Types of Long-Term Health Care for Older Adults

As people age, they often find it challenging to complete daily tasks. These tasks include shopping, traveling to doctor's appointments, and managing medications.

Many older adults will eventually need long-term health care (LTC). There are several types of long-term care. Nursing home care, home health care, or adult day care all qualify as "long-term care."

Preparing for Long-Term Health Care

It's important to know how to prepare for the cost of long-term health care. Most typical health insurance plans do not cover long-term health care. As a result, many people who need long-term care struggle to decide the level of care required and to pay for long-term care costs.

Some people prepare for the cost of long-term health care by buying a long-term care insurance policy. Programs like Medicare usually only pay for long-term health care costs after the patient has paid as much as possible. This can include selling property assets to pay for services such as an extended stay in a nursing home facility or assisted living facility.

Social Security and other public benefits can provide crucial funds for elder care. Many states have Medicaid programs that can help with the cost of long-term care for older adults below the federal poverty line.

Keep in mind that there are specific eligibility requirements for government benefits like Medicaid and Medicare. Veterans and their loved ones may also get veteran's benefits, including the pension benefit, to help cover long-term care expenses.

Types of Long-Term Health Care

Generally, there are four types of long-term health care:

  1. In-home care options or "homemaker services" (such as a home health aide)
  2. Residential facilities
  3. Adult day care center
  4. Rehabilitation facilities

These types of long-term care aim to preserve an older adult's activities of daily living (ADL) as much as possible. Generally, older adults prefer to stay in their own homes or have partial days at a center. Still, in some cases, full-time residential or rehabilitation facilities are the safest option.

Long-Term Health Care: In-Home Services

In-home services are a good option for people whose homes can accommodate the older adult's special needs.

A family member may be able to provide in-home services. Another option is to hire a nurse or licensed in-home care provider. Some people need aid and attendance around the clock. Others only need in-home support during the day to help with daily chores.

Long-Term Health Care: Residential Facilities

Residential facilities offer several different arrangements catering to the person's specific needs. Assisted living homes help people with daily activities in a home-like environment. While skilled nursing facilities offer specialized support and medical care for health conditions.

If your loved one is incapacitated and needs 24/7 care, then a residential facility is likely your best option.

Long-Term Health Care: Adult Day Care

Adult day care facilities offer social and educational activities during the day. Many older people add adult day care to their long-term care plans to improve their quality of life.

Long-Term Health Care: Rehabilitation Facilities

Rehabilitation facilities offer extended care to help adults regain lost abilities after illnesses or injuries. If someone in assisted living gets hurt or sick, they might have to go to these facilities for special care and therapy. The purpose of rehabilitation is to provide a supportive environment where people can work with health care professionals to improve their strength and mobility. These facilities aim to enhance the quality of life for older people by helping them recover as much as possible.

Legal Help With Long-Term Care

If you're dealing with end-of-life decisions or need help with Medicaid planning and the probate process, contact the law office of an elder law attorney. They can help you navigate long-term care planning. They can also provide legal advice on important matters such as estate planning, asset protection, durable power of attorney, advance directives, and living wills. Contact an experienced elder law attorney today to ensure thorough support for all aspects of your future care needs.

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