Mutual of Omaha
Frequently Asked Questions About Long Term Care:
What is long-term care?
Long-term care involves a variety of services designed to meet a person’s health or personal care needs during a short or long period of time. These services help people live as independently and safely as possible when they can no longer perform many everyday activities on their own.
Doesn’t Medicare cover most long-term care costs?
No. Contrary to what many people think, Medicare does not cover most long-term care costs. It does pay for some part-time services for people who are home bound and for short-term skilled nursing care, but it does not cover ongoing personal care at home, like help with bathing. It may cover part of the first 100 days in a nursing home.
What types of services does long-term care provide?
Long-Term Care can include:
• home-based services — home health care, homemaker services, friendly visitor/companion services, and emergency response systems
• community-based services — adult day service programs, senior centers, transportation services, meals programs, and respite care
• facility-based care — adult foster care, board and care homes, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and continuing care retirement communities
Why do people need long-term care?
People often need long-term care when they have a serious, ongoing health condition or disability. The need for long-term care can arise suddenly, such as after a heart attack or stroke. Most often, however, it usually develops gradually, as people get older and frailer or as an illness or disability gets worse.
What is the most common type of long-term care?
The most common type of long-term care is personal care — help with everyday activities, also called “activities of daily living.” These activities include bathing, dressing, grooming, using the toilet, eating, and moving around — for example, getting out of bed and into a chair.
How long does long-term care last?
Long-term care can last a short time or a long time. Short-term care lasts several weeks or a few months while someone is recovering from a sudden illness or injury. For example, a person may get short-term rehabilitation therapy at a nursing facility after hip surgery, then go home. Long-term care can also be ongoing, as with someone who is severely disabled from a stroke or who has Alzheimer’s disease. Many people can remain at home if they have help from family and friends or paid services. But some people move permanently to a nursing home or other type of facility if their needs can no longer be met at home.
How common is the need for long-term care among older people?
About 70 percent of people over age 65 need some type of long-term care during their lifetime. More than 40 percent need care in a nursing home for some period of time.