Long Term Care Planning
What is Long Term Care?
Long Term Care is the assistance needed when a person is unable to manage their own personal care needs or when they need help with daily activities. This type of care is called custodial care and may be required due to a chronic illness or disability, but could also be from memory loss.
What is Custodial Care?
Custodial Care is non-medical care that helps people with their basic daily needs such as walking, bathing, eating, dressing and using the toilet. This type of care is often recommended by licensed medical personnel, but providers of custodial care are not required to be medical professionals.
Does Medicare Pay for Custodial Care?
Medicare does NOT cover custodial care when it’s the only kind of care you need.
Who Needs Long Term Care Services?
The need for long term care services generally falls into these two categories:
- Physical impairment requiring assistance with activities of daily living (ADL’s) such as: bathing, continence, dressing, eating, toileting and transferring.
- Cognitive impairment such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. For example, an individual may be able to physically take care of their activities of daily living, but forget to turn off the stove or cannot remember where they live.
Risk of Needing Long Term Care Services
Research from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows that at least 70 percent of people over 65 will need long term care services and support at some point in their lifetime. However, the need for long term care does not only impact seniors as 40 percent of people currently receiving long term care services are ages 18 to 64.
Personal factors can increase the risk of needing long term care:
- Age – The older a person gets, the more likely it is they will need assistance.
- Living Alone – If you live alone it is more likely you will need to pay for care. It is less likely if you’re married or single and live with a partner.
- Gender – As illustrated in the chart above, women are more likely to need long term care than men. Mostly because women tend to live longer than men.
- Lifestyle – Poor diet and exercise habits increase the chance of needing long term care services.
- Personal History – Health and family history can increase the chances of needing long term care.
Where Is Long Term Care Received?
- Home Health Care – A home health care provider visits your home for a few hours or up to 24 hours per day.
- Adult Day Care – Adult Day Care Facilities are for those who have caregivers at home. Adult day care provides care while the primary caregiver goes to work or attends to personal matters such as shopping or banking. This option can help to keep the patient out of a nursing home.
- Assisted Living – Assisted living facilities are for people who need minor assistance due to cognitive impairment or with their activities of daily living. These facilities can be a very good alternative to nursing homes and often provide many activities for their residents. Residents can have their own apartment where they may be able to bring their own furniture.
- Nursing Homes – This is a setting which provides 24-hour care. There are options for private rooms but semi-private rooms are most common. Over 40 percent of all long term care is provided in a nursing home.