More Than Half of Older Adults Feel Frustration, Anxiety When Seeking Long-Term Care

Almost one quarter of older adults reported that they or someone close to them needed long-term care in 2022 — and that the process is causing significant frustration and anxiety in many cases.

This is according to a national survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago and commissioned by Nexus Insights, a think tank that is focused on older adults. In the survey, researchers evaluated responses from 1,014 adults aged 50 years or older between November 11 and 14.

Not only did 24% of adults 50 years old or older report that they or someone they love needed long-term care but that the process caused feelings of anxiety (53%) and frustration (52%), according to the report.


In addition to self-reported anxiousness and frustration, 23% of respondents reported a feeling of peace and 23% reported a feeling of confidence while making long-term care choices. Another 14% reported feeling happy, the survey showed.

Almost three-fourths of older adults (69%) said it was important to have information about the cost of care and how to pay for it, and another 63% said it was important to have information on the different types of long-term care services available.

One reason the decision could be so daunting is that many adults in need of long-term care turn to their family members to help.


Respondents said they are most likely to turn to family for information and advice (42%) followed by 34% who said they are likely to seek advice from doctors. Another 30% said they would turn to a long-term care specialist, and 26% said they would seek advice from members of their communities. Just 10% reported that they turned to the internet for advice.

These findings align with a report released earlier this year by Nexus Insights, which described long-term care as at a “crisis point.” According to that report, the industry should create “navigational hubs” that would help the general public make long-term care decisions for themselves and/or their family.

“Making a decision about long-term care is a maze full of emotional twists and turns, dead-ends, and setbacks,” Nexus Insights Founder and Fellow Bob Kramer said in a press release. “The lack of a consumer-friendly system to help families navigate the staggering array of decisions that must be made quickly during a health care crisis boosts families’ stress.”

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