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J Aging Soc Policy. 2008;20(2):182-200.

Long-term care preferences among older adults: a moving target?

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  • 1Department of Health Policy and Management and Lipitz Center for Integrated Health Care, The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


This study investigates long-term care preferences across three hypothetical scenarios and over one year of time among a sample of disabled older women receiving informal care (n = 420). Unpaid or paid help in one's home was preferred, given scenarios of instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) and activities of daily living (ADL) needs; nursing home care was most preferred for dementia care. While aggregate preferences for long-term care were relatively stable, there was considerable fluctuation in individuals' preferences over time, with just 52.5%, 44.4%, and 44.6% of participants retaining their initial first choice across IADL, ADL, and dementia scenarios, respectively. Implications of study findings are discussed.

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