What exactly is long term care?
According to the National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information (www.longtermcare.gov), long-term care is a range of services and supports you may need to meet your health or personal needs over a long period of time.
These services fall into two major categories:
• Activities of Daily Living: include bathing, dressing, transferring to or from a bed or chair, and eating.
• Instrumental Activities of Daily Living: include (but are not limited to) housework, taking medication, errands, caring of pets, and using communication devices.
The need for long-term care, which can be provided at home or in a special facility, usually stems from a health condition, such as a chronic illness or disability. Age-related factors can also increase the likelihood for needing services.
The National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information is a government Web site that provides information and resources to those who are inquiring about long-term care needs for themselves or a family member.
Here’s a short list of age-related factors or risks they cite when considering long-term care:
• Age: The older you get, the more likely it is that you’ll need help.
• Living alone: If you live alone, you’re more likely to need paid care than if you live with others.
• Gender: Women are more likely to need long-term care than men, primarily because women tend to live longer.
• Lifestyle: Poor diet and exercise habits increase the chance that you’ll need long-term care.
• Personal history: Health and family history can increase the chances you’ll need long-term care.
The cost of long-term care is a major issue to consider, and you may benefit from signing-up for coverage early on.
Medicare, VA benefits and employer programs cover some costs of long-term care, but more and more people are adding private long-term care insurance policies to their retirement planning.
Make that decision sooner rather than later; the younger you are when you buy the policy, the less it will cost you.
And once you have a major health issue, such as stroke, Alzheimer’s, metastatic cancer or Parkinson’s, you may not be able to get coverage.
Reach Kelvin Collins, the president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Georgia and the CSRA Inc., at (800) 763-4222 or www.bbb.org.