What is Long-Term Care (LTC)?

Long-term care is something you may need if you can no longer perform everyday tasks by yourself. For example, there may come a time when you need help getting dressed, eating or bathing. It also includes the kind of care you would need if you had a severe cognitive impairment like Alzheimer's disease. You can receive this care in a variety of settings, including your home, an assisted living facility or a nursing home. In fact, more than 80 percent of all people receiving long-term care assistance are not in nursing homes.

Long-term care can be covered completely or in part by long-term care insurance. Most plans let you choose the amount of the coverage you want, as well as how and where you want to use your benefits. A comprehensive plan includes benefits for all levels of care, custodial to skilled.

However, it is important to note that long-term care isn't the type of care you receive in a hospital or your doctor's office. It isn't the medical care you need to get well from a sickness or an injury. It isn't short-term rehabilitation from an accident or recuperation from surgery.

Why Would I Ever Need LTC?

The need for lon- term care usually arises from age or chronic illness, injury or disability. In fact, approximately 60 percent of us who reach age 65 will need long-term care at some time in our lives, but it's not just a retiree's issue.

Many people don't realize that the need for long-term care can strike at any time. Statistics show that 40 percent of people receiving long-term care services are working age adults, between the ages of 18 and 64. Would you be prepared for long-term care if you suddenly required it?