When choosing long-term care for a loved-one, cost may be a deciding factor. Across the country, the cost of long-term care varies by state, circumstance, and company. Before you commit to long-term care, you may want to understand what exactly goes into providing long-term care for your loved-one.
What is Long-Term Care?
The need for long-term care often arises with cognitive impairment, physical disability, or chronic illness. Studies show that almost 70% of people 65 and older will need long-term care at some point in their lives.
Long-term care is usually provided in the patient’s home. Often referred to as in-home care, long-term care encompasses a range of services and support for your loved-one. Long-term care involves assisting a person with their Activities of Daily Life (ADL’s), as well as care Instrumental Activities of Daily Life (IADL’s) which includes tasks related to general home maintenance.
Activities of Daily Life (ADL)
ADL’s are everyday tasks that must be completed daily in order to ensure the proper health, safety, and well-being of your loved-one. Long-term care does not necessarily imply your loved-one is incapable of performing their ADL’s, but that your loved-one needs assistance to perform them without difficulty. Some ADL’s can be intimate, or sensitive–your caregiver is professionally trained to handle all assistance for your loved-one, and will do so with the utmost care and respect.
The following are some prime examples of ADL’s that your loved-one may need assistance performing:
Eating: With long-term care, the caregiver will prepare meals for your loved one. The caregiver will also assist your loved-one with eating if they have difficulty chewing, swallowing, or transferring food from plate to mouth.
Bathing & Hygiene: The caregiver will ensure your loved-one is bathed daily, helping your loved-one into and out-of the shower/bath, as well as assisting with the maintenance of dental hygiene.
Dressing: With long-term care, the caregiver will ensure your loved-one is dressed safely and appropriately. Assisting with your loved-one’s clothing will prevent the straining of their upper-extremities and lower-extremities.
Grooming: The caregiver in long-term care will ensure your loved-one’s grooming habits are maintained in order to best preserve their health and happiness. The caregiver will ensure hair is combed, toenails and fingernails are filed, facial hair is tidy, etc.
Mobility: The caregiver will tend to all of your loved-one’s mobility needs, including: assistance with a walker, wheelchair, or cane, assistance with rising from bed, using the toilet, ascending and descending stairs, using the shower/bath, as well as assistance with sitting and rising from the couch or other furniture.
Toileting & Continence: A long-term caregiver will provide assistance with both bowel and bladder management.
Instrumental Activities of Daily Life (IADL)
IADL’s cover the necessary daily tasks not associated with personal care. These activities are still considered “instrumental” for the healthy functioning, well-being, and independence of your loved-one. Examples of IADL’s your caregiver can provide assistance with are:
Transportation: A long-term caregiver will ensure your loved-one can complete their errands and appointments on time. A professional caregiver will drive your loved-one to doctor’s appointments, the pharmacy, and the grocery store, as well as run any errands your loved-one requires.
Meal Preparation: The caregiver will plan, cook, and store, nutritious meals for your loved one. The caregiver will make sure food is healthy and adaptable to the dietary needs of your loved-one, as well as their eating ability (should they have trouble chewing, swallowing, etc.). The caregiver will be sure to provide cooked meals for your loved-one to eat outside of care hours.
Housekeeping: In-home care maintains a clean home environment to ensure your loved-one lives in a positive, healthy space. A professional caregiver can assist with laundry, dishes, vacuuming, dusting, etc.
The Cost of Care
There are several variables that determine the cost of long-term care for your loved-one. Your loved-one’s condition, extent of assistance required, and the region/state they live in, all contribute to the cost of their long-term care. The following are examples of factors that will affect the cost of your loved-one’s long term care:
Time of Day: The cost of a visit from a professional in-home caregiver fluctuate based on time of day and day of the week. Typically, evenings and weekends run a higher rate than the standard business hours, 9:00 to 5:00 on weekdays.
Care Service Required: Long-term care is usually more affordable when conducted in-home. Though assisted-living facilities can be more costly, they provide more services around-the-clock. Other services, like Adult Day Care, are determined by a per-day rate.
Superficial Charges: Although mostly applicable to care provided in a facility, in-home long-term care can also warrant additional costs. Additional costs can cover anything that goes beyond providing assistance to your loved-ones ADL’s, such as cost of fuel and social activities.
Though the cost of long-term care can be daunting, you are providing your loved-one with the care and attention they need to maintain happiness, health, and safety. By pursuing long-term care, you are also relieving yourself, or other family members, from the burden of daily maintenance. Long-term care provides professional assistance to give you, and your loved one, peace of mind.
Private Payment Options
When planning long-term care options, it is important to consider exploring resources for private payment that will cover the costs outside of government assistance. Below is a brief overview of some ways you can pay for long-term care. We strongly suggest you conduct further, supplemental research–this list overview will simply help you get started.
Long-term Care Insurance
Generally covering in-home care, Adult Day Care, and assisted living facilities, Long-term care insurance can often pay for the care of your loved-one from the first day care is needed. Long-term care insurance policies reimburse you the daily cost of assisted living. You can personalize your range of care options and benefits based on the needs of your loved-one.
Life Insurance Options
Some life insurance policies supplement long-term care. It is imperative to first contact your loved-one’s life insurance company to understand exactly what assistance will be covered (and what assistance will not be covered) when considering long-term care. Using life insurance you can pay for long-term care through the following options
- Combination Products: when life insurance and long-term care insurance are bundled together
- Accelerated Death Benefits (ADB): a tax-free advance on your life insurance death benefit that is granted under certain circumstances such as terminal illness, necessary extended long-term care, or permanent confinement to a nursing home
- Life Settlements: when the life insurance policy is sold, and the money earned is then spent on long-term care
- Viatical Settlements: when the life insurance policy is sold to a third party, and the money earned is then spent on long-term care
There are many ways to receive assistance to pay for long-term care. Be sure to thoroughly research all of your options. Contact Comfort Home Care for more information.