Life spans are increasing, and it is estimated that almost 70% of people over age 65 will require some level of long-term care.1
Long-term care can be expensive. As you assess your situation, you may wish to consider long-term care insurance as part of your financial plan.
Many people are surprised to learn that most long-term care services are not covered under Medicare—or under most private health insurance plans. Long-term care insurance helps ensure that you have the financial resources to cover the costs.
Typically, long-term care insurance will cover care and services in a variety of long-term care settings:
Some plans also cover costs associated with home-based care and assisted living communities.
Today, seniors have a wider range of long-term care options. Many will find a good fit with one or more of the following over the course of their retirement years.
Also known as adult day care, adult day services are normally available during regular working hours. An adult day care service might be located within a senior center, nursing facility, hospital or school—or it may be a standalone facility.
Two main types of adult day services include adult social day service, which provides social activities, meals, recreation and possibly limited health care services. Adult day health care services take the level of care one step further by also providing intensive health care services and therapy.
Best suited to people with more complex health care needs, home-based care provides skilled services and assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation and medications. Home-based care can also include basic house cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, light gardening and transportation to and from medical appointments.
For residents who want to retain as much independence as possible with the knowledge that personal care and support services are available when needed, assisted living communities can provide the best of both worlds. Assisted living communities offer a more homelike environment and may typically involve a studio or one-bedroom apartment with a small but full-service kitchen.
Many assisted living communities allow residents to age in place. This is possible because many either have available health care on site or have contracted with local healthcare providers to provide on-site care.
Nursing homes are for residents who don’t require hospitalization but do need around-the-clock care at a much higher level than an assisted living community can provide.
Staff nurses are available 24 hours a day and can provide medical care as well as physical, speech and occupational therapy. Some nursing homes are set up in much the same way as a hospital; others strive to provide a more homelike environment with flexible schedules and open kitchens and common areas.
Although most residents are elderly, nursing homes are for anyone who needs 24-hour care, and couples are allowed to live together in certain situations. Some nursing homes also have special units for people with serious memory problems such as those associated with Alzheimer's disease.