• What is Long Term Care?
  • Will I Need Long Term Care?
  • Facts About Long Term Care.
  • What Does Long Term Care Cost?
  • Who Pays?
What is Long Term Care?
     Long-term care is the assistance you need if you are unable to care for yourself because of a serious or prolonged illness, disability or the effects of old age. You may need temporary or permanent assistance in performing the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): bathing, dressing, eating, continence, toileting, transferring or ambulating; or supervision may be required if you have memory loss, disorientation or confusion. Assistance can be provided in your own home, at an adult day care center, a residential care facility, an assisted living facility or a nursing home. The assistance can also include services such as personal care, homemaker services (housekeeping, cooking and grocery shopping) and respite care (temporary relief to caregivers).

Will I Need Long Term Care?
     It is hard to know if or when you might need long-term care. The need may begin gradually as you require help with one or more of the activities of daily living or suddenly due to a major illness or accident. Age or frailty may be a contributing factor. In general, women are more likely to need long-term care services than men, possibly due to their longer life expectancy. If you do need care, it may only be needed for a short period of time or it could be needed for many months or years.

Facts About Long Term Care.

  • Forty-three percent of all Americans aged 65 and over will require care in a convalescent/nursing facility sometime during their lifetime. [1]
  • Among people who live to age 65, one in three will spend three months or more in a nursing home[2]. About one in four will spend one year or more in a nursing home.
  • Nearly 90% of all people who enter a nursing home between the ages of 65 and 85 stay an average of 2.5 years
  • Women stay 50 % longer in nursing homes than men.
  • The average duration of home care giving is 4.5 years

What Does Long Term Care Cost?
     Long-term care services can be expensive. The cost depends on the amount and type of care you need and where you get it. In 2005, the average daily nursing home cost in California was $190 or nearly $70,000 per year. Care provided in your California home can be $20 per hour for a home health care aide. The cost of a physical or respiratory therapist or R.N. can be substantially more than that.

Who Pays?
     Unless you have planned ahead and have enough assets to cover the cost of long-term care, you may want to consider long term care insurance. Won’t Medicare cover the cost of long-term care? Usually not. Medicare is designed primarily to help with short-term rehabilitation. It does cover some limited convalescent skilled nursing care and some limited home health care under restrictive short-term conditions. Care is usually limited to 100 days and to get it you must:

  • Have been hospitalized for at least 3 days prior to entering the nursing facility;
  • Go to the facility for the same condition for which you were previously hospitalized and it must be within 30 days of discharge; and
  • Get better each day. Once you level off, Medicare stops paying.
     Will Medicaid pay for the care? Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) will pay for nursing home care and some home care, but only if your assets are depleted.
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