What is long-term care?
Long-term care is a general term for various services aimed at enabling the elderly to live independently as comfortably as possible. Examples range from basic transportation, cooking, cleaning to complex medical care.
- Eldercare describes a variety of services aimed at helping older people live comfortably and independently.
- Much of US care is provided by the person’s family, but it is often necessary to pay others to provide help.
- Medicare covers long-term care services only when it is deemed medically necessary. Medicaid offers a wider range of services, but only to people whose income and assets are low enough to qualify.
Mechanism of long-term care
As people grow older or become very old, they often face physical or mental difficulties that impede their ability to carry out their normal activities. This is what professionals and insurance companies call activities of daily living. That’s where long-term care comes in.
Caregivers who support older people can be family members, hired helpers, or skilled medical professionals. They may or may not receive payment for the service. People in need of elderly care can receive it at their own home or at a more formal facility such as a living support facility, memory care facility, or full-service nursing home.
Elderly people with chronic or debilitating conditions may require much more attention or practical care than those with mild physical problems. Memory problems often play a role in establishing both the need for care and the level of care an individual needs. For example, a person who sometimes forgets a drug may only need a little help to take the right pill at the right dose every day. However, those who put a pot of soup on the stove and forget it for hours at a time may need more consistent attention.
How much is the long-term care cost?
Much of US care is provided by the family. Many adult children and other relatives do it for free (and often put a considerable burden on themselves in terms of job loss, physical and mental stress, and out-of-pocket costs). In some families, the family splits or tip-in to cover the costs of the caregiver.
In other cases, you may need to hire someone else. Fees for paid caregivers vary widely depending on skill level, services provided, and the location of the elderly. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has set a median average national cost for caregivers of $ 20 per hour.
However, in some states and cities, the cost can be quite high. According to Jenworth, who sells long-term care insurance, the national average hourly wage for housewife services is $ 23.50, adult day health care is $ 74 per day, and nursing home care is $ 255 per day.
If older people are unable to stay at home and need to enter a long-term care facility, the cost will increase accordingly. According to HHS, the average monthly charge for a semi-private room in a nursing home is $ 6,844, while the average monthly charge for a one-bedroom unit in a nursing home is $ 3,628. But again, these numbers can vary widely from place to place.
Unlike Medicare, Medicaid is a federal and state joint program, with some states offering more generous long-term care insurance than others. So make sure you know what your state has to offer and the eligibility requirements.
What does insurance cover?
Most long-term care is not covered by regular health insurance. Medicare, a federal health insurance program for Americans over the age of 65, covers services only when it is deemed medically necessary. For example, Medicare does not cover protective or personal care if it is the only type of assistance a person needs, such as bathing or changing clothes assistance. Also, if necessary, housewife services such as grocery shopping and laundry are not covered. However, Medicare is intended for part-time or intermittent skilled care or home care support services.
Medicaid, a federal and state joint health insurance program for low-income and low-income Americans, offers a wider range only after running out of enough savings to qualify. The federal government requires all states to provide specific services. States are free to add other states at their discretion. For example, Medicaid covers home health services and services in skilled nursing facilities. Personal care also costs money in some states.
Contact the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for more information on what Medicare and Medicaid cover and their eligibility requirements. Contact information for all 50 states, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands is available on the SHIP National Technical Assistance Center website.
Benefits of VA
The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may also receive financial support if older people are eligible for veterans benefits. The program includes various medical benefits and increased pensions for those in need of aide’s services or those who are locked up in their homes. For more information on these benefits, please visit the VA website.
Private insurance is also available to cover some long-term care costs. For example, comprehensive long-term care insurance may cover both skilled and long-term care, to a certain extent, not only at home, but also in nursing homes and nursing homes. However, insurance must be purchased before such services are needed, and for those with a modest income, annual premiums can be exorbitantly high.
Care can be expensive, so it is wise to plan ahead of the days when individuals and families may be needed. Not only does it ensure that older people receive the care they need, but it also prevents family misunderstandings about who is responsible for what. Fortunately, there are public and private sources of support.
In addition to the above, the online Eldercare Locator, sponsored by the US Department of Aging, has information on institutions and other resources available in certain regions. This is a convenient starting point for caregivers seeking the help of their loved ones.