What is long term care?
Long term care includes any care received continuously over an extended period of time. Typically, it involves care you may need but are unable to provide for yourself and includes help with certain daily activities due to a serious injury, chronic illness or cognitive impairment (e.g., Alzheimer's disease or dementia).
These daily tasks are ones that most healthy people take for granted, but are activities that become difficult or impossible for someone in poor health. Among others, they can include the simple tasks of dressing, bathing and eating.
Long term care can involve anything from occasionally needing help from a home health aide to needing more intensive forms of care around the clock. The longer people live, the greater the chances that chronic conditions may develop, resulting in an increased need for assistance with everyday activities.
Where would I receive care?
Many people mistakenly believe that long term care is restricted to nursing homes. In reality, more than 80 percent of long term care is provided in the home - not nursing homes.* Today, individuals have more choices than ever when it comes to long term care options, including:
*Source: Congressional Budget Office based on data from Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey, Access to Care files, 2010.