7 Things You Need to Know About Long-Term Care

7 Things You Need to Know About Long-Term Care

Recent research by the US Department of Health & Human Services projects that most seniors age 65 or older will need long-term care at some point in their lives. As noted by the long-term care experts at the Mayo Clinic®, “If you're considering long-term care options for yourself, a parent or another loved one, start the research and discussions early. If you wait, an injury or illness might force your hand – leading to a hasty decision that might not be best in the long run.”

Susan Irrgang, RN, LNHA, Executive Director at Saunders House in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, says, “Today, we find that many seniors are confused about long-term care. ‘What does it cover?’ Who pays for it?’ ‘Where is it provided?’

“Therefore, an important first step for seniors and their families is to understand the basics of long-term care so they can begin to consider their options for future care needs and begin their planning now.”

7 Key Facts About Long-Term Care

LongTermCare.Gov provides many important facts about long-term care that are helpful in understanding and considering your options for care you could need in the future. For example:

  1. What is long-term care? Long-term care is a range of services and supports you may need to meet your personal care needs. Most long-term care is not medical care, but rather assistance with the basic personal tasks of everyday life, sometimes called Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring from a bed or chair, incontinence care and eating.

It can also include Instrumental Activities of Daily Living for assistance with everyday tasks such as taking medication, housework, money management and grocery shopping.

  1. Who typically needs long-term care? Not surprisingly, the older you are, the more likely it is that you will need long-term care. Also, because women outlive men by about five years on average, they are more likely to require some type of long-term care and support. Women are also more likely than men to get Alzheimer’s disease, and they are more likely to suffer a debilitating stroke. Individuals who have an accident or chronic illness that causes a disability are also likely to need long-term care as they age.

  2. How much care will you need? The length and level of long-term care will vary by individual. Consider the following statistics to give you an idea:

    1. Someone turning age 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services and support in their remaining years

    2. Women need care longer (3.7 years) than men (2.2 years)

    3. 20 percent of those 65 or older will need long-term care for longer than five years

  3. Who will provide your care? Long-term care services and support can be provided by various sources. Examples include a family member or close friend; a nurse, a home health or home care aide, or therapist who comes to the home; adult day services provided during the day at a community-based center; and professional caregivers at a licensed long-term care community.

  4. Where can you receive long-term care? In addition to receiving long-term care in the home or at a local community-based center, full-service, round-the-clock care is provided by licensed long-term nursing care communities that provide 24/7 professional nursing care, amenities and life enrichment activities to those who have chronic illnesses or disabilities or are unable to take care of daily living needs. These communities provide the most comprehensive range of services, including skilled nursing care, medical director oversight, rehabilitation services and 24-hour supervision.

    Other facility-based options include assisted living and continuing care retirement communities.

  5. Who pays for long-term care? Contrary to popular belief, Medicare does not pay for the “activities of daily living, which comprise the majority of long-term care services. Medicare only covers long-term care if you require skilled services or rehabilitative care and includes limits on the number of days it will pay for your care.

    Medicaid pays for the largest share of long-term care services, but in order to qualify your income must be below a certain level and you must meet minimum state eligibility requirements. Other federal programs such as the Older Americans Act and the Department of Veterans Affairs pay for long-term care services, but only for specific populations and in certain circumstances.”

    Most private health insurance coverage only covers the same limited services as Medicare. However, there are an increasing number of private payment options that are available to fund long-term care services. These include:

    Long-term care insurance
    Reverse mortgages
    Life insurance options

  6. How do I begin to plan for long-term care? The article, “7 Ways You Can Proactively Plan for Long-Term Care as You Age,” provides an excellent step-by-step guide to help you get started on considering your future needs, making important legal and financial decisions and preparing a plan that’s best for you and your family.

Susan adds, “We welcome any questions you have about long-term care and invite you to take a tour of our community and meet our wonderful caregivers. We also invite you to stay current on other senior health and senior care topics by viewing the latest articles on our website.

We’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts!

If you have comments or questions about our blog on “7 Things You Need to Know About Long-Term Care,” we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences with us in our comments section.

Discover Our Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness

Located adjacent to Lankenau Medical Center, Saunders House – part of Main Line Senior Care Alliance – has a celebrated tradition of providing exceptional care and services to seniors and their families. It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue.

Today, Saunders House offers a range of services – including short-term rehabilitation, traditional nursing care, restorative care, memory care, respite care and specialized care for individuals with visual impairments – all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing.

For more information on Saunders House, our Short-Term Rehabilitation program and other professional services, please call us today at 610.658.5100 or contact us online.

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Saunders House and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.

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