What exactly is long term care?
According to the National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information, long term care is “a range of services and supports you may need to meet your health or personal needs over a long period of time.” These services fall into two major categories:
“Activities of Daily Living” include bathing, dressing, transferring to or from a bed or chair), and eating.
“Instrumental Activities of Daily Living” include (but are not limited to) housework, taking medication, errands, caring of pets, and using communication devices.
The need for long term care, which can be provided at home or in a special facility, usually stems from a health condition, such as a chronic illness or disability. Age-related factors can also increase the likelihood for needing services.
The National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information is a government website that provides information and resources to those who are inquiring about long term care needs for themselves or a family member. Here’s a short list of age-related factors or risks they cite when considering long term care:
- Age: The older you get, the more likely it is that you’ll need help.
- Living alone: If you live alone, you’re more likely to need paid care than if you live with others.
- Gender: Women are more likely to need long-term care than men, primarily because women tend to live longer.
- Lifestyle: Poor diet and exercise habits increase the chance that you’ll need long-term care.
- Personal history: Health and family history can increase the chances you’ll need long-term care.
The cost of long term care is a major issue to consider, and you may benefit from signing-up for coverage early on.
“Medicare, VA benefits and employer programs cover some costs of long term care,” says Katherine Hutt, spokesperson for the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “But more and more people are adding private long term care insurance policies to their retirement planning. Make that decision sooner rather than later; the younger you are when you buy the policy, the less it will cost you. And once you have a major health issue, such as stroke, Alzheimer’s, metastatic cancer or Parkinson’s, you may not be able to get coverage.”
To find out more information about long-term care, go to www.longtermcare.gov/LTC/. For more consumer tips or to check out a business or charity, go to www.bbb.org.