Growing old is inevitable. It happens to everyone. However, what matters is how you prepare for that time. There is a lot to think about and decide before so that you do not make any rushed decisions. Let us take a look at what is long-term care and for how long people are going to need it.
What is long-term care?
Long-term care refers to many different services that people can avail when they need help or assistance with daily tasks. There is a broad range of people that may fit into this category, which will be discussed further.
Long-term care refers to the assistance that an individual may need due to specific cognitive or physical disabilities. A family member, friend, or professional worker may be employed to assist this person in completing everyday tasks that the individual may find very difficult to do on their own.
What daily care tasks include:
Because of specific impairments, some people may need special help to complete everyday tasks. These everyday tasks may include things like taking a bath, getting dressed, cooking or eating food, paying the bills, or getting grocery shopping.
Who is long-term care for?
There are many people who may need long-term care. If an individual has a cognitive or physical disability or impairment, they may not be able to complete daily tasks on their own. Elderly people may also lose function either to old age or to a disease or disability that has been developed due to old age.
These people would then need another individual’s assistance. For example, some people lose their ability to see very well in the dark as they grow older and develop night blindness. So, it may not be safe for them to drive at night. They then may need someone to drive them to places they need to go, like the pharmacy, grocery store, or elsewhere.
Assisted living facilities:
There are specific homes designed to help people who need assistance in doing daily care tasks. They may not be able to because of old age or other reasons such as disease. These living facilities are like tiny communities.
They house multiple people who are in need of such care. There are doctors, nurses, and trained professionals available round the clock, so if an individual living there needs any help with a task or with their health, they will be in good hands.
These assisted living facilities provide food, monitoring of health and medicines, housekeeping, medical services, and social activities.
Senior living communities:
Most of the people that opt to live in these assisted living facilities or communities are the elderly. This is because perhaps they may not have anyone at home to take care of them round the clock, or they are at risk of having a stroke or having any other health condition.
Thus, it is advisable for such people to shift into senior living communities, as they will be able to access round-the-clock assistance and help. There will be trained professionals to help them out with any task of theirs, and their health will be monitored.
Assisted living communities are often equipped with basic services like laundry and housekeeping. But many of these facilities have also started offering services such as therapy. There are many forms of therapy offered too. There is a physical therapy which is good to keep the muscles in shape and moving.
Another type is speech therapy. The third, and perhaps most important in this scenario, is occupational therapy. Occupational therapy allows these individuals to practice their everyday activities so that they can regain some function back and help themselves live an easier life.
It is generally a good idea to check the facilities available before the time comes to check yourself or a loved one in. It is important to consider all your choices. Another thing to think about is insurance for long-term care.
You may want to talk to a medical professional about this and also a lawyer. A medical professional can help assess the situation for you, and a lawyer can help you figure out what options you have based on your insurance.
Other options include personal savings, pensions, and grants if your insurance is not enough to cover this.
How long do most people need long-term care?
Long-term care varies from person to person. There is no formula for finding out the answer to this question. Long-term care can be short-term or long-term. It depends on the individual’s health, medical background, genetics, and external factors.
Long-term care can be provided in-house or at a special facility designed for this purpose. There are nurses and healthcare professionals that can come to one’s house when needed or be employed to stay there for a while. Long-term care can also be provided by unpaid loved ones or friends.
Some people may never need long-term care, and some people might. However, it is best to plan out these things in advance.
Factors to consider:
If you come from a family with a generally healthy background and no serious health issues, you may not need serious long-term care. If you are determined to take care of yourself, keep the right diet, exercise, and keep your brain healthy, you may be able to complete all your day-to-day tasks yourself and function normally.
But there is always the chance that you may end up in an accident or may start developing an illness in old age. Some people may need assistance in functioning daily just for a couple of years, whereas there are people who may need it for much longer.
If there has been a family history of heart diseases or illnesses that make cognition difficult such as Alzheimer’s, it is probably best to plan ahead and make sure you take the necessary steps.
There are also things individuals can steer clear off to reduce the chance of needing long-term care, such as avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol in smaller amounts and not as often.
It is important to consider what options you have but also take into account how you and your loved ones are feeling. Some people may be more comfortable at home, and some in an assisted living facility. However, it is important to think about these things well in advance, just to be on the safe side.