Types of long term care
There are many types of long term care available, from in-home services to 24/7 care at dedicated facilities.
Long term care refers to the support and services you might need for daily living or cognitive impairments, whether it’s in your home or in a facility.
Long term care can be delivered in your home by:
- Personal care assistants or companions who handle household tasks like cleaning, cooking, and running errands.
- Home health aides who provide personal care like help with bathing and dressing.
- Nurses who can support IVs, medications, and more complex health issues.
Long term care levels may include:
- In-home care, which makes it possible for people to live in their own homes or to return to their homes by helping them complete household tasks that
they can’t manage alone. Homemaker service aides may clean houses, cook meals, or run errands.
- Adult day care, which offers social and therapeutic activities while you continue to live at home.
- Assisted living facilities, which let you maintain much of your independence while providing on-site support for activities of daily living.
- Nursing homes will give you more skilled and intensive care associated with supervision, medication, therapies, and rehabilitation.
Paying for long term care
When thinking about ways to pay for long term care, you will find five categories of funding options. It is important to prepare for long term care events to avoid being forced to make a hasty decision or having limited choices.
1. Public programs
Medicare can help pay for some long term care expenses and many people think that it will cover all of their long term care needs. Generally, Medicare will not pay for services for chronic conditions that require ongoing care.
Medicaid pays for certain health services and nursing home care for people with low incomes and limited assets. Eligibility is usually based on income and personal financial resources. So, to qualify for Medicaid you may have to spend down your assets. The specifics vary by state. See how you can pay for long term care today.
2. Private or family support
Your family or loved ones could provide long term care. However, you should consider the numerous physical, financial, emotional and geographic circumstances that may have a significant impact on caregivers and their families.
3. Other forms of insurance
Generally, disability insurance replaces lost income to cover basic living expenses like rent, food, and clothing. Health insurance covers part of the cost for hospital stays, prescription drugs, and doctor’s visits but it may not help with the cost of long term care services associated with the activities of daily living, such as bathing or using the restroom.
While decades of savings may help you accumulate money to pay for long term care, you may not have decades to save before an event occurs. Saving for long term care may provide flexibility, but saving enough to cover long term care expenses may be more difficult than you think.
5. Long term care insurance
If you are forced to tap into your savings or retirement accounts, you may lose the opportunity to live a comfortable lifestyle later. But if you start planning for long term care today, you may reduce these impacts on your finances and family. Long term care insurance may give you the option to have a voice in the care you receive. See what you can expect to pay for long term care.
Did you know family members and friends are the sole caregivers for 70% of elderly people2? Do you need to get educated about your options on funding long term care and protecting your assets? Get Started – Make a plan!
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1 Beyond Dollars: The True Impact of Long Term Caring, Genworth Financial, 10/31/2013.
2 America’s Health Insurance Plans, 2012
1 Benz, Christine. “40 Must-Know Statistics About Long-Term Care. MorningStar®, 9 Aug 2012. *Individual stories and quotes are fictitious and are used for demonstrative purposes only.