Long-term care is typically required for those needing nursing care or supervision, those with chronic medical conditions or severe pain, those with permanent disabilities, those with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, and those requiring help with activities of daily living.
The need for long-term care can come unexpectedly, such as after a stroke. In many cases the need develops gradually as people age or an illness or disability worsens. It is estimated that about 70% of people over the age of 65 will need some type of long-term care (home care, community services and/or assisted living) during their lifetime. It is also estimated that 40 percent of those over the age of 65 will need skilled nursing care in a facility for some period of time. It is important to think about long-term care before an unexpected crisis occurs.
No one can accurately predict when, why, how much or what type of long-term care a person might need in their lifetime. There are several factors that add to the risk of requiring long-term care. The risk generally increases as people get older. Single people are also more likely to need long-term care. Women, who generally live longer than men, are also at a higher risk. And, lifestyle and family history can increase the risk of needing long-term care.
Making a long-term care decision can be difficult and stressful even when planned for in advance. When looking for a long-term care facility, know that quality varies from facility to facility. Be sure State licensing agencies find the facility provides high quality care. Be sure the facility provides the needed staff and services. And, be sure it meets your budget.