Long-term care refers to a variety of services and supports that help you with health of personal care needs over an extended period of time.
There is a difference between traditional health-care services and long-term care services. Health-care services focus on the prevention and treatment of medical conditions. Long-term care services are designed to help you maintain your current lifestyle at a time when you may not be able to be fully independent.
You may need long-term care at any time in your life. In fact, about 43% of all claims for long-term care insurance benefits are from people under age 65.
You may need long-term care if you:
The type of care you receive can vary depending on your particular need.
Long-term care may also include care management services to evaluate your overall needs.
Most of us think of long-term care as being only for the elderly and those in nursing homes, but that’s only part of the story. Forty percent of people currently receiving long-term care services are adults under the age of 65. And, most people receive long-term care services either in their own home, or in the home of a family member—not in a nursing home.
The fact is, anyone at any age may need long-term care at some point in their lives. If you sustain an extensive injury or go through a prolonged illness, you may need help with your normal daily activities, such as bathing, getting dressed, or just getting around the house. If you become cognitively impaired, you may need help with meal preparation and eating, or reminders to take medications, or other kinds of support.
Although these everyday activities may seem mundane, they are essential to maintaining your independence. Your ability, or inability, to perform these regular activities of daily living give long-term care professionals and those in the insurance industry a very practical measure to use when deciding if you need long-term care. Activities of daily living, often referred to as ADLs, include such regular activities as:
You can’t predict the future, but these facts might give you an idea of how long you may need long-term care.
The amount and type of long-term care services you need will often change gradually over time. For example, early on you may need only occasional help for a few activities of daily living, and may choose to receive that assistance in your own home. Over time, however, you may begin to require more regular assistance and choose to live in an assisted living center.