Long term care is a general term used to describe various home and community-based services for people who need help taking care of themselves. If you're considering long term care options for yourself, a parent or loved one, start the research and discussions early. If you wait, an injury or illness might force your hand — leading to a hasty decision that everyone may later regret. Instead, get familiar with long term care options now.
- Home care. Personal or home health aides may help with bathing, dressing and other personal needs at home, as well as housekeeping, meals and shopping. Home health nurses provide basic medical care at home.
- Day program. Day programs for adults offer social interaction, meals and activities — often including exercise, games, field trips, art and music — for adults who don't need round-the-clock care. Some programs provide transportation to and from the care center as well as certain medical services, such as help taking medications or checking blood pressure.
- Senior housing. Many communities offer rental apartments intended for older adults. Some senior housing facilities offer meals, transportation, housekeeping and activities.
- Assisted living. Assisted living facilities offer staff members to help with medications, bathing, dressing and basic medical care — as well as meals, transportation, housekeeping and activities. Some assisted living facilities have on-site beauty shops and other amenities.
- Nursing home. Nursing homes offer 24-hour nursing care for those recovering from illness or injury. Nursing homes also offer end-of-life care. Services may include help bathing, dressing and toileting, wound care, rehabilitative therapy, and help with respirators or ventilators.
- Continuing-care retirement community. Continuing-care retirement communities offer several levels of care in one setting — such as senior housing for those who are healthy, assisted living for those who need help with daily activities, and round-the-clock nursing care for those who are no longer independent. Residents can move among the various levels of care depending on their needs.