Senior Resources » What Is Long-Term Care?

What Is Long-Term Care?

Long-term care refers to the various medical and custodial services provided to a person who is unable to perform basic activities of daily living (ADL) or needs regular health monitoring.

Long-Term Care blocks

Who Needs It?

The need for long-term care becomes more possible as you age. Granted, a serious illness or disability will increase your overall probability. Although no one knows for sure what the future holds, there are a few personal factors to consider. For example, your lifestyle choices affect your health. If you’re not one to eat right or exercise much, then your likeliness of needing help someday will be larger.

Other factors to consider:


Gender – Women live longer than men. The longer you live, the more likely you’ll be to develop a need for some type of care.

Marital Status – If you’re married, you have a partner. You know, someone to lean on emotionally and physically. Single adults are more likely to need professional long-term care because they don’t live with a spouse.

Family History – Ever wonder why doctors are always so concerned with your family history? It’s because health conditions literally “run in the family.”

“Families have similar genetic backgrounds, and often similar environments and lifestyles. Together, these factors can give clues to conditions that may run in a family…A family health history can identify people with a higher-than-usual chance of having common disorders…”


Long-Term Home Care For Aging In Place

Many seniors choose to age in place. And, it’s no wonder; what’s more comfortable than staying in the home where your children grew up and your favorite chair dwells? But, life happens. And, home care may eventually be necessary. So, here are some of the basic types of home care services to know about:

Personal Care Services – These services will help with ADLs including bathing, toileting, dressing, and eating. Mobility assistance and medication management are also usually offered. Personal care services are conducted by private providers, care agencies, or family members.

Click here to learn how Medicaid can help with personal care services!

Home Health Care – In-home medical services, including skilled nursing and physical therapy, are what this is all about. Home health care usually needs to be prescribed by a physician for a specific condition.

Click here to learn how Medicare can help with home health care!


Companion Services – If you’re aging in place, but tasks like grocery shopping or medication management are getting a little difficult, then a home companion could help. A companion can be employed to assist with some ADLs, run errands, or even do some light housework here and there.

Looking for a companion service? Visiting Angels can help!

Senior Transportation Services – Is it long-term care? Or, is it maintaining some independence? Either way, senior transportation services can help you get from A to B. Services are available for errands, doctor appointments, and pharmacy pick-ups.

Need help finding transportation services? Visit the Eldercare Locator!

Related: What Are The 3 Main Types Of Home Care?

Facility Care

Some long-term care will require a little more. For when everything you need can’t be provided at home, here are some common places to go:

Assisted Living – This is for adults who lead active lifestyles but may need medical or personal-care help. Living space varies from apartments to individual rooms or units, with most common areas being shared. Assisted living is based on a social model of care. Residents are as independent as possible with support from staff.

Start looking for an assisted living facility here!


Nursing Homes – A nursing home is a living option for seniors who do not need a hospital but require a higher level of care or medical attention than can be provided at home or in assisted living.

Finding nursing homes here!

Continuing Care Retirement Communities – CCRCs have the unique quality of combining traditional retirement living with the services of assisted living and skilled nursing facilities.

Not sure where to start? Try!

Community Care

If you’re aging in place and receiving help from a loved one, then sometimes enlisting a little outside assistance might be necessary. Listen, your family loves you; just, sometimes they’re going to get tired. Give them a break by getting involved in an adult day care service.

Adult day care, or adult day health care (ADHC), can provide a place to go for counseling, exercise, light medical care, therapies, or even some socializing.

Looking for a program near you? The Eldercare Locator can help!

For more information, visit the National Adult Day Service Association.


Paying For Long-Term Care

Long-term care can be expensive!

genworth long-term care table
Courtesy of Genworth: Financial Solutions

Health insurance will rarely help, so, if possible, plan ahead! Savings and retirement funds are great if you have them. But, if you want a little extra protection, then long-term care insurance (LTI) might be for you.

Do you need some more retirement planning help? Then visit Bob Carlson’s Retirement Watch!

If You Need Long-Term Care…

LTC care

7 out of 10 people will need some type of long-term care in their lifetime. Stay prepared by staying informed! Read about the long-term care insurance basics for more help!

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Originally published March 25, 2022


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