According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health), nearly 70% of people over age 65 will need some type of long-term care in their lifetime.
Long-Term Care refers to the services required for an individual’s personal or heath care needs. Long-Term Care can be provided in a home setting, community setting or housing setting (i.e. assisted living or nursing home).
Most Long-Term Care in this country is provided in the home setting by family or volunteer caregivers in the form of personal care. Personal care usually refers to assistance with “Activities of Daily Living,” including eating, bathing, grooming, using the toilet, dressing and mobility.
Home-based care can consist of family or volunteer caregivers, paid caregivers, home health care, companion services and homemaking/housekeeping care. Home Health care can be ordered by a physician following an illness or hospitalization, which provides a Medicare covered episode of care for up to 60 days. Emergency Call Systems can be a useful safety net in the home, consisting of a call button device that can alert family or emergency personnel in case of fall or emergency.
Community-based care refers to resources such as adult day programs, drop in senior centers, transportation services (Metro Mobility) and meal programs (Meals On Wheels).
Facility-based care refers to care provided in a group home, residential care facility, assisted living or nursing home. Levels of care vary widely among the residential care and assisted living communities, from independent living with a daily safety check and a hot meal to enhanced care suites with full assistance for all Activities of Daily Living. Most assisted living communities offer care packages in stepwise fashion that can be tailored as a person’s needs change. Home Health Care services for wound care, catheter care or physical therapy are available in an assisted living just as in the home setting.
Many assisted living communities now have the availability of on-site medical care in the form of routine visits by Physician/Physician Assistant/Nurse Practitioner teams, providing clinic style care in the comfort of the resident’s assisted living apartment.
Nursing homes provide the most medically focused care for those with high-level needs.
The range of options in long-term care can be overwhelming. Help is available through the Senior LinkAge Line (1-800-333-2433) sponsored by the Minnesota Board on Aging (www.mnaging.org). The Senior LinkAge Line is a free information and assistance service to help connect you with local services. References: www.eldercare.gov, nihseniorhealth.gov, www.mnaging.org
Dr. Matt Logan, M.D. – Bluestone Physician Services – www.bluestonemd.com