As you age, you can feel better knowing there are steps you can take to ensure that your wishes, both medical and financial, are carried out the way that you want them. Advance care planning involves discussing your wishes, completing legal documents, and appointing a health care decision maker.
Having your decisions squared away and clear, so that there are no misunderstandings or second-guessing, can be the greatest gift you can give to your loved ones, and yourself. In this section we will answer the following questions:
You may be able to pay for long term care services through VA, Federal and the state programs (Medicaid and medicare), and through insurance or your private funds.
Your eligibility for Long term care services, provided in any long term care setting will be determined based on your need for ongoing treatment, personal care, and assistance, as well as the availability of the service in your location. Other factors, such as financial eligibility, your service-connected (VA disability) status, insurance coverage, and/or ability to pay may also apply.
70% of people turning age 65 can expect to use some form of long-term care during their lives. There are a number of factors that affect the possibility that you will need care:
The duration and level of long-term care will vary from person to person and often change over time. Here are some statistics (all are “on average”) you should consider:
The table below shows that, overall, more people use long-term care services at home (and for longer) than in facilities.
Distribution and duration of long-term care services
|Type of care||Average number of years people use this type of care||Percent of people who use this type of care (%)|
|Any Services||3 years||69|
|Unpaid care only||1 years||59|
|Paid care||Less than 1 year||42|
|Any care at home||2 years||65|
|Nursing facilities||1 year||35|
|Assisted living||Less than 1 year||13|
|Any care in facilities||1 year||37|
Long-term care services and support typically come from:
A caregiver can be your family member, partner, friend or neighbor who helps care for you while you live at home. About 80 percent of care at home is provided by unpaid caregivers and may include an array of emotional, financial, nursing, social, homemaking, and other services. On average, caregivers spend 20 hours a week giving care. More than half (58 percent) have intensive caregiving responsibilities that may include assisting with a personal care activity, such as bathing or feeding.
Information on caregivers show that:
Most long-term care is provided at home. Other kinds of long-term care services and supports are provided by community service organizations and in long-term care facilities.
Examples of home care services include:
Community support services include:
Often these services supplement the care you receive at home or provide time off for your family caregivers.
Outside the home, a variety of facility-based programs offer more options:
The facts may surprise you.
Consumer surveys reveal common misunderstandings about which public programs pay for long-term care services. It is important to clearly understand what is and isn’t covered.
There are an increasing number of private payment options including: