Do seniors understand their risk of moving to a nursing home?
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether seniors understand their risk of moving to a nursing home. Data Sources. We used longitudinal data from the Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old (AHEAD) database. AHEAD is a nationally representative survey (n=8,203) of community dwellers aged 70+ years and their spouses. STUDY DESIGN: We followed respondents for 5 years from the date of the first interview fielded in 1993. Our primary dependent variable was whether respondents moved to a nursing home within 5 years of baseline; self-assessed probability of moving to a nursing home within 5 years, also assessed at baseline, was the primary explanatory variable. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We found that seniors who believed they were more likely to move to a nursing home within 5 years were indeed more likely to do so, and that most elders overestimated their likelihood of moving to a nursing home. CONCLUSIONS: Low rates of private long-term care insurance are not plausibly a result of seniors underestimating their personal risk of moving to a nursing home; such an assumption is inherent in many strategies to plan for the future long-term care needs of the baby boom generation.
Taylor, DH; Osterman, J; Will Acuff, S; Ostbye, T
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