Understanding Long Term Care
Long term care (LTC) is a topic that can be difficult and confusing to understand. You may believe you’ll never need such assistance or that your existing medical coverage will take care of it. In this series, our goal is to give you the tools and information you need so that you can create a plan should you ever need care. Whether you have cared for a loved one and have a little knowledge about long term care or are just starting to educate yourself about LTC, it’s important to start at the beginning with a better understanding of what it is.
What is Long Term Care?
When most people think of long term care, they think of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. But there are many different types of long term care, and it’s important to understand what each one entails.
In general, long term care is the type of care that you may require if you are unable to perform activities of daily living (ADLs). These activities include bathing, dressing, grooming, using the toilet, eating, and moving around—for example, getting out of bed and into a chair.
Why would you need it?
It can be difficult to imagine now, but chances are you’ll require assistance with personal care at some point in your life. You may suffer from a disabling accident, chronic illness, or simply reach the age where you are no longer able to care for yourself.
As our population ages, the number of people suffering from cognitive illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is increasing. Currently, 6.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and that number is expected to grow to 13 million by 2050. The average life expectancy after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is 8-10 years, during which time a person will require long term care.
The big question is do you have a plan?
Who is affected?
Unfortunately, in many cases, long term care is provided at home by unpaid family members and friends. It can be a huge strain on them both physically and mentally. Unexpected long term care expenses can quickly deplete retirement assets. It is important to note that most long term care is not considered medical care, and therefore not covered by most medical insurance as well as government programs like Medicare.
Long term care needs affect friends and family, not just the individual requiring it. For example, you may depend on your children to care for you, but some recent studies show that the stress of caregiving can have a negative impact on the health of the caregiver. It also takes them away from their current responsibilities such as work, children, and spouses. All of this can be a burden on the entire family.
It’s critical to understand the cost of long term care and the impact a long term care need can have on friends and family, not just the person receiving it.
What factors influence the need for long term care?
Long Term Care Options
While the majority of people prefer to receive long term care services at home, this may not always be feasible. It’s critical to learn all you need to know now so that you may live your life as you choose later on.
Figuring out where to receive care starts with knowing your options.
- Home Care
- Adult Day Care
- Respite Care
- Residential Care Homes
- Group Living
- Continuing Care Retirement Community
- Independent & Assisted Living
- Memory Care & Alzheimer’s Care
- Nursing Home
- Skilled Nursing Facility
- Hospice Care
When individuals have a serious, continuing health problem or disability, they frequently require long-term care. The need for long term care can come on suddenly, as in the case of a heart attack or stroke. However, it is most frequently caused by age, illness, or disability progression.
Living a healthy lifestyle
You might delay or avoid the need for long term care by being healthy and active. Consult your doctor about your medical and family history as well as your lifestyle. Your doctor may advise you on ways to improve your health.
Regular physical activity, a healthy diet, non-smoking, and limited alcohol consumption are all excellent ways to stay healthy. In addition, managing your stress can have a profound impact on your overall health and wellbeing. Maintaining an active social life, having a safe place to live, keeping your financial burdens at a minimum, and ensuring that you stay up-to-date on healthcare and dental checkups.
Ready to speak with your LTCi specialist?
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