In 2010, 40 million Americans were age 65 or older. By 2050 that number is expected to jump to 88 million. Among these older citizens, only three in 10 will never receive long-term care services. The majority will get such care—though not necessarily in a nursing home or assisted living facility. The current definition of long-term care includes services provided in the home by family members or paid caregivers. Adult day-care is also considered a form of long-term care.
The cost will be huge. In addition to the increase in the number of people over 65, the number of people 85 and older is also predicted to jump dramatically. This is the “frail elderly” group most likely to need long-term care. In 2010 there were 5.5 million of these older people, but by 2050 there will likely be 19 million.
These demographic shifts raise two questions. How will the nation decide to pay for that care? Will it be given in different ways and settings?
66% of people 65 and older can’t pay for even a year in a nursing home.
The demand for long-term care services will explode as the population ages and more people live longer with chronic conditions. Who will pay for these services and how will they be delivered?