New Survey Shows Americans Lack Overall Understanding of Long Term Care

The MetLife Mature Institute (MMI) recently released a new survey that shows that most Americans know what long-term care is and how much it costs, but their scores fall short regarding how many people will need it and how they will pay for it.  The MetLife Long-Term Care IQ Survey, taken by 1,021 individuals aged 40 to 70 in 2009, compared results with a similar 2004 study. The respondents’ overall score was 52%, unchanged since 2004; and only 21% scored 70% or higher.

The study reveals that most are not taking appropriate steps to protect themselves from potentially catastrophic expenses. According to the study:

  • Just about four in ten (36%) know that 60% – 70% of 65-year-olds will require long-term care services at some point in their lives.
  • Just over one-third know that most long-term care services are received at home. While the number of respondents answering correctly (37%) increased since the 2004 survey (18%), awareness is low overall.
  • Older people (over 60) are more knowledgeable about long-term care than younger people (40 to 49).
  • Fewer than half (45%) are aware that one in five American households care for an adult family member or loved one.
  • Few are taking action to protect themselves from such potentially catastrophic expenses; only 18% know long-term care insurance rates are based on age, but almost nine in ten (87%) are aware that a comprehensive long-term care policy covers home, assisted living and nursing home care.


“While long-term care knowledge has increased in some areas since 2004, serious and potentially costly misconceptions remain,” said Sandra Timmermann, Ed.D., director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute.

Long-Term Care IQ: Removing Myths, Reinforcing Realities