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Adult Floridians Concerned About Ability to Care for Aging Parents, New Survey Shows

Jul 30 • 563 Views • View Comments

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Adult Floridians Concerned About Ability to Care for Aging Parents, New Survey Shows

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A clear majority of Florida adults are deeply concerned about their ability to help aging parents face the increasing challenges of age-related decline, according to a newly released statewide poll. Leaders of Florida’s long term care profession said the findings underscore the need for Florida’s next governor to ensure that a range of service options is in place to help the state’s large and growing aging population.

The survey by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research was commissioned by the Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) in conjunction with the organization’s 60th anniversary. FHCA also launched a new online resource – www.ElderCareFlorida.com – to assist adults and their aging parents as they explore long term care options. At the same time, the Association released a 60 Years of Caring report highlighting improvements in long term care in Florida over the past six decades.

“As Florida begins to feel the impact of aging Baby Boomers, it’s important we identify the needs and concerns of those who will be responsible for their care,” said Joe Mitchell, president of FHCA. “Many adult Floridians will soon be taking on greater responsibilities for their parents’ care. Fortunately, Florida is a national leader in providing quality care for the elderly, with a wide range of care options that are among the best anywhere.”

Almost one in three Florida skilled nursing facilities were included in U.S. News & World Report’s recent “Best in Nursing Homes” list. In other surveys, 91 percent of Florida skilled nursing facility residents describe their overall satisfaction level as “excellent” or “good,” and the same percentage say they would recommend their long term care facility to others.

The Mason-Dixon poll shows clearly that as they consider the potential challenges of aging parents and an aging population, most Floridians are nervous about their ability to help meet parents’ needs, apprehensive about the strain those needs might place on their own lives and families, and anxious for Florida to provide enough options as their parents advance in age.

According to the poll:

  • Almost three out of five adults (58 percent) say they are concerned about their ability to care for the physical health of an aging parent.
  • More than two-thirds (67 percent) are concerned about their ability to care for the diminishing mental capabilities of an aging parent.
  • Almost half (48 percent) are concerned that the needs of a parent will place a financial strain in their own lives.
  • More than two-thirds (67 percent) are concerned that their parents’ needs will create an emotional strain in their own lives.
  • Only about one-third are very confident of their ability to personally meet the needs of an aging parent, whether that parent remained in his or her own home (33 percent) or moved into the adult child’s home (35 percent).

“These survey results provide our first detailed look at the thinking of Floridians who will soon be faced with the challenge of caring for aging parents,” said Tom Groesbeck, a member of FHCA’s Executive Committee. “By understanding their concerns, we can help shape care options that best meet the needs of aging Floridians for years to come.”

To assist Floridians as they consider long term care options, FHCA today launched a new “Elder Care in Florida” website. The site offers details of various care options available to aging Floridians, as well as information for dealing with such issues of aging as memory loss, depression and falls. The site also provides a forum for Floridians to share their experiences with others who may be contemplating the same choices.

The poll offers insights into the attitudes of the so-called “sandwich” generation, working-age adults who have children of their own but also must help with the care of their own parents. The survey found that more than one in three adult Floridians (36 percent) who have family members in assisted living also have children under the age of 18, creating added stress to deal with two generations that require additional time and care to meet their needs.

The survey results also indicate that an overwhelming majority of Floridians (93 percent) consider it important for Florida to have a strong system of assisted living facilities and skilled nursing facilities (also referred to as nursing homes) to meet the state’s growing long term care demands. Additionally, 71 percent said they would be very supportive if a parent who needs daily medical and living care makes the decision to live in a skilled nursing or assisted living community.

Florida has the highest median age in the nation, with more than one in five Floridians over the age of 65. This large senior population creates numerous important challenges for Florida, particularly when coupled with such concerns as a shortage of geriatric specialists; increasing rates of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias; limited transportation options for aging Floridians; and the rise of two-career families leaving no one home to care for needy loved ones.

