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Long-Term Care – What You Need to Know

What is Long-Term Care?

Long-term care involves a variety of services designed to meet a person’s health or personal care needs during a short or long period of time. These services help people live as independently and safely as possible when they can no longer perform everyday activities on their own.

Long-term care is provided in different places by different caregivers, depending on a person’s needs. Most long-term care is provided at home by unpaid family members and friends. It can also be given in a facility such as a nursing home or in the community, for example, in an adult day care center.

The most common type of long-term care is personal care—help with everyday activities, also called “activities of daily living.” These activities include bathing, dressing, grooming, using the toilet, eating, and moving around—for example, getting out of bed and into a chair.

Long-term care also includes community services such as meals, adult day care, and transportation services. These services may be provided free or for a fee.

People often need long-term care when they have a serious, ongoing health condition or disability. The need for long-term care can arise suddenly, such as after a heart attack or stroke. Most often, however, it develops gradually, as people get older and frailer or as an illness or disability gets worse.

Who Needs Long-Term Care?

It is difficult to predict how much or what type of long-term care a person might need. Several things increase the risk of needing long-term care.

  • Age. The risk generally increases as people get older.
  • Gender. Women are at higher risk than men, primarily because they often live longer.
  • Marital status. Single people are more likely than married people to need care from a paid provider.
  • Lifestyle. Poor diet and exercise habits can increase a person’s risk.
  • Health and family history. These factors also affect risk.

What Are the Different Types of Home-Based Long-Term Care Services?

Home-based long-term care includes health, personal, and support services to help people stay at home and live as independently as possible. Most long-term care is provided either in the home of the person receiving services or at a family member’s home. In-home services may be short-term—for someone who is recovering from an operation, for example—or long-term, for people who need ongoing help.

Most home-based services involve personal care, such as help with bathing, dressing, and taking medications, and supervision to make sure a person is safe. Unpaid family members, partners, friends, and neighbors provide most of this type of care.

Home-based long-term care services can also be provided by paid caregivers, including caregivers found informally, and healthcare professionals such as nurses, home health care aides, therapists, and homemakers, who are hired through home health care agencies. These services include: home health care, homemaker services, friendly visitor/companion services, and emergency response systems.

Home Health Care

Home health care involves part-time medical services ordered by a physician for a specific condition. These services may include nursing care to help a person recover from surgery, an accident, or illness. Home health care may also include physical, occupational, or speech therapy and temporary home health aide services. These services are provided by home health care agencies approved by Medicare, a government insurance program for people over age 65.

Homemaker and Personal Care Services

Home health agencies offer homemaker and personal care services that can be purchased without a physician’s order. Homemaker services include help with meal preparation and household chores. Personal care includes help with bathing and dressing. Agencies do not have to be approved by Medicare to provide these kinds of services.

Long-Term Care Planning

You can never know for sure if you will need long-term care. Maybe you will never need it. But an unexpected accident, illness, or injury can change your needs, sometimes suddenly. The best time to think about long-term care is before you need it.

Planning for the possibility of long-term care gives you time to learn about services in your community and what they cost. It also allows you to make important decisions while you are still able.

For help planning for future long-term care needs, please contact CMR & Associates (info@cmr-associates.com).

About CMR & Associates

CMR & Associates provides independent risk management consulting, group benefit, insurance, and retirement advice by reviewing your current plans to improve coverage and reduce cost. Through our proprietary database – The CMR Database® (comprised of some 13,000 brokers and specialists globally) – we maximize access to the insurance and retirement industry for greater options that will translate to better coverage and lower cost. Since 1999, we have saved clients over $120 million.

Please email CMR Associates or call 877-447-4301 or 212-447-4300 for more information.