What is Long-Term Care FAQ

Q: What is long-term care?

A: A person of any age needs “long-term care” when that person needs help with his or her medical needs or activities of daily living over a long period of time. Help with activities of daily living (often called ADLs), is generally considered to be help with the following 6 ADLs:

  1. Dressing.
  2. Eating.
  3. Bathing (washing oneself in a bathtub or shower, or by sponge bath; also includes the individual’s ability to get into and out of a shower or tub).
  4. Toileting (getting to and from the toilet, using it appropriately, and cleaning oneself).
  5. Maintaining continence (the ability of an individual to control his or her bladder and bowel functions or, if unable to control said functions, then the ability to adequately perform needed personal hygiene such as changing of adult diapers and cleaning the skin, or taking proper care of a catheter and/or colostomy bag).
  6. Transferring (moving into or out of a chair, bed, or wheelchair).For the purposes of long-term care insurance and for the Veterans Aid and Attendance benefit, when a person needs help with 2 of these 6 ADLs, that person is said to need long-term care. For Medicaid qualification, a person generally needs to require assistance with 4 out of the 6 ADLs, or a suffer from a severe cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. Long-term care can be provided at home, in an assisted living community or small group home, or in a nursing home (often called “health care centers” or “health and rehabilitation centers”) or other medical facility.