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Most People Will Need Long-Term Care at Some Stage

  • Synopsis: Published: 2011-11-21 (Rev. 2013-08-21) - Long-term care encompasses the support services people might need when they struggle with disability or chronic disease. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Weiner & McCulloch PLLC.

Definition:

Long-term care (LTC) - A variety of services that includes medical and non-medical care to people who have a chronic illness or disability. Long-term care helps meet health or personal needs. Most long-term care is to assist people with support services such as activities of daily living like dressing, bathing, and using the bathroom. Long-term care can be provided at home, in the community, in assisted living or in nursing homes. It is important to remember that you may need long-term care at any age.

Main Document

"Long-term care should keep people as independent as possible and can be specifically designed around the unique needs of individuals"

Long-Term Care - Most People Will Need It in Their Lifetimes - The National Institutes of Health says that almost three-quarters of those over 65 will need long-term care at some level.

Long-term care encompasses the support services people might need when they struggle with disability or chronic disease. Most obviously, such a patient needs skilled medical care, but the particular condition may also affect other aspects of life. For example, the person may also require personal help with the core activities of daily living - ADLs for short - such as dressing, walking, bathing or eating.

Long-term care also includes help, when necessary, with so-called instrumental activities of daily living such as chores, shopping, emergency preparedness, cooking, pet care, staying in touch with others via phone or other communication modes, and money and medication management. In essence, IADLs are those tasks people do to maintain safe, healthy homes and to live normal lives in the community.

Basic needs requiring long-term care services stem from physical conditions like broken bones or arthritis, or from mental impairment that causes symptoms like confusion or memory loss.

Likelihood of Need

Of course most long-term care services are used by the elderly, but younger people may need them too after illness or injury. We all hope to remain independent, but the statistics do not necessarily support that dream. The National Institutes of Health says that almost three-quarters of those over 65 will need long-term care at some level.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture in conjunction with America's Health Insurance Plans, known as AHIP, provide some relevant statistics:

  • About one-fifth of Americans over 64 years old have some "chronic physical impairment."
  • Over half the people 85 or older need long-term care services and this is the fastest-growing segment of the population.
  • Usually about a quarter of those 85 or older require nursing-home placement.
  • Attributes that increase the odds of needing long-term care include older age, being female, being single, unhealthy lifestyle and certain genetic makeup.

Service Delivery Options

Long-term care should keep people as independent as possible and can be specifically designed around the unique needs of individuals. In that spirit, most long-term care services are supplied right in a person's own home, most often by unpaid relatives, partners or friends. However, sometimes paid professional providers like home health aides, companion services or housekeepers are necessary.

A wide variety of community-based service meets some long-term care needs that help people stay out of residential facilities. Examples of such programs include meal delivery, adult day care centers and transportation.

The most intensive - and usually most expensive - long-term care is that delivered in residential facilities like residential nursing homes, also called skilled nursing facilities or SNFs. Other residential options include adult foster care or assisted living centers.

If you or a loved one is facing the probability of needing long-term care it is a good idea to contact an elder law attorney before the needs are acute to begin the process of long-term care planning.

Article provided by Weiner & McCulloch PLLC - Visit us at www.elderlawhousing.com



Related:

  1. Importance of Long-Term Care Planning - Many assume that government programs like Medicare or Medicaid will completely cover the cost of all long-term care needs...
  2. Fact Sheets Highlighting Critical Issues on Long-Term Care - The SCAN Foundation Series of National Fact Sheets Highlighting Critical Issues on Long-Term Care.



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