According to the US government, about 7 in ten people who are 65 today will need some form of long term care in the future, whether in a facility or at home. The emotional and financial costs might be steep, and it’s beneficial to consider the implications of what it means and entails before it happens.
The what and why of long term care
Long term care refers to the aid and services that a person requires for necessary daily function. This may mean dressing, eating, using the bathroom, bathing, preparing meals, housework and getting about.
People need long term care when they have a disability, and often as they age and don’t have the same level of physical activity as they once did. While only about 8% of people ages 40-50 have a disability that requires long term care, the number jumps to 60% for people age 90 and above. Since women outlive men percentage wise, they more frequently live at home along for longer periods of time.
Since around 70% of seniors today will need some sort of long term care in the future, a clear majority, there have been efforts to educate people about the options and preparing in a timely manner, making decisions now to get what they desire later. Long term care costs money, and while Medicare covers a large amount of the cost of medical care and medication for older people, it does not completely cover care for all disabilities. Retirement savings is an important part of the plan for potential future care, and people need to think early about how they plan to cover the costs of care.
What are the options?
There are several options for long term are.
- Staying at home. Many people prefer this option because it provides a certain amount of emotional security; they don’t have to pick up and make a huge change in their lives at this time, and they don’t need to bother close family. Within this option, there are still several setups: to stay in your own home, with an aide or caretaker, or to move into the home of a family member. There are millions of unpaid caregivers in the US, mostly children of the patient. These are usually not full time caregivers, with them giving about 20 hours a week on average.
- Moving into a long term care facility. This is for people who cannot manage at all on their own and need service available 24/7.
- Assisted living. In an assisted living facility, the patient can have her own apartment and live mostly on her own, but have service available at all times if necessary. These facilities are often manageable financially, costing somewhat more than it would cost to live on your own. This often proves to be a good middle balance for seniors who need some extra help and would enjoy the senior community that thrives in this environment.
How to stay in your home
Aging in place has become very popular, and can work as long as it’s set up to work. This entails making a home friendly for long term care. Today, there are many devices and pieces of equipment that are made for home use that previously could only be found in a facility. It may be worthwhile, as someone ages, to consider moving into a home that can be outfitted appropriately for someone aging. This means no step to entrance, all necessary facilities on the main floor, and easy access to senior care and day centers.
When you need a facility for long term care, Hudson View Center for Rehabilitation can provide excellent services to help our patients thrive.