Most Americans know little about options for long-term services and supports and underestimate their likely future needs for such assistance. Using data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey, we examined expectations about future use of long-term services and supports among adults ages 40-65 and how these expectations varied by current living arrangement. We found differences by living arrangement in expectations about both future need for long-term services and supports and who would provide such care if needed. Respondents living with minor children were the least likely to expect to need long-term services and supports and to require paid care if the need arose. In contrast, respondents living alone were the most likely to expect that it was "very likely" that they would need long-term services and supports and to rely on paid care. Overall, we found a disconnect between expectations of use and likely future reality: 60 percent of respondents believed that they were unlikely to need long-term services and supports in the future, whereas the evidence suggests that nearly 70 percent of older adults will need them at some point. These findings both underscore the need for programs that encourage people to plan for long-term services and supports and indicate that information about living arrangements can be useful in developing and targeting such programs.
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