Long-term care is a range of services and supports you may need to meet your personal care needs. Most long-term care is not medical care, but rather assistance with the basic personal tasks of everyday life, typically called Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), which include:
- Transferring (moving in and out of bed, chair or wheelchair
There are other common long-term care services and supports called Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs), which provide assistance with everyday tasks, such as:
- Medication reminder
- Preparing and cleaning up after meals
- Shopping for groceries or clothes
- Light housekeeping
- Caring for pets
- Local transportation
Who Needs Long-Term Care?
Seventy percent of people turning age 65 have already benefited from long-term care during their lives. There are many reasons that explain why long-term care is essential:
- Age: You are more likely to need long-term care as you get older.
- Gender: Women have a lower mortality rate than men and outlive men by an average of five years. Women are most likely to live by themselves when they are older, creating risk to their emotional and physical health.
- Disability: An accident or chronic illness that brings about a disability is a further reason for needing long-term care. On average, 8% of people between the ages of 40 to 50 have a disability that could require long-term care services. 70% of people age 90 or older have a disability.
- Health Status: Chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure make you more suitable for needing care. In addition, family history comprising of whether your parents or grandparents had chronic conditions may increase your likelihood for needing care, as well a poor diet and exercise.
- Living Arrangements: If you live by yourself, you are very likely to need long-term care.
How to Decide
As you grow older, grow wiser by taking steps to ensure your medical and financial wishes are settled so that you may live your future with a peace of mind. Through advance care planning, you can discuss your wishes, complete legal documents, and appoint a health care decision maker. The greatest gift you can give yourself and your loved ones is deciding to plan for long-term care and assuring yourself that the future of your care and well-being is settled without any misinterpretations or concerns.