“Those of us in the long term care profession are grateful for the support provided for Florida’s elders over the years by governors and legislators,” said Emmett Read, FHCA executive director. “As seniors grow to be one-fourth of our state’s population, it will be especially important for our next leaders to recognize the challenges and meet the needs of this large and important group of individuals.”

A copy of the survey results is attached. To download the 60 Years of Caring report, visit www.fhca.org.

Contact:
Kristen Knapp, APR
(850) 701-3530
kknapp@fhca.org

mason-dixon

HOW THE POLL WAS CONDUCTED

This poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. of Jacksonville, Florida from May 15 through May 20, 2014. A total of 625 adult Florida residents were interviewed statewide by telephone.  All respondents indicated they had a living parent or in-law that was at least 56 years of age.

Those interviewed on land-lines were selected by the random variation of the last four digits of telephone numbers.  A cross-section of exchanges was utilized in order to ensure an accurate reflection of the state. Those interviewed on cell phones were selected from a list of working cell phone numbers.  Quotas were assigned to reflect population by county.

The margin for error, according to standards customarily used by statisticians, is no more than ±4%.  This means that there is a 95 percent probability that the “true” figure would fall within that range if all qualified adults were surveyed.  The margin for error is higher for any subgroup, such as a gender or age grouping.

QUESTION: Have you ever had experience with an aging family member in an assisted living facility?

YES         32%

NO          68%

—————————————————————-

(IF “YES” n=199) 

QUESTION: How would you rate the experience you had most recently with an assisted living facility?  Was it:

VERY POSITIVE                 32%

SOMEWHAT POSITIVE    36%

SOMEWHAT NEGATIVE   16%

VERY NEGATIVE                 16%

QUESTION: Was that assisted living facility located in Florida?

YES         75%

NO          25%

—————————————————————

QUESTION: Have you ever had experience with an aging family member in a nursing home?

YES          30%

NO            70%

—————————————————————-

(IF “YES” n=199)

QUESTION: How would you rate the experience you had most recently with a nursing home?  Was it:

VERY POSITIVE                10%

SOMEWHAT POSITIVE  46%

SOMEWHAT NEGATIVE 28%

VERY NEGATIVE               16%

QUESTION: Was that nursing home located in Florida?

YES         60%

NO          40%

ALL RESPONDENTS:

QUESTION: How confident are you that you could personally meet the needs of an aging parent if they suffered a physical or mental decline and continued to live in their home? Are you:

VERY CONFIDENT                 33%

SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT    29%

NOT TOO CONFIDENT          23%

NOT AT ALL CONFIDENT      14%

NOT SURE (NOT READ)         1%

QUESTION: How confident are you that you could personally meet the needs of an aging parent if they suffered a physical or mental decline and lived with you in your home? Are you:

VERY CONFIDENT                 35%

SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT    33%

NOT TOO CONFIDENT          18%

NOT AT ALL CONFIDENT     13%

NOT SURE (NOT READ)      1%

QUESTION: How much of a challenge do you consider the growing number of older people in Florida? Is it a:

MAJOR CHALLENGE          40%

SOMEWHAT OF A CHALLENGE     41%

MINOR CHALLENGE          9%

NOT A CHALLENGE          10%

QUESTION: Who do you believe should bear the single greatest responsibility for an individual’s economic well-being in their old age?

THE INDIVIDUAL THEMSELVES        33%

THE FAMILY OF THE INDIVIDUAL     50%

THE GOVERNMENT                                 16%

NOT SURE (NOT READ)                          1%

QUESTION: How confident are you that you know where to go to find information about aging and resources available to the aging? Are you:

VERY CONFIDENT                 42%

SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT    34%

NOT TOO CONFIDENT           17%

NOT AT ALL CONFIDENT       7%

QUESTION: Are either you or your spouse a person who holds primary responsibility to help an aging parent or in-law?

YES          37%

NO           63%

QUESTION: Have you talked with a parent about how to handle their care if they can no longer make decisions on their own?

