for the elderly totaled almost $91 billion in 1995.

  • (GAO, 1998)
  • Nearly 40% of 1995 long-term care costs were paid for by the elderly and their families, while Medicare and Medicaid paid 60%.

  • (GAO, 1998)
  • The 1995 total long-term care costs was broken down to $64.4 billion for institutional care and $26.5 billion for home and community-based care.

  • (Lewin Group for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, 1998)
  • Long-term care related issues cost employers $29 billion a year in lost time, lost employees and lost productivity.

  • (Health Care Financing Review, 1993)
  • Over 70 percent of single individuals and 50 percent of couples with one partner in a nursing home are impoverished within a year.

  • (Business and Health, January, 1997)
Back to top



Long-Term Care Insurance Market
  • Fewer than 10% of Americans 65 and over carry long-term care insurance.

  • (Wall St. Journal, 3/31/99)
  • A Gallup poll indicated that 76 percent of Americans believe that they will never have the need for any type of LTC services.

  • (American Health Care Association, 1998)
  • Private long-term care insurance financed only 1 percent of long-term care in 1995.

  • (GAO, 1998)
  • Less than 5 percent of older adults have private long-term care insurance.

  • (The Brookings Institution, 1994)
  • A study found that almost half of current nursing home residents who were admitted as private pay residents eventually spent down to Medicaid.

  • (AARP, 1996)
  • 73% of respondents in a national long-term care survey incorrectly said Medicare is the primary funding source for long-term care costs.

  • (National Coalition on Aging/John Hancock, 1997)
  • Only 44% of respondents in that survey knew that most long-term care is provided by family and friends.

  • (National Coalition on Aging/John Hancock, 1997)
  • As of year-end 1996, there were 4.96 million long-term care insurance policies in force, up 600,000 policies in 1996 alone.

  • (HIAA, 1998)
  • The long-term care market has grown an average of 22% between 1987 and 1996.

  • (HIAA, 1998)
  • The majority of long-term care insurance policies (80 percent) were sold through the individual and group association markets.

  • (HIAA, 1998)
  • But the employer-sponsored market is growing. About one-third of the 1996 long-term care insurance carriers sold policies in either the employer-sponsored or life insurance market, up from 14 percent in 1988.

  • (HIAA, 1998)
Back to top



Long-Term Care General Information
  • The average age of a nursing home resident is 79.

  • (American Health Care Association, 1998)
  • 75% of all nursing home residents are women.

  • (American Health Care Association, 1998)
  • Over half (55%) of those who enter nursing homes will stay at least one year; 21 percent will remain five years or longer.

  • (New England Journal of Medicine, 1991)
Back to top



Increasing Chronic Conditions and Disability
  • About 63% of nursing home residents are disoriented or memory-impaired.

  • (American Health Care Association, 1998)
  • Nearly one-quarter of the nation's elderly population—over 7 million elderly people have some form of disability for which they require assistance.

  • (GAO, 1998)
  • Studies have found that nearly two-thirds of disabled elderly living in the community rely exclusively on their families and other unpaid sources for their care.

  • (GAO, 1998)
  • Those individuals clinically diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease are in the severely disabled category. Projections for the numbers of people with this condition range from 10.2 million cases for those 65 years of age and older by 2050 as compared with about 3.8 million cases in 1990.

  • (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1996)
  • By 2040, approximately 70 percent of Alzheimer's Disease cases will occur in those aged 85 and over (those most likely to enter a nursing home).

  • (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1996)
  • In 1991, about 7 in 10 persons who died were age 65 or older. Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death among the elderly, despite the fact that heart disease death rates have declined from 1960 levels.

  • (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1996)
  • Most older Americans have at least one chronic condition and many have multiple conditions. In 1994, the most frequently occurring conditions per 100 elderly were: arthritis (50), hypertension (36), heart disease (32), hearing impairments (29), cataracts (17), orthopedic impairments (16), sinusitis (15) and diabetes (10).

  • (AARP & Administration on Aging, US Department of Health and Human Services, 1996)
Back to top



Impact of Long-Term Care on Caregivers
  • In nearly one in four households, there is at least one individual aged 18 or older who is a caregiver to an older person at some point during the past 12 months.

  • (National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, 1997)
  • Most caregivers are aged 35 to 49.

  • (National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, 1997)
  • The average time span of caregiving is 3.5 years.

  • (National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, 1997)
  • More than half of the baby boomers and nearly two-thirds of those aged 55 to 64 years have provided hands-on care to a friend or family member requiring long-term care.

  • (National Coalition on Aging/John Hancock, 1997)
Back to top


Questions or comments regarding this website? E-mail Webmaster.

Revised  .