Long-term care (LTC) can involve a variety of services designed to meet a person’s health or personal care needs for a period of time. These services can help people to live independently, and safely, when they can no longer perform everyday activities on their own.
LTC can be provided by different caregivers depending on a person’s needs and can be provided at home by family members and friends, an assisted living/dementia care community, or a skilled nursing facility.
The most common type of long-term care is personal care—help with everyday activities, also called “activities of daily living.” These activities include bathing, dressing, grooming, using the toilet, eating independently, and transfers (ex. getting out of bed and into a chair).
Long-term care can also include community services such as senior adult centers, adult day care, and transportation services which may be provided free or for a small fee.
People often need long-term care when they have a chronic ongoing health condition or disability and can arise suddenly, such as after a heart attack or stroke. Most often, however, the need develops gradually as people get older and more frail, or as an illness or disability gets worse.
So Who Needs Long-Term Care?
It is difficult to predict how much, or what type of long-term care a person might need as several risk factors can increase the need including:
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