Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Two-Thirds of Californians Unprepared for Costs of Elder Care

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Two-Thirds of Californians Unprepared for Costs of Elder Care

Article excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO * Two-thirds of middle-aged Californians worry that they won't be able to cover the enormous cost of nursing home care -- now $70,000 a year -- and Latinos in particular feel vulnerable, according to a report released Aug. 16.

The report from the SCAN Foundation and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research examined how middleaged voters are preparing for health and long-term care issues. The number of Californians age 60-plus "will nearly double to 12 million people in the next 25 years," according to the report.

The report was based on a survey conducted by Lake Research that included 1,490 California voters age 40 and older, who were questioned in English or Spanish.

Regardless of political party or income level, survey participants "were worried about the costs of growing older," says the summary. "Two-thirds (66 percent) of respondents said that they are apprehensive about being able to afford long-term care. Sixty-three percent worry as much about paying for long-term care as they do about paying for their future health care." Medicare does not pay for most long-term care.

"People can cut back on movie tickets and trips to the mall. But long-term care is an essential expense," Steven P. Wallace of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research observed in a report summary. "Most Californians will need it during their life, yet unfortunately, most Californians are not planning for it and the government is cutting back on affordable options that could help."

He said state budget cuts for the 2012-13 fiscal year have jeopardized the network of home- and community-based services enabling elderly or disabled Californians to stay out of institutions and remain in their homes. …

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