Understanding Long Term Care Needs

Medical and non-medical long-term care can be provided in a variety of ways. A person may only require assistance with meal preparation or shopping. Others may have chronic illness or disabilities that prevent them from performing the basic daily tasks of personal care. Still others may need 24 hour care in a skilled facility.

It is also important to recognize that a person might need long term care at any age. A disability can be physical or it can be cognitive. Illness and disability are not restricted to the elderly. Many Americans will never require long-term care for any significant period of time. The Health and Human Resources Department estimates, however, that 9 million people over the age of 65 will need some form of elderly care this year. That number is expected to grow to 12 million by 2020.

Physical disabilities may result from such common conditions as arthritis, hypertension, hearing impairment, heart conditions, visual impairments, diabetes and paralysis from a stroke.

Cognitive disabilities include memory loss, confusion or disorientation and can result from Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia or a closed head trauma.

Typically the need for long term care arises when one is unable to perform Activities of Daily Living or ADLs.

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Click here to read more about Activities of Daily Living and assessing long term care needs.

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