What is Long-Term Care?

Elder Man and Woman Drinking Lemonade

Long-term care refers to any program that offers a range of care services to those who require assistance accomplishing everyday activities. These activities, known as activities of daily living (ADLs) can become increasingly difficult for those who have suffered from traumatic injuries, chronic illness, or those who have reached an advanced age. Due to these situations, simple tasks like eating, bathing, dressing, and even getting out of bed can become difficult without assistance. Long-term care, in its different forms, is intended to alleviate that difficulty and help those suffering regain some of their former quality of life.

Along with helping complete ADLs, long-term care services sometimes go even further by assisting with instrumental activities of daily living (IADL). These include some of the more advanced day-to-day tasks in life, such as housework, preparing meals, caring for pets, managing finances, shopping for necessities, and other chores.

Who Needs Long-Term Care?

It’s a common myth that long-term care is a service reserved for just the elderly. The truth is that as much as 41% of all long-term care patients are under the age of 65. While adults of advanced age often benefit from long-term care programs, so do younger people who may have encountered traumatic circumstances. People injured in auto or sporting accidents, those who’ve had a stroke or major illness, and people suffering from mental illness are all examples of patients who may need long-term care.

What is a Long-Term Care Facility?

Long-term care can be delivered in a variety of ways, from residential facilities to at-home care. While it’s difficult going through life with any kind of hindrance, long-term care can offer those who need assistance the help they need in a comfortable, safe setting.

At the long-term care facilities of Harrison Senior Living, care is delivered in a home-like environment by compassionate care team members, many who have been serving at the same facilities for multiple decades — some between 20 and 40 years. Residents are typically encouraged to bring personal items and furniture from home into their new spaces to maintain familiarity and help make the transition into a long-term care facility as comfortable as possible.

What are the 3 Main Types of Long-Term Care Facilities?

Somewhat of an umbrella term, “long-term care” is used to describe a number of different options that are sometimes tailored to different individuals. Because the average long-term care patient comes from a variety of backgrounds, the service is offered in different ways through different avenues. The most common types of long-term care settings include these:

Assisted Living Facilities

In most cases, assisted living facilities are designed to help their residents with ADLs while still offering a level of independence. Most residents who choose to live in assisted living communities have full cognitive skills but are often in need of assistance with some of the more physical tasks that come with everyday life. In most cases, the residents have their own private living quarters (often a studio or one-bedroom apartment) that can be easily accessed by caregivers when assistance is needed.

Skilled Nursing Facilities

Commonly known as “nursing homes,” skilled nursing facilities are an option for those who are in need of assistance with ADLs as well as the support of medical professionals. Most skilled nursing communities are staffed by not only by caregivers, but also licensed nurses and physicians. In many cases, these facilities will also have rehabilitation specialists on hand as well, such as physical and occupational therapists. Residents of skilled nursing communities are required to have complete independence, aided by the support of clinical and other staff.

It’s important to note here one common misconception about skilled nursing facilities. Some believe that once a resident checks into a facility, they will likely never leave—this is not the case. While skilled nursing can be considered a long-term care solution, it can also be offered as a short-term option. Learn more about skilled nursing facilities here.

Home Care

Though assisted living and skilled nursing communities are fairly comprehensive options, home care—that is, when the patient has a caregiver come to their home to assist them—is a popular option. In some cases, hiring a home care professional for assistance can be a little more cost effective than staying at an established residential facility. It also brings the added bonus of letting the patient live and recover in the comfort of their own home.

How to Pay for Long-Term Care

When it comes to paying for long-term care, various types of insurance are available to provide coverage, including some long-term disability plans. Just keep in mind, coverage can vary based on the care services rendered and where they’re delivered — in an assisted living facility, skilled nursing facility, or at a patient’s home. Outside of private insurance, Medicaid typically covers long-term care and in the event of an injury experienced while at work, coverage is also available through the Worker’s Compensation program.

Your insurance provider can give you information on what your coverage plan offers in terms of long-term care. You can also learn more about long-term care insurance here. If you’re interested in receiving long-term care delivered by Harrison Senior Living, our team can work with you to explore your options.

Does Medicare Cover Long-Term Care?

Medicare does not typically cover long-term care services delivered in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility. However, there are cases in which Medicare may cover home care services deemed medically necessary. To better understand your coverage options for long-term services provided by Harrison Senior Living, we encourage you to contact our team.

The transition from living independently to needing daily long-term care services can be a challenging adjustment. You should find a provider that offers high-quality care delivered by compassionate and skilled team members in a comfortable environment — whether in an assisted living facility, skilled nursing facility, or even at home. For tips on how to find the best senior living community for your unique situation, read our guide here.

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