Every year, more than 8 million people receive some form of long-term care. As care providers, it’s likely our loved ones will find themselves needing care in a facility that can provide personal care services for days, weeks, or even months. Trained professionals in these facilities help patients with ADLs, or activities of daily living, including bathing, dressing, transferring from bed to chair, toilet needs, and eating.
Here are four essential facts you need to know about long term care.
There’s a Good Chance Someone You Know Will Need Long-Term Care
According to LongTermCare.gov, 70 percent of people over 65 will need some form of long-term care. About half of people who enter long-term care will need it for one year, while about 13 percent will need care for five or more years.
Family and Friends Aren’t the Best Providers of Long-Term Care
While it’s true that the majority of elderly who need long term care turn to family members and loved ones for help, in most cases, that results in family stress and financial hardship. The average long-distance family care provider paid $11,923 in out-of-pocket expenses in a 2016 study by the AARP.
Long-Term Care Often Lasts Years
Government-funded studies have found that women need an average of 3.7 years of long-term care, while men average 2.2 years of care. People typically receive care in their homes, with the average stay in a nursing or assisted living facility lasting about one year.
There Are Multiple Ways to Pay for Long-Term Care
Since long-term care is designed to address activities of daily living, Medicare typically only covers a portion of the cost. For example, in a nursing home, Medicare will cover an average of 22 days. That’s great, but the average nursing home stay is 100 days, leaving patients to seek other ways to pay for care. Specific populations, such as veterans or low-income individuals, might be able to access Medicaid for long-term care. Long-term Care Insurance, reverse mortgages, and life insurance are also common ways people turn to to help offset costs. Long-term care insurance can be costly—averaging $2,700 per year in premiums—but that’s considerably less than the average $87,000 long-term care typically costs annually.