More Plan Funerals Than Plan Elder Care

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More adults are planning their funerals than are making arrangements for care in their final years of life.

That’s among the revealing findings about how Americans grapple with the inevitabilities of old age in an annual survey about U.S. attitudes toward long-term care.  More than 1,400 adults were surveyed in March and April by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.  (NORC is a social science research organization affiliated with the University of Chicago.)

“Experts believe that, like any other long-term financial planning, long-term care planning is the kind of thing you should get started with as soon as possible,” said Jennifer Benz, a senior research scientist for AP-NORC.  But for many people, “it’s not even on their radar,” she said.

Nearly two out of three adults over age 40 said they have discussed funeral plans with family or others they trust, and more than half have also created a so-called advanced directive specifying how they would like their medical care to be handled if they become incapacitated.

While death and mortal illness are on people’s minds, there’s scant thinking about their long-term care arrangements.  More than two-thirds reported they have done “little or no planning” for how they’ll be cared for in old age.

But people do worry: 62 percent expressed a lot of concern or moderate concern about their care, the AP-NORC poll found.

As people age, they do slightly more planning.  Among Americans 40 to 54 years old, only 9 percent have done “a great deal” or “quite a bit” of planning, compared with 19 percent of people over 65.

Still, only one in five people entering or already in their retirement years is getting prepared – that’s hardly an impressive amount.

To read the AP-NORC poll results in detail, click here.


Funerals are inevitable, elder care is not. [Not an excuse, just an observation.] And despite my comment, my wife and I both have LTC insurance.

Pat Reilly

My financial planner wrapped up our session with: I’m glad you have LTC insurance, but do you know where you want to be placed when you don’t know who you are anymore. It shocked me; it was the last thing I would have considered. I tried to think who else I would want making that decision. Came down to no one. So my husband and I are on the search for the perfect “situation.”

Dr P Ciancanelli

I don’t know which I distrust more–commercial providers of LTC (including insurance companies) or commercial providers of funeral plans.

There is scant possibility of ‘caveat emptor’ with all products on the market; purchasing LTC requires giving a bunch of money to people who you do not know and trusting their promise to provide care at some time in the future. The capacity of state governments to monitor LTC providers is reduced with every budget cut imposed by the current coalition of neo-liberal austerians.

After all, if it proves impossible for educated individuals to hold their private medical insurers to account (to pay what they promised) hold their private doctors to account…then what chance is there for old, frail individuals to hold a care provider to account.

The survey reflects the mindless quality of so much social research these days, chasing publications that are irrelevant from a public policy perspective.


    What you appear to be saying is that since we can’t guarantee with 100% certainty that we’re actually going to get what we paid for, the solution is to not even try to plan? I’m thinking back on any investment that I put my money into over the past 30 years. I’m glad that I did, even though there were no guarantees.


Same thought –> we’re all going to die; not all will need elder care. That said, my wife and I have our wills, advanced directives, etc. as well as LTC insurance (just in case).


My wife and I are covered by LTC insurance. This year the premium for each policy increased a little more than 50%. One more increase and we may drop out.

We have talked about purchasing burial plots and funeral plans. How many of you have done this? Do you think this is a wise choice, particularly from a financial and emotional standpoint?

Seth Brett

Every living life has a final end of their life. So every human has a final journey from this earth. It true to save something for our final journey as we save something for any excursion. This is a fabulous post to increase awareness to save something for final journey. Thanks for making a nice post….

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