NORC Report: Many Middle-Income Seniors Will Not Be Able to Pay for Long-Term Care and Housing in 10 Years

A new NORC analysis updating the groundbreaking “Forgotten Middle” study finds that there will be 16 million middle-income seniors in 2033, many of whom will struggle to pay for the health, personal care, and housing services that they need. For instance, excluding home equity, nearly three-quarters of middle-income seniors in 2033 will have insufficient financial resources to pay for assisted living, if they need and want it. Even with home equity, nearly 40% will not be able to afford assisted living.

Funded by The SCAN Foundation, this new analysis examines the size, demographics, health needs, and financial resources of middle-income seniors aged 75 and older in 2033. As people age, they may experience increasing health needs, deteriorating mobility, and cognitive impairment. These conditions can make it challenging for seniors to live independently in their homes without additional caregiving support. While many people rely on unpaid caregiving from family and friends, others will require paid support. For those who need or want it, assisted living is an important housing and care alternative.

Key findings from the study illustrate the likely need many seniors will experience regarding long-term care and housing, including:

  • Future seniors are less likely to be married, and many do not have children living nearby.
  • Among middle-income seniors, more than half will have three or more chronic conditions, and 56 percent will have mobility limitations.
  • One in three seniors will face cognitive impairments, with that percentage growing to 40 percent for those 85 and older.