70% of people turning age 65 can expect to use some form of long-term care during their lives. There are a number of factors that affect the possibility that you will need care:
- The older you are, the more likely you will need long-term care.
- Women outlive men by about five years on average, so they are more likely to live at home alone when they are older.
- Having an accident or chronic illness that causes a disability is another reason for needing long-term care.
- Between ages 40 and 50, on average, eight percent of people have a disability that could require long-term care services.
- 69 percent of people age 90 or more have a disability.
- Chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure make you more likely to need care.
- Your family history, such as whether your parents or grandparents had chronic conditions, may increase your likelihood.
- Poor diet and exercise habits increase your chances of needing long-term care.
- If you live alone you are more likely to need paid care than if you’re married, or single and living with a partner.
What is Long-Term Care?
Long-term care is a range of services and supports that you may need in order to meet your personal care needs. Most long-term care is not medical care. Rather, it is assistance with the basic personal tasks of everyday life, sometimes called Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as:
- Using the toilet
- Transferring (to or from bed or chair)
- Caring for incontinence
Other common long-term care services and supports are assistance with everyday tasks, sometimes called Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs). These include:
- Managing money
- Taking medication
- Preparing and cleaning up after meals
- Shopping for groceries or clothes
- Using the telephone or other communication devices
- Caring for pets
- Responding to emergency alerts such as fire alarms