How common is the need for long-term care among older people?

About 70 percent of people over age 65 need some type of long-term care during their lifetime. More than 40 percent need care in a nursing home for some period of time. The lifetime probability of becoming disabled in at least two activities of daily living or of being cognitively impaired is 68% for people age 65 and older.

By 2050, the number of individuals using paid long-term care services in any setting (e.g., at home, residential care such as assisted living, or skilled nursing facilities) will likely double from the 13 million using services in 2000, to 27 million people. This estimate is influenced by growth in the population of older people in need of care. Of the older population with long-term care needs in the community, about 30% (1.5 million persons) have substantial long-term care needs. Of these, about 25% are 85 and older and 70% report they are in fair to poor health.