YES          75%

NO           25%

QUESTION: How concerned are you about your ability to care for the physical health of a parent as they age? Are you:

VERY CONCERNED                26%

SOMEWHAT CONCERNED   32%

NOT TOO CONCERNED         27%

NOT AT ALL CONCERNED     15%

QUESTION: How concerned are you about your ability to care for the diminishing mental capabilities of a parent as they age? Are you:

VERY CONCERNED                31%

SOMEWHAT CONCERNED   36%

NOT TOO CONCERNED         22%

NOT AT ALL CONCERNED     11%

QUESTION: How concerned are you that the needs of a parent as they age will create an emotional strain in your own life? Are you: 

VERY CONCERNED                 29%

SOMEWHAT CONCERNED    38%

NOT TOO CONCERNED          20%

NOT AT ALL CONCERNED      13%

QUESTION: How concerned are you that the needs of a parent as they age will create a financial strain in your own life? Are you: 

VERY CONCERNED                23%

SOMEWHAT CONCERNED   25%

NOT TOO CONCERNED         27%

NOT AT ALL CONCERNED     25%

QUESTION: How concerned are you that you would not have enough time to meet the day-to-day needs of an aging parent? Are you:

VERY CONCERNED                28%

SOMEWHAT CONCERNED   32%

NOT TOO CONCERNED         20%

NOT AT ALL CONCERNED     20%

QUESTION: If a parent needed daily medical and living care and chose to live in a nursing home or assisted living community, how supportive would you be of their decision?  Would you be:

VERY SUPPORTIVE                71%

SOMEWHAT SUPPORTIVE  24%

NOT TOO SUPPORTIVE           4%

NOT AT ALL SUPPORTIVE      1%

QUESTION: How important is it to you that there is a continuity of care available to a parent as they age and their care needs become greater? Is it:

VERY IMPORTANT                 75%

SOMEWHAT IMPORTANT    21%

NOT TOO IMPORTANT             4%

NOT IMPORTANT AT ALL        -

QUESTION: How do you feel Florida nursing homes and assisted living facilities compare to those in other states?  In general, do you feel:

FLORIDA FACILITIES ARE BETTER   6%

THEY ARE ABOUT THE SAME            34%

FLORIDA FACILITIES ARE WORSE    10%

NOT SURE/NO BASIS TO COMPARE (NOT READ)   50%

QUESTION: How familiar are you with the Patient’s Bill of Rights that regulates how care is to be provided to residents in long-term care facilities?  Are you:

VERY FAMILIAR                17%

SOMEWHAT FAMILIAR   31%

NOT AT ALL FAMILIAR     52%

QUESTION: How confident are you that a large majority of people who work in assisted living and nursing home settings have specialized knowledge and care about people who are aging? Are you:

VERY CONFIDENT                 6%

SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT   51%

NOT TOO CONFIDENT         30%

NOT AT ALL CONFIDENT     11%

NOT SURE (NOT READ)      2%

QUESTION: How important do you feel it is that Florida has a strong system of assisted living and nursing homes to help those who are the most fragile and have the greatest needs?  Is it:

VERY IMPORTANT                71%

SOMEWHAT IMPORTANT   22%

NOT TOO IMPORTANT           4%

NOT IMPORTANT AT ALL      2%

NOT SURE (NOT READ)       1%

QUESTION: Do you have a child under the age of 18 currently living in your home?

YES          43%

NO            57%

QUESTION: Does any adult in your household not hold a job outside the home?

YES               35%

NO                64%

REFUSED      1% 

DEMOGRAPHICS:

AGE:

18-29                  58  (9%)

30-39                 113 (18%)

40-49                 193 (31%)

50+                    261 (42%)

RACE/ETHNICITY:

White/Caucasian          440 (70%)

Black/African American  95 (15%)

Hispanic or Cuban           79 (13%)

Other/Refused                  11  (2%)

SEX:

Male                      293 (47%)

Female                  332 (53%)

REGION:

North Florida           125 (20%)

Central Florida        180 (21%)

Tampa Bay               120 (19%)

Southwest Florida     70 (11%)

Southeast Florida    180 (29%)

 

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