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What should I know about long-term care needs?

When you are thinking about your future, do you think about what will happen if you need supportive care when you are older? Long-term care, which includes a wide range of services, is something that many people don't think too much about until they get older. Despite that oversight, it is vital for people to consider how they will pay for long-term care when they age. Knowing what long-term care encompasses might help you understand why planning ahead is important.

What is long-term care?

Long-term care is generally used to meet your daily needs. In most cases, it doesn't include medical care. Instead, long-term care covers instrumental activities for daily living and activities of daily living, both of which help you with personal care needs.

What are instrumental activities of daily living?

One aspect of life that long-term care covers is called instrumental activities of daily living. The assistance in this category covers help caring for pets, doing housework, taking medications, shopping, making meals, managing money, using the telephone and responding to emergency alerts.

What are activities of daily living?

Activities of daily living are the most basic tasks you may need help with. Using the toilet, eating, caring for incontinence and transferring from one location to another are some of these activities. Bathing and dressing are other activities of daily living that you might need help with as you age.

As you can image, these services won't usually come without a cost. By planning for your long-term care now, you might be able to save yourself and your loved ones some stress since you will have what you need in place when you need these services.

Source: LongTermCare.gov, "What is Long-Term Care?," accessed April. 09, 2015

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