Who do you know who’s been affected by the state of long-term care in their life? A mother or father? Grandparent? Perhaps a spouse?
And is that experience a positive one for them (and by extension, for those closest to them)? Too often, it’s not.
While progress has been made in the country to improve the state of long-term care for all who need it, countless others struggle financially or suffer poor health and wellbeing because they’re unable to find quality care.
November is National Long-Term Care Awareness Month. Chances are, you know several individuals who have needed long-term care, and families who have been affected by the state of long-term care for themselves or loved ones.
This month is important for several reasons:
- Increasing awareness of financial resources can help people avoid financial hardship in their later years.
- Increasing awareness of the importance of caregiving can make people aware of resources available to them in the community and in their homes to improve their quality of life.
- Honoring health care workers can shine a light on an industry that’s sorely in need of an increased workforce, and where staffing issues can create workplace problems for staff and residents alike.
The month also includes efforts to create awareness for long-term care services, the challenges of aging, caregiving, and how your changing health can have a financial impact on you and your loved ones. Education is the best tool for those in need of care and those whose loved ones need care. Increasing education and awareness of this enormous and growing field will only help current and future generations to receive the quality care they deserve.
Did You Know
LTC News has the most comprehensive long-term care directory on the internet that’s free to use and available to the general public. If you or a loved one is seeking care, make sure you check out our directory to see what long-term care options you have in your area.
Additionally, LTC News has a Cost of Care Calculator, so that you can see average prices for your state, depending on type of care. It’s a great tool for preparing you or a loved one for the financial obligations of care.
Long-Term Care Awareness Month History
The history of long-term care in America goes back centuries. Settlers instituted care facilities for seniors, the mentally ill and children as early as the 1700s.
In the 20th century, several key pieces of legislature began to formalize long-term care standards in the country.
Notably, The Nursing Home Act was passed in 1987 and applied federal standards to care. The bill has its own Bill of Rights outlining the rights of residents, including standards on privacy, treatment and communication.
There are also responsibilities given to states to monitor and report on nursing home status, which relates to federal reimbursement requirements through the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Care is an ongoing social and political subject, due to the large number of people who need some form of long-term care. Notably, though nursing homes often receive the most attention, a majority of long-term care does not take place in nursing homes. Other long-term care includes:
- Adult day care
- Assisted living facilities
- Independent living facilities
- In-home custodial care
- Hospice and palliative care
For Adults: Will You Eventually Need Long-Term Care?
A study from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states, “We estimate that over half (56%) of Americans turning 65 today will develop a disability serious enough to require LTSS [Long-Term Care Services and Supports]”
Let that sink in. Over half of Americans will need some form of long-term care.
And what happens to you if you fail to plan for long-term care? Potentially worse, what happens to your family if they have to support or care for you?
For older Americans and those in their middle age, awareness and education mean being prepared. If the list above of types of long-term care was eye-opening to you, or the 56% statistic was alarming, it may be worth your time to research long-term care options, individual caregiver organizations or facilities, and methods of payment.
What kinds of questions should you be asking? There’s no complete list, but it may include:
- What are the most common care types that I’m likely to need?
- What are the methods for payment for long-term care, and which do I qualify for?
- Does Long-Term Care Insurance make sense for me or another loved one, to protect our wealth as we age? Most people get Long-Term Care Insurance coverage in their 40s or 50s, though if you’re in good health, you can obtain affordable coverage later than this as well.
- How does a need for care affect my family and loved ones? What can I do to reduce their burden as I age?
A Long-Term Care Insurance Specialist can help with these and other questions, allowing you to make informed decisions as you enter a new phase of your life.
Did You Know
Less than 3% of the U.S. population has Long-Term Care Insurance, despite the fact that approximately half of all Americans will need some form of long-term care.
However, those who have LTC Insurance ar getting huge benefits. In 2022, for example, the top Long-Term Care Insurance companies paid over $13.25 billion helping people get quality care at home or in a facility.
Work With a Trusted Specialist
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- Has substantial experience in Long-Term Care Insurance
- Strong understanding of underwriting, policy design, and claims experience
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For Loved Ones: Honoring an Elderly Family Member
If a loved one in your life is already receiving care, Long-Term Care Awareness Month can be a great reminder to spend some time with them and honor them for their place in your life. Some ideas of how to observe this month:
- Volunteer at a nursing home or other care center. Community involvement can be beneficial in multiple ways, giving you new skills and appreciation for a particular field of work.
