written by Kevin K. Johnson, CSA
After last month’s blog, “Costs of Long-Term Senior Care”, I received a few questions of a similar nature. “What constitutes long-term care? Sometimes we want to believe that there is a pre-existing baseline of understanding, but often this is just not the case. So let’s talk about Long-Term Care.
Generally speaking, long-term care is a requirement, perhaps a required outcome that results when injury or disease keeps an individual from taking care of themselves for a long period of time. ‘Long period of time’ is somewhat subjective, but actuaries have been able to address this in general terms for purposes of providing insurance.
When Would Long-Term Care Be Needed?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tells us that:
- At least 70% of people over age 65 will require some lone-term care
- Of those who need long-term care, 40% are under age 65
An individual may need assistance as part of the normal aging process, or they may have a medical crisis such as:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Vehicle accidents
Any serious injury or illness with long-lasting effects could keep an individual from performing the tasks necessary to sustain their independence. These tasks are referred to as activities of daily living (ADL’s) and include:
- Taking a bath
- Getting dressed
- Moving in and out of bed
- Using the bathroom
When an individual needs assistance with ADL’s, long-term care comes into effect.
What Are the Types of Long-Term Care?
Either in your home or in a facility, as stated above, long-term care refers to any kind of support for activities of daily living on a long-term basis. These types of long-term care services can occur at any location, for a person of any age.
If in the home, care can be delivered by:
- Personal Care Assistants or Companions: Assistance for household tasks like cleaning, cooking, running errands
- Home Health Aides: Assistance for personal care like bathing and dressing
- Nurses: Assistance with medications, IV’s, and more complex health issues
If in a facility, the range of care levels includes:
- Adult Day Health Care: Providing daytime social and therapeutic activities, while still living at home
- Assisted Living: Enables an individual to live with a degree of independence with on-site support for daily basics
- Nursing Homes: Providing more skilled and intense care, supervision, medication, therapies, and rehabilitation
In my next posting I’ll expand on options that can be put into play to assist in being prepared for Long-Term Care.