What Is Long Term Care?  

What Is Long Term Care?

Long term care is a term describing a variety of services which help to meet the needs of people who have a chronic illness or disability, both medical and non-medical. These people generally are unable to care for themselves for long periods of time, although recipients of long term care are not necessarily receiving it for life. It is common for long term care providers to give custodial and non-skilled care such as assisting with normal daily tasks. These include things like dressing and bathing, which the person receiving the care may not be able to do for themselves.

Long term care can also include some medical care that most people do for themselves. This includes things like diabetes and diet monitoring. Long term care can be provided in a number of places, such as the home, community, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes. While it's possible for anyone of any age to need to receive long term care, most of the recipients of this kind of care are senior citizens.

Nearly ten million people over the age of 65 are estimated to currently need long term care. By 2020, that number is expected to rise to 12 million. Most are expected to be care for at home, since family and friends care for seventy percent of elderly people. However, close to 40 percent of people who reach age 65 will need to spend time in a nursing home at some point. About 10 percent of people who go to a nursing home stay for a decade or more.

This kind of care isn't covered by Medicare or by private insurance. Medicaid will cover it for elderly people who meet the income and citizenship requirements. Many people acquire long term care insurance to cover their possible later need for long term care. Whether or not this insurance is appropriate for you will depend on your financial situation.

There are several kinds of long term care. These include home care, either by volunteers or by medical professionals; assisted living, where periodic care is provided, but supervision isn't as constant as in a nursing home; and nursing homes themselves, where medical professionals are available constantly. The type of long term care that each person will need varies by situation. Because many long term care insurance policies only cover nursing homes, and because Medicaid provides more coverage for this kind of facility, many people find themselves going to nursing homes when they would rather receive another kind of long term care. However, as other options grow and as medical technology makes home care more accessible, this is slowly changing. More plans are becoming able to pay benefits for home care as well as nursing facility care. If you decide to purchase a plan to cover eventual long term care, be sure to read the fine print to make certain that it will cover the kind of care you plan to use.



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