- Spend time with your grandparents or other elderly family members. Ask them about specific periods of their past. You may learn something new that you didn’t previously know about!
- Ask a family member’s care facility what would help them most. Honoring and assisting caregivers can be a great way to observe this month as well.
These are only suggestions, but if the older adults in your life are important to you, we hope you’ll find ways to give back through the care needs.
For Care Facilities: Promoting Long-Term Care Awareness
If you’re in the long-term care industry, November may be too late to prepare for a promotional push. However, since this is a yearly occurrence, it’s worth considering how you currently promote Long-Term Care Awareness Month, and how you might improve on it.
While the resources for promotion may be limited for some organizations, ideas could include:
- Cross-promoting with local senior centers.
- Reaching out to local doctors or health care organizations who routinely speak to patients about long-term care topics.
- Contacting local radio and TV stations, requesting an in-studio interview or on-site tour of the care facility, to help promote the month across these local media channels.
Many of these can be done with little to no investment of money, and only a bit of time for a facility’s marketing, PR or operational manager.
The results, however, can be beneficial, both for your facility and the level of awareness surrounding long-term care as a whole.
For Caregivers: Education and Awareness
The same principles apply to individual caregivers, albeit on a different scale. If you are an in-home or facility-based caregiver, this month is about your profession as well.
Encouraging your organization to find ways to promote and celebrate in November can be a valuable way to increase awareness and respect for your profession.
Additionally, it’s a great opportunity to educate family members and loved ones of residents or patients about long-term care. You’ve undoubtedly had to speak to family members in your role, and preparing talking points or resources that will allow them to understand the long-term care spectrum can, in turn, help you as a caregiver, since those who are closest to those you care for will be more informed of the responsibilities and skills involved.
Find Long-Term Care
Underlying all of this is the need to find quality long-term care. Whether you’re looking to find an in-home caregiver, or exploring all options along the spectrum of care, LTC News has resources to help in your search.
Our comprehensive care directory can help you research and contact caregivers, care organizations and individual facilities in your preferred area.
Why Observe Long-Term Care Awareness Month?
Everyone deserves love and respect, but unfortunately, too many older Americans are neglected as a result of their advanced care needs. Everyone deserves access to quality care when they need it.
Long-Term Care Awareness Month can be a great way to instill in yourself, and perhaps others, a sense of responsibility that results in positive action.
Regardless, we hope you find ways to observe and honor all who are involved in long-term care, and feel empowered to reach out in order to educate yourself on what you or a family member can do to prepare for the needs of long-term care.
About the Author
Working with subject matter experts in the health and long-term care fields, Mark covers a variety of topics and industries related to health and aging.
Contributor since July 19th, 2023
As you age, you'll require more help with daily living activities. Most likely, you've already seen changes to your body. Long-term health care is frequently required due to declining health and mobility issues. Dementia risk rises with age and calls for monitoring and care.
Are you ready to deal with the effects of long-term health care? Waiting makes no sense because you need relatively good health to plan effectively. You have likely worked hard to save money to take advantage of your retirement. Plus, there's no way you want to put pressure on your grown children.
The solution for many people is Long-Term Care Insurance. Your LTC policy gives you guarantees. You will have guaranteed tax-free resources to pay for your choice of quality care services in your desired setting, including in-home care.
The ideal time to obtain coverage is in your 40s or 50s. Several types of policies are available, including traditional/partnership, certified policies, hybrid policies with death benefits, and limited duration/short-term plans cash indemnity plans. Most people get their coverage in their 50s.
Resources and Tools Available on LTC NEWS
There are a variety of tools and resources that LTC NEWS offers that can help you in your research:
The Ultimate Long-Term Care Insurance Guide - If you like details, you will enjoy this comprehensive guide to LTC Insurance.
Long-Term Care Guides - LTC NEWS has several other guides that can help you plan or find quality care.
Frequently Asked Questions - Get the answers to the most often asked questions about long-term health care planning and LTC Insurance.
Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim - Does a loved one - like your Mom or Dad - have a Long-Term Care Insurance policy and need to file a claim to get benefits? LTC NEWS will help. If they don't have a policy, but you need help in getting a plan of care and finding caregivers, LTC NEWS can also assist.
Reverse Mortgages - Learn about reverse mortgages and ask questions about how they work and if you or a loved one would benefit from one.
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