Life-expectancy is increasing for Americans, and at the same time, more and more people are requiring long-term care. Long-term care is any kind of support that’s necessary on a long-term basis. According to Genworth Financial, at least 70% of people over age 65 will require some long-term care and 40% of people under age 65 already require long-term care. Long-term care is any type of care necessary for prolonged periods of time. Diseases like Alzheimer’s, stroke, accidents or even the normal aging process can necessitate long-term care and can significantly change the life of the person receiving care as well as their caregiver.
Today’s Caregiver states that “nearly one in four caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias provide 40 hours a week or more of care.” As time goes on, the amount of time spent providing care increases. Knowing that care exacts a huge emotional, time-consuming and financial toll on both caregiver and receiver, it’s important to plan for care early.
Planning Early is Vital
The need for long-term care amongst Americans is an issue that is more and more prevalent in the media, and hopefully that exposure will alert people to the considerations of planning for long-term care before it’s too late and financial or medically prohibitive. The Wall Street Journal’s Kelly Greene recently wrote a helpful article entitled “Don’t Grow Old Without It” about the current long-term care insurance landscape.
Options for Long-Term Care
There are many options for care outside of relying on family members, including in-home care. Personal Care Assistants or Companions can aid with household care like cleaning and cooking and even run errands or accompany a person on errands. Home Health Aides have a more personal role in care and are able to provide bathing and dressing assistance. For those people with more restrictive health issues, nurses can help with IVs and oversee medications.
If there are more serious health issues at play, home care isn’t necessarily the best option. There is a range of assisted care facilities in such situations. For some people who are in fact able to live at home but still require some sort of support, an adult day health care center can offer daytime social and therapeutic activities. If on-site support for daily activities is necessary, an assisted living facility can fulfill needs while maintaining independence. If skilled and intense care is needed, then a Nursing Home will provide skilled supervision, medication administration, therapies, and rehabilitation.
Do Your Research
And while it’s important to decide on the best type of care available to suit your needs, it’s just as vital to make decisions early on that will give you the financial freedom and flexibility to pay for it. Costs of care vary by state and by service as do long-term care insurance rates, so it’s important to do the research and determine a plan that works for you.