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What is Long Term Care?

Millions of Americans require long-term care at some point in their lives. Whether it is due to illness or age, people need access to long-term care when they are no longer able to live or care for themselves independently. This special care can be provided either inside or outside of the home in a medical facility. Personal care providers can be professional or loved ones willing to take on the role. Because there are several different types of care available depending on your individual needs, it is important to carefully evaluate your options before selecting one for you or a family member.

How Long Is a Term?

The goal of long-term care is to help the patient live as comfortably as possible. Occasionally, people recovering from surgery need special care for a short duration, but long-term care typically lasts for many months or even years. The care may begin as help around the house performing daily chores or running errands and eventually require the caregiver to assist with administering medication or helping the patient move around.

Who Needs Long-Term Care?

People who are older or suffering from a chronic condition or illness are prime candidates for medical long term care. The amount of care you require may increase or decrease throughout your term, depending upon the reason you need care. If you are recovering from a debilitating stroke or heart attack, your need for specialized care may decrease as you grow strong enough to perform daily activities. If you suffer from a chronic illness such as Alzheimer’s or cancer, you may grow weaker throughout the term. Several risk factors increase the chance you will need long-term care. The more of the following risk factors you have, the more likely it will be that you will need to seek out special care in the future.

  • Poor Lifestyle: If you do not take care of your body by eating properly and exercising, you may need assistance in later life.

  • Gender: Women are more likely to require some type of long-term care.

  • Chronic Health Conditions: Even if your condition is non-life threatening when appropriately managed, you may have trouble keeping it under control by yourself in your later years.

  • Age: Most people who require long-term care are over the age of 65.

  • Family Situation: If you are married, you have a built-in care provider, but if you are single, you may need to hire a professional if you require special care.

What Types of Long-Term Care Are Available?

There are several different types of long-term care options to meet various needs. Some people need extensive, around-the-clock care, while others need help running errands each day. Depending on the level of care you require, you may choose any of the options below to find the help you need.

  • In-Home Care: This level of assistance involves minimal care, mostly consisting of daily chores and errands.

  • Adult Day Health Care: Offered by public facilities, this option gives people a place to go during the day where they can get general care and transportation services to maintain some level of independence.

  • Assisted Living Facility: Although care is typically available around the clock in an assisted living facility, it is rarely needed. These patients live independently as much as possible.

  • In-Home Health Aide: Health aides usually perform extensive care giving duties, from helping patients get dressed to assisting them with showering and eating.

  • Nursing Home: In a long term care nursing home, patients are supervised and monitored closely to provide them with extensive care.

Whether you need long-term care or are looking for someone to assist with the care of a family member, it is important to choose the right type of care to help the patient maintain as much independence as possible. At Mitchell Hollingsworth Nursing & Rehab, we strive to provide the highest quality of care, so contact us today.

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