November is Long-Term Care Awareness Month. So, it was fitting that we recently received a question from a woman who was looking for long-term care for her husband. She had already decided that her husband needed care of some kind but wanted help deciding which options to choose, especially because she could meet some but not all of her husband’s care needs. Long-term care can be confusing, so here are some questions you may have:
What exactly is long-term care? Long-term care is the type of care you may need if you have a prolonged physical illness, disability or cognitive impairment (such as Alzheimer’s disease) that keeps you from living independently. These limitations may prevent you from carrying out basic self-care tasks, such as bathing, dressing, or eating, called Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).
Who needs long-term care? Nearly two-thirds of people over age 65 will need some type of long-term care in their lifetime. And while most people think of long-term care as impacting only those in their senior years, 40 percent of people currently receiving long-term care services are ages 18 to 64.1
What is a care provider? A care provider can be a home health aide, a companion, a home care agency, or a facility, such as a nursing home, assisted living facility or adult day care center. Care services may be provided by a health care professional such as a nurse, or by a home health aide, family members and personal care attendants.
What is caregiving? Generally, caregiving is provided by an informal or unskilled caregiver and entails providing basic help like driving to doctor's appointments and light housekeeping to enable someone to live independently and safely, for as long as possible. Caregiving can also include hands-on care such as help with dressing and bathing.
Who needs caregiving support? Families can benefit from caregiving support services when they have a loved one with limited independence.
How can you help me find care? Making the decision to receive care is a complex, personal decision. Genworth will work to provide you with objective information to help you make the right decision for your family's specific situation. We recommend you do your own due diligence to evaluate providers and monitor their performance over time. Genworth does not provide medical advice or referrals.
As you can see, there are lots of considerations when it comes to long-term care and caregiving support services. This is certainly not a decision to be taken lightly. Just don’t make that an excuse to procrastinate. What you do next can make a big difference. The good news is you can prepare for the unexpected. It starts with familiarizing yourself with your options, and there are many when it comes to long-term care.
1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information, 10/22/08.