A recent survey on issues related to long-term care and the sometimes widely varying views between men and women on the subject gives credence to the phrase, "Men are from Mars and women are from Venus."

This could be a good topic to broach over turkey, if you feel that the Thanksgiving conversation at your house isn't, ahem, "lively" enough (or if you just want to increase the odds that food will fly at any dinner table where both genders are present).

In a survey of 1,000 people (half men, half women) ages 50 and older, nearly all of those who are married or living with a partner believe that they themselves are at least somewhat prepared to live alone if they outlive their spouse/partner (men 86 percent, women 90 percent). Here's where it gets interesting: While 83 percent of men think that their spouse/partner is at least somewhat prepared to live alone, just 67 percent of women said the same of their significant other.

That's not to say that men and women disagree entirely on the matter. More men than women (88 percent versus 72 percent) expect that their spouse would become their primary caregiver if they become disabled and need daily assistance. And women seem to agree -- more women than men say it is very likely that they will become their spouse's/partner's primary caregiver if he or she becomes disabled (77percent vs. 61 percent), according to a MetLife AARP poll.

Men and women are equally likely to envision living in an assisted living facility (men 64 percent, women 65 percent very or somewhat likely) or a nursing home (men 55 percent, women 50 percent). But when you add children into the mix, more differences emerge. Among those who have children or whose spouse/partner does, 41 percent of men believe it is very or somewhat likely that those children would become their primary caregiver -- compared to 55 percent of women who think that this is likely for them. Similarly, 26 percent of men think it is likely that they would move in with their children or their spouse's children, while 39 percent of women think that's a likely scenario (that number rises to 46 percent among women ages 50 to 58). I'd like to see the results of a survey of their children on the same topic... .

FYI, nearly equal numbers of men and women expect to dump their spouse or partner off on that persons' children if their spouse or partner becomes disabled and need daily assistance -- 43 percent of men and 38 percent of women who have children, or whose spouse/partner does, think the children would become their spouse's primary caregiver.

Not surprisingly, both genders share some misconceptions about financing long-term care. When asked what one source they would use to pay the largest share of their long-term care costs, similar numbers of men and women name sources that aren't viable -- Medicare (men 21 percent, women 21 percent), health insurance (7 percent, 9 percent), and disability insurance (3 percent, 1 percent). The good news is that an equal proportion name personal investments and assets (19 percent, 13 percent) and long-term care insurance (14 percent, 16 percent).

Have a safe and happy holiday!

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