Published On: Wed, Feb 8th, 2023

4 Types of Long-Term Care to Choose From When You Get Old

Have you ever thought about how you want to live in your golden years? Perhaps you imagine living independently in your home until the day you die. If you do, think again.

Studies show that 70% of adults aged 65 and up will need some type of long-term care during their lifetime, and the chances you will need long-term care increase if you are a woman (since women tend to live longer than men).

Instead of leaving the quality of your retirement years to chance, get familiar with the different types of long-term care options. Most exist on a continuum from minimal to maximum care. Here are some of the most common ones to be aware of:

photo/ StockSnap

  1. Assisted living 

Assisted living facilities are group housing for those who cannot (or choose not to) live independently. On top of room and board, they offer 24/7 on-site support with daily activities, such as dressing, eating, bathing, and going to the bathroom (as needed).

Assisted living facilities may also provide meals, housekeeping, and transportation. And because residents share living space with other seniors, assisted living facilities also provide ample opportunities for socializing with peers.

Some assisted living programs take the form of a family care home, which is assisted living in a smaller setting. Instead of having many residents, you may only have four to ten, and the facility may be located in someone’s home.

Assisted living programs may offer minimal medical care and help managing medications, but they do not provide skilled nursing care.

  1. Nursing homes

For skilled nursing care, many seniors choose to live in a nursing home (aka skilled nursing facility). These offer 24-hour medical and personal care.

Nursing homes are ideal for those who are chronically ill or injured or require ongoing medical care for some other reason.

But nursing homes also provide all the care associated with assisted living, including help with daily activities like dressing, bathing, eating, and going to the bathroom. As for food, three meals per day are standard.

Some nursing homes also have a special unit for those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. These are sometimes known as “memory care” units. They offer extra supervision and security for those who are a wander risk.

  1. Home care services

Unlike assisted living and nursing homes, home care services allow you to get the care you need from home. 

For the 71% of older adults who say they are unwilling to live in a nursing home, home care services can be an ideal solution. 

Here’s how it works: 

Non-medical in-home caretakers come into your home to help you with daily activities like dressing, eating, bathing, and going to the bathroom. They may also help with transportation and household chores like laundry and cooking. 

Skilled in-home nurses take care of the rest: medications, rehabilitation, recovery, and other ongoing medical support.

If you want a family member to be your non-medical in-home caretaker, consider applying for FreedomCare. It lets family members get paid for being your in-home caretaker.

  1. Adult day programs

Lastly, adult day programs are places where seniors can go to socialize and participate in various activities. Most adult day programs are community-based and last for four or more hours per day. 

This is a great way to keep your mind sharp and keep up your social skills. 

(Just try not to refer to adult day programs as “adult daycare” as this can be offensive to some seniors who find it sounds too similar to daycare for children).

Choosing the right long-term care option for you

Much of the choice about long-term care options will come down to your specific needs. However, it doesn’t hurt to start thinking about which one you prefer most, which is available in your area, and which fits your budget.

Do your research and start making a plan for how you will live should you need long-term care in your senior years. The better prepared you are, the less stress you’ll have in the long run.

Author: Anna Johansson

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