What Is Long Term Care?
Long term care can be broadly defined as care provided by another party for the benefit of those who are unable to care for themselves. Generally, long term care refers to the personal care and other related services provided on an extended basis to people who need help with certain Activities of Daily Living (ADL's) or who need supervision due to severe cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer's Disease. Care can be provided at home, in the community, in an assisted care facility or in a nursing home.
The need for long term care can happen in an instant or gradually as a person's health declines. Some of the reasons for receiving long term care include: chronic disease, prolonged illness, injuries sustained as a result of an accident, disability, or cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer's Disease that limits a person's ability to think or reason.
Odds of needing it
We all think we won't need long term care. Yet, Americans are living longer than ever. The longer you live, the more likely you may become ill or have an accident and need some type of long term care.
In fact, you may already know of friends or family members who have needed long term care. A sudden illness or injury can happen at any age. The odds of entering a nursing home, and staying for longer periods, increase with age.
Who pays for it?
Since the passage of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in 1996, it is now clear who is primarily responsible for paying for long term care: YOU.
That's why many Americans are looking at long term care insurance.
What are the types of care?
A common misperception is that long term care means staying in a nursing home. Today, there are other care options available. Long term care services can be divided into two types of care: home and community care and facility care.
Here are some examples of each type of care:
Cost of Care by State
Long term care can be expensive. The national average cost for a private room in nursing home is $70,912 a year. Home care also adds up. For in-home assistance, the national average cost is $22.15 per hour, or $46,072 per year for 40 hours of help per week.
These costs are only expected to increase. At an assumed 5 percent inflation rate, a year in a nursing home, based on national averages, could cost over $110,008 in 2015 and over $179,191 in 2025. With 5 percent inflation, the cost per year of in-home care, for 40 hours of help per week, could be more than $71,473 in 2015 and almost $116,422 in 2025.