and Long-Term Care Awareness Month
In the United States alone, more than ten million people need some form of long-term care. Research indicates that most Americans will eventually need long-term care at some point after the age of 65. Unfortunately, a majority of Americans underestimate their risk of developing a disability and their subsequent need of long-term care services.
What is long-term care?
Long-term care includes the essential medical and support services required by an individual with moderate to severe disabilities. Examples include:
- Degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s
- Permanent disability such as those caused by a stroke or automobile accident
- Prolonged illness such as cancer
- Cognitive decline such as that caused by Alzheimer’s
Most individuals will require long-term care in their later years, but the need is not limited to older individuals. Young people who have had an accident or those who live with an illness like Multiple Sclerosis also find themselves in need of long-term care.
Although long-term care includes medical care, most of the assistance required is related to activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living and comprehensive care for someone who is cognitively impaired. It’s easy to take these functions for granted – when we’re healthy we don’t think about not being able to get up out of bed, not being able to take a shower without assistance, not being able to sweep the floors, or not being able to run errands for ourselves. Unfortunately, as we age, it can become difficult to perform these seemingly easy tasks and so many others as well.
Long-term care can be temporary, lasting for only weeks or months, when dealing with:
- Rehabilitation after a hospital stay
- Recovery after an illness, injury or surgery
- A terminal medical condition
Long-term care can be ongoing, lasting months to years, when facing:
- Permanent disabilities
- Severe, chronic pain
- Chronic medical conditions
What are your chances of needing long-term care?
Not everyone will require long-term care, but many will. According to statistics, the following percentages of people will need care after the age of 65:
- Twenty percent of the population will need more than five years of care
- Approximately twenty percent will require two to five years
- Twelve percent will need one to two years
- Seventeen percent will require one year or less
- Thirty-one percent won’t need long-term care
There are a number of factors affecting the possibility that someone might need long-term care. Here are a few examples of factors that lead to the need for this:
- As we age, our chances of needing long-term care increase
- Since women live longer, they are more likely to need long-term care
- Accidents causing disabilities and chronic illness often lead to the need for long-term care
- A family history filled with chronic conditions increases one’s likelihood of needing long-term care
- Lack of exercise and poor diet increases your chances of needing long-term care
How is long-term care paid for?
There are four main ways long-term care is paid for:
Although Medicare and Medicaid can help with some expenses under certain conditions, current estimates indicate that approximately 84 percent of all long-term care will come from non-government sources – personal pay or long-term care insurance.
Who provides long-term care services?
When long-term care is needed, you have options which include:
- A family member or friend may provide unpaid care
- Paid care in the home provided by a caregiver and/or nurse
- Long-term care communities, such as Gull Creek, which provide independent living, memory care, or assisted living
- Hospice care services
- Adult day care services
National Long-Term Care Awareness Month
November has been officially designated as National Long-Term Care Awareness Month to help spread awareness for the type of care often required by individuals with a disability or chronic illness.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the average life expectancy has almost doubled in the last 100 years – from 47 years of age 100 years ago to a current life expectancy of 78. Medical research, medical advances and technology are enabling us to live longer. In doing so, more of us will need long-term care to live out those additional years.
Long-term care is something that is best planned for. If you wait until you need it, it’s too late. Long-term care insurance is one way to plan for future long-term care needs. Just as with car and house insurance, you get it, hoping to never use it. But if you do… having it can be a lifesaver.
We hope you don’t find yourself in need of long-term care, but if you do… Gull Creek is here for you! A vibrant assisted living community, located in Berlin, Maryland Gull Creek has been there for those who’ve needed a fantastic place to call home while also receiving much needed long-term care.
We would love to give you a tour of our community to show you just what we’ve done and are planning to do. Contact us today to schedule your tour or to request our guidebook. If you need help… we’re here for you!