What is Long-Term Care?

Someone with a long physical illness, a disability, or a cognitive impairment (such as Alzheimer’s disease) often needs long-term care.  Many different long-term care services can help people with these conditions.  Long-term care is different from medical care, because it generally helps you to live as you are instead of improving or correcting medical problems.  Long-term care services may include help with activities of daily living (ADLs), home health care, respite care, hospice care, or adult day care.  Care may be given in a nursing home, an assisted living facility, a hospice facility, a day care facility, or in your own home.  Long-term care also may include care management services, which evaluate your needs and coordinate and monitor your long-term care services.

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Someone with a physical illness or disability often needs hands-on assistance or stand by assistance with activities of daily living.  People with cognitive impairments often need supervision, protection, or verbal reminders to do everyday activities.  Medical personnel such as registered nurses or professional therapists provide skilled care for medical conditions.   This care usually is needed 24 hours a day, is ordered by a physician, and follows a plan.  Individuals usually get skilled care in a nursing home but also may get it in other places.  For example, you might get skilled care in your home with help from visiting nurses or therapists.  Skilled care includes services such as physical therapy, wound care, or a professional who gives you medicine through an IV.


How Much Does Long-Term Care Cost?

Long-term care can be EXPENSIVE!  The cost depends on the amount and type of care you need and where you get it.


Below are average cost in today’s market:

• Nursing Home:  $7,000 per month

• Assisted Living Facilities:  $4,500 per month

• Home Health Care:  $25.00 per hour

• Adult Day Care Center:  $70.00 per day

Who Pays For It?

What is Long Term Care Insurance?

Do I need to buy Long-Term Care Insurance?

Whether you should buy a long-term care insurance policy depends on your age, health, overall retirement goals, income, and assets.  For instance, if your only source of income is a Social Security benefit or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you probably shouldn’t buy long-term care insurance, as you may not be able to afford the premium.


On the other hand, if you have a large amount of assets but don’t want to use them to pay for long-term care, you may want to buy a long-term care insurance policy.  Many people buy a policy because they don’t want the government or their family to have to care for them or pay for their care.  However, you shouldn’t buy a policy if you can’t afford the premium or aren’t sure you can pay the premium, including any increases, for the rest of your life.


If you already have health problems that could lead to long-term care (for example, Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease, you probably won’t be able to buy a policy.  Insurance companies have medical underwriting standards to keep the cost of long-term care insurance affordable.  If companies didn’t have these standards, most people wouldn’t buy insurance until the needed long-term care.



Is Long Term Care Insurance right for you?

What type of Long Term Care Policy should I buy?

What is Filial Responsibility?

A number of states have what is sometimes known as a Filial Responsibility Law, which obliges adult children to pay for their parents’ medical and nursing-home care.  Currently, there are 30 states that have Filial Responsibility Laws and about two-thirds or those states allow long-term care providers to sue family members to recover unpaid costs.  Although the rules vary widely from state to state, most take into consideration the adult child’s ability to pay.  These Filial Responsibility Laws are not new, but they have been rarely enforced.  That may change with the cost of long-term care rising and with increasingly strict Medicaid rules making it tougher for people to receive government assistance, senior service providers may find themselves with more unpaid bills.  These laws may generate bad publicity, but may also be a facility’s only recourse.

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