Long Term Care?
Most people don’t know what long term care is until they or someone they love need it.
What is Long Term Care?
Long term care is the care you may need if you are unable to perform daily activities on your own. That means things like eating, bathing, dressing, transferring and using the bathroom. The goal of long term care is to help you maintain your lifestyle as you age. Medicare, Medicare supplement insurance, and the health insurance you may have at work usually won’t pay for long term care.
Why would you need it?
A need for long term care may result from accidents, illnesses, advancing aging, stroke, or other chronic conditions.
Experience how aging affects your vision, hearing & mobility
Cognitive illnesses, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are a growing concern for society. Currently, 6.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and that number continues to grow steadily. In fact by 2050, this number is projected to increase to almost 13 million3. The average life expectancy after Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis is 8-10 years,4 much of which may require some form of long term care.
Who is Affected?
The need for long term care impacts the entire family, not just the person requiring care. For example, if your son or daughter is taking care of you, it may bring you closer together in some way. But providing that care can be time-consuming, stressful, or exhausting for a caregiver. It also takes them away from their own obligations including their children, their spouses, and their job.
Learn more about the effects of caregiving
What are the factors that affect who needs long term care?5
- Age: As you get older, the more likely you will need long term care.
- Gender: Since women often live longer than men, they have a greater likelihood of needing long term care.
- Family & Housing Situation: People who live alone are more likely to need care from a paid caregiver.
- Health: Having a chronic health condition like diabetes or high blood pressure or a family history of them may increase your risk.
- Lifestyle: Poor diet and lack of exercise may increase your risk.
Choices in Care Settings
While the majority of people want to receive long term care services in the home they’ve always lived in, that option isn’t always right depending on the need. It’s important to familiarize yourself now with the choices available so you can live life on your terms later. Figuring out where to receive care starts with knowing what the options are.
Next Steps: Plan for Long Term Care
- 2021 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "How Much Care Will You Need?" (February 18, 2020). https://acl.gov/ltc/basic-needs/how-much-care-will-you-needopens in new window. Site accessed 01/14/22.
- Beyond Dollars 2021PDF opens in new window - page 17
- 2021 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures - Site accessed 01/14/22
- “Life Expectancy and Long-Term Outlook for Alzheimer’s Disease”, healthline.comopens in new window - Site accessed 01/14/22.
- https://acl.gov/ltc/basic-needs/who-needs-care - Site accessed 01/14/22