Research shows that at least 70 percent of people age 65 or older will need long term care services at some point in their lifetime. (Source: Medicare & You, National Medicare Handbook, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Revised 12/2011)
Long term care is the type of care you may need if you have a prolonged physical illness, disability or severe 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).
This service makes it possible for people to live in their own homes or to return to their homes by helping complete household tasks that they can’t manage alone. Homemaker services aides may clean houses, cook meals or run errands.
Personal and home health aides help those who are elderly, disabled or ill live in their own homes instead of in residential care facilities or nursing homes. Home health aides may offer services to people who need more extensive personal care than family or friends are able, or have the time or resources, to provide.
Adult Day Health Care centers can offer a much needed break to caregivers. This type of care provides service at community-based centers for adults who need assistance or supervision during the day but who do not need around-the-clock care. There are a variety of “models” of Adult Day Health Care programs. The centers may provide health services, therapeutic services and social activities.
Assisted living facilities (referred to as Residential Care Facilities in California) are living arrangements that provide personal care and health services for people who may need assistance with ADLs, but who wish to live as independently as possible and do not need the level of care provided by a nursing home. It’s important to note that assisted living is not an alternative to a nursing home, but an intermediate level of long term care.
Nursing homes are for those people who may need a higher level of supervision and care than what is provided in an assisted living facility. They offer residents personal care assistance, room and board, supervision, medication, therapies and rehabilitation, as well as skilled nursing care 24 hours a day.