The facts may surprise you.
Consumer surveys reveal common misunderstandings about which public programs pay for long-term care services. It is important to clearly understand what is and isn’t covered.
Like public programs, private sources of payment have their own rules, eligibility requirements, copayments, and premiums for the services they cover.
Most long-term care is provided at home. Other kinds of long-term care services and supports are provided by community service organizations and in long-term care facilities.
Often these services supplement the care you receive at home or provide time off for your family caregivers.
For many, a blended approach to long-term care works best. Most consumers want to remain in their homes for as long as possible and delay facility care until they need it. Plan early and look for flexible options that give you more say.
Participant Directed Services are a way to provide services that let you control what services you receive, who provides them, and how and when those services are delivered. They provide you with information and assistance to choose and plan for the services and supports that work best for you including:
In facility-based services you generally don’t have the option to hire someone independently, but you should have choices about:
In home and community-based settings, you should have the ability to participate or direct the development of a service plan, provide feedback on services and activities, and request changes as needed.
A caregiver can be your family member, partner, friend or neighbor who helps care for you while you live at home. About 80 percent of care at home is provided by unpaid caregivers and may include an array of emotional, financial, nursing, social, homemaking, and other services. On average, caregivers spend 20 hours a week giving care. More than half (58 percent) have intensive caregiving responsibilities that may include assisting with a personal care activity, such as bathing or feeding.
The duration and level of long-term care will vary from person to person and often change over time. Here are some statistics (all are “on average”) you should consider:
The table below shows that, overall, more people use long-term care services at home (and for longer) than in facilities:
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 older 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’re more likely to need paid care than if you’re married, or single and living with a partner.
Long-term care is a range of services and supports you may need to meet your health or personal care needs over a long period of time. Most long-term care is not medical care, but rather assistance with the basic personal tasks of everyday life, sometimes called Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as:
Other common long-term care services and supports offer assistance with everyday tasks, sometimes called Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) including:
If your divorced spouse has passed away, you may be eligible to collect survivor benefits as a widow / widower if:
If you remarried before the age of 60, and are still married, you cannot collect survivor benefits from a former spouse.
If you remarried before the age of 60 but that marriage has now ended, you may collect survivor benefits from a deceased ex-spouse.
Depending on the length of your marriage and whether you have remarried, you may be able to collect benefits based on your divorced spouse’s Social Security benefits. Collecting these benefits has no effect on your former spouse’s benefits.
In order to collect benefits from a divorced spouse:
If your divorced spouse has not yet applied for benefits, you can still receive benefits based on his or her record if you have been divorced for more than two years.
Generally, if a surviving spouse is over the age of 60, he or she can begin to receive survivor benefits. If the surviving spouse is at full retirement age, his or her benefit is equal to what the deceased’s Social Security benefit was. If the surviving spouse is under full retirement age, the amount of the survivor benefit is reduced.
• A surviving spouse caring for children under the age of 18 or who has children who are 18-19 years old who are full-time students up to grade 12, subject to family maximums.
• A surviving spouse caring for disabled children 18 years of age or older.
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For your spouse to be eligible for Social Security spousal benefits, you must have applied for Social Security benefits and your spouse must be at least 62. If your spouse begins to collect spousal benefits before he or she has reached full retirement age, he or she will not be eligible for the maximum 50% spousal benefit.