Long-Term Care Basics
What is Long-Term Care?
Long term care is not insurance. There is a type of insurance called long-term care insurance, but the term, long-term care, actually refers to the type of care that you would receive if you were no longer able to care for yourself due to an illness, chronic condition, or advanced age.
As we age, we might have more difficulty functioning independently. Long term care includes either skilled care, which is ordered by a doctor to treat a medical condition, or custodial, which includes assistance with the Activities of Daily Living, which include the following:
Transferring (moving into or out of a chair or bed)
About 80 percent of care at home is provided by unpaid caregivers and may include an array of emotional, financial, nursing, social, homemaking, and other services.
Who Provides Long-Term Care?
Most individuals would prefer to receive all of their long-term care at home but sometimes that’s not possible. That’s why it’s not uncommon for many people to move from one provider type to another as their need for more intensive care increases.
Unpaid Provider At Home
This is usually a family member providing basic services in the home. This can be done if the care needs are minimal and it allows the individual receiving care to stay at home, which is usually preferred.
Home Health Care Agency
Home Health Care Agencies can be used on a part-time of full-time basis to provide respite for caregiving family members or friends. They are able to provide increased levels of care but still allow the person receiving care to remain at home.
Adult Day Care
When full-time care in the home is not possible, Adult Day Care may be utilized. Adult Day Care might be able to provide services that an unpaid caregiver at home cannot provide. There is also an opportunity for the person receiving care to experience needed social interaction.
Assisted Living Center
Assisted Living Facility provides a community-based care when home care is no longer possible or desirable. It provides increased levels of care and social interaction but care is not as intensive — or expensive — as a nursing home.
Nursing Homes provide the highest levels of long-term care and are the most expensive type of long-term care provider. In addition to social interaction, Nursing Homes provide more intensive day-to day care than any other type of provider, including structured schedules and trained nurses on staff in case medical issues arise.
How Much Does Long-Term Care Cost?
Below are some national average costs for long-term care in the United States (in 2016).2 Click on the tab for each provider type to see its cost:
Who Pays For Long-Term Care?
There are three primary ways to pay for long-term care services. One requires personal assets to self-pay, another is Medicaid, and the third is payment via personal insurance.
Medicare is not a source for paying for your long-term care.
You would pay for long-term care using your personal assets. Will you have enough assets to pay for long-term care and carry out the rest of your financial plans in retirement? Do you want to do this?
Most people visiting this site would not be able to qualify for Medicaid. The spend-down requirements could not be realistically met and would not be a desirable option.
Long-Term Care Insurance
You would apply for an insurance policy that would pay all or part of the expenses of long-term care for you and your spouse, if applicable. There are different types of policies to choose from to meet your specific needs.
2019 Long-Term Care Consumer Guide
Click below for this valuable guide about long-term care and long-term care insurance.