Planning for Long-Term Care
You can never know for sure if you will need long-term care. Maybe you will never need it. But an unexpected accident, illness, or injury can change your needs, sometimes suddenly. The best time to think about long-term care is before you need it.
Planning for the possibility of long-term care gives you time to learn about services in your community and what they cost. It also allows you to make important decisions while you are still able.
Learn more about advance care planning.
Housing Decisions: Staying in Your Home
In thinking about long-term care, it is important to consider where you will live as you age and how your place of residence can best support your needs if you can no longer fully care for yourself.
Most people prefer to stay in their own home for as long as possible. Learn about services, products, and resources that can help older adults stay in their homes.
Decisions About Your Health
Begin by thinking about what would happen if you became seriously ill or disabled. Talk with your family, friends, and lawyer about who would provide care if you needed help for a long time. Read about how to prepare healthcare advance directives.
You might delay or prevent the need for long-term care by staying healthy and independent. Talk to your doctor about your medical and family history and lifestyle. He or she may suggest actions you can take to improve your health.
Decisions About Finances
Long-term care can be expensive. Americans spend billions of dollars a year on various services. How people pay for long-term care depends on their financial situation and the kinds of services they use. Often, they rely on a variety of payment sources, including:
- Personal funds, including pensions, savings, and income from stocks
- Government health insurance programs, such as Medicaid (Medicare does not cover long-term care but may cover some costs of short-term care in a nursing home after a hospital stay.)
- Private financing options, such as long-term care insurance
- Veterans’ benefits
- Services through the Older Americans Act
Learn more about paying for care.
For More Information About Long-Term Care
Content reviewed: May 01, 2017