Uncertainty about paying for long-term care remains problematic among midlife and older adults.

Long-term care is expensive.  According to Genworth’s Cost of Care surveys, in 2021 the national median monthly cost of a private nursing home room was $9,034, with the median monthly cost of a one-bedroom unit in an assisted living facility coming in at $4,500. The monthly cost of home health aide services is $5,148 (assuming 44 hours of work per week).

Unfortunately, many people incorrectly believe, or are uncertain about, whether Medicare covers long-term care services.  Roughly half of the adults 50-plus in AARP’s recent survey believe that Medicare covers care in a nursing home or care in their own home from a home health aide.

Recognizing that they may need assistance as they get older does not mean that adults 50-plus have really thought about how they will live independently. Nearly seven in ten believe that they will need assistance with their daily activities as they get older, yet fewer than three in ten have given serious thought to how they will continue to live independently if they need such assistance.  Not being able to continue to live independently and potentially becoming a strain or burden on family members are the top two concerns noted by roughly six in ten adults 50-plus.


To learn more about midlife and older adults’ attitudes and behaviors related to long-term care planning, AARP surveyed 1,011 U.S. adults age 50 and older. The survey was administered by phone and online December 9–13, 2021. Data are weighted to the latest Current Population Survey (CPS) benchmarks  developed by the U.S. Census Bureau and are balanced by gender, age, education, race/ethnicity, region, and AARP membership.