Despite the fact that survey participants had a clear idea of how they wanted to be cared for, few people were talking to their family members about it.
About half of the individuals in the Nationwide study said they were speaking with their spouses about the cost of long-term care. Only 10 percent said they spoke with their kids about it.
"People want a family member to care for them, but they aren't taking the steps to have the conversation," said Holly Snyder, vice president of Nationwide's life insurance business.
Here's where to begin.
Talk to your spouse and the kids: You can't prepare your family to provide care if you don't make your wishes known well ahead of time. Work with your advisor and your family to discuss where and how to receive care, as those choices can be a significant factor in determining the cost.
Bring in your financial advisor: Your advisor can also help you come up with a way to pay for those expenses. Your funding choices for long-term care can include a traditional long-term care insurance policy, a hybrid cash-value life insurance policy to help cover these expenses or self-insuring with your own wealth — as long as you have the money.
Hammer out your legal documents: Head off legal battles at the pass. Get a health-care proxy in place so that you designate a trusted individual to oversee your medical care and ensure that professionals comply with your wishes in case you're unable to communicate.
Also, consider a power of attorney for your finances. You would select a trusted person to make financial decisions for you and ensure your bills get paid if you're incapacitated.
Don't forget the small details: Imagine that your elderly parent has a medical emergency and is on the way to the hospital. Would you be able to answer questions on medications and allergies? Spell out those details in a written plan so that you're ready.
"It's not just the financials that are in play, but who are the doctors?" asked Martin. "What are the medications? Who will care for the dog? Have that plan in place."
More from Personal Finance
Plan ahead to protect your family fortune from this retirement risk
Nursing home care can quickly deplete your retirement savings
Maximize your tax benefit from medical expenses this year