What is Long-Term Care”? 

It is the type of care we receive when we can no longer do the kinds of things we take for granted: getting out of bed, bathing, dressing, using the bathroom, eating without help, walking or transferring from one seating location to another. These are called Activities of Daily Living, or ADL’s. If you can’t perform these ADL’s, then you’re a candidate to receive care.

Generally, there are three types of care:

Skilled Care is the type of care covered by Medicare, your HMO, or a medigap supplement policy. It is care given on a daily basis by a licensed medical professional and is designed to make us better or help you recover from an illness or accident.

Intermediate or Rehabilitative Care is when you receive, for example, speech, occupational and physical therapy and you are expected to get better.  Medicare or health insurance would pay some or all of the medical bills until you are STABILIZED.  But, once stabilized – not getting better or worse – the care is no longer considered skilled and neither Medicare nor your health insurance will pay the medical bills even though you might need help with the ADL’s.

Custodial Care represents 95% of all Long-Term Care because when it starts, the patient rarely recovers. It’s not necessarily given by a medical professional.  It is often provided by a health aid or spouse at your home. When someone has to help you get dressed in the morning, they are providing custodial care. Custodial care is not covered with Medicare or health insurance, and is the type of care we’ll talk about today. There are three places where you can receive custodial care:

1) Home Care:   What is the biggest problem with home care? Finding qualified, reliable and honest help, and being able to afford them.  Assuming you can solve this problem, you do receive the care in the familiar surroundings of your home.

2) Assisted Living:  Has anyone ever visited an assisted living facility? What did you think?   If you don’t want the upkeep associated with staying in your home, you can retire to an assisted living center and have your own apartment.  Meals are generally available and medical help is provided on the premises. Some assisted living facilities even have an Alzheimer’s wing or fully-staffed nursing home.  Some of the ritzier have indoor swimming pools and maybe even a liquor license for “Happy Hour”!  Assisted living facilities are definitely the “wave of the future” and you can expect them to grow rapidly.

3) Nursing Homes:  We all know what they are; however, you may not be aware that they are having a tough time staying open because their primary residents are on Medicaid – which pays way too little for the nursing homes to make a profit because they must meet the quality-of-care standards set by the government. Folks, you don’t want to spend your final years in a nursing home on Medicaid.  I point this out because as you plan for LTC, think about home care and assisted living facilities.

Long-term care insurance should be seen as an asset. Let’s have a discussion today on the impact of long-term care expenses and how you may benefit from long-term care insurance.