Long term care - Statistics & Facts

Long-term care provides a range of services and support for patients with different personal or health care needs. As a person ages, the likelihood of requiring long-term care increases. Women are more likely than men to use long-term care due to a longer life expectancy. Often, long-term care is provided within the person’s home by family members and friends. In these cases, personal care such as bathing, dressing, and feeding are common. Providing aid in daily living activities is common for unpaid caregivers. Other services such as housework, shopping for groceries, and caring for pets can also be provided by caregivers and are referred to as ‘instrumental activities of daily living’.

For patients with a serious disability or health condition, long-term care can also be provided in health care facilities. Those with chronic conditions are also more likely to require care, evident in the number of pharmaceutical prescriptions. Facilities can provide services such as adult foster care, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes for patients that require more intensive care. Assisted living facilities provide less care than a nursing home and residents generally live within their own apartments or rooms. Nursing homes tend to provide more medical care for their residents and include nursing care and all-day supervision. Rehabilitation services and mental health care are also commonly provided for long-term care patients.

As of 2017, a private room in a nursing home was the most expensive form of long-term care services in the U.S., costing an average of 97,455 dollars per year, followed by a semi-private room in a nursing home and home health aide services. In that same year home long-term care services in the U.S. cost around 22 U.S. dollars per hour. A stay in an assisted living facility during this time cost an average of 3,750 dollars per month. All of these services saw increases in cost from 2015. The increasing cost of such services has resulted in only 16 percent of retirees feeling very confident that they will have enough money to pay for long-term care should they need it.

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