October Blog – Learn more about Long-Term Care

Long-Term Planning is Important

In examining who is at risk of needing long-term services and support (LTSS), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services determined that 70 percent of adults aged 65 and older will need long-term care before they die. For most aging adults, the need for paid long-term care services is relatively low; only about 24% need paid long-term care for two years or more before end of life. For those over 65, 30% develop long-term care needs, and just as many need at least 90 days of nursing home care. 

That means that as family members take on the responsibility of caring for their aging loved ones, long-term care planning and help are necessary.

Identify Long-Term Care at Home Options with The Senior Alliance

According to the Association of Long-Term Care Planning (ALTCP), long-term care is “a set of medical and non-medical services and support given to individuals who cannot take care of themselves because of chronic illness, disability, or sudden impairment.”

Long-term care generally falls under two categories: personal care and skilled care. Personal care is for adults who need non-medical tasks, like bathing, personal hygiene, and dressing, as well as grocery shopping, laundry, meal prep, housekeeping, and general companionship or supervision. Skilled care is for those who need medical attention on a regular basis, such as wound care, medication management, vital sign monitoring, mobility assistance, IV treatments or feedings, as well as physical, occupational, or speech therapies. 

Generally, these tasks can be accomplished with help at home, though most aging people and their caregivers are unaware of what supports, services, and programs are available to them as they age. The Senior Alliance has Information Specialists ready to help identify the resources to best meet your needs or the needs of your aging loved one, including the MI Choice Waiver Program, which provides in-home services for those who are eligible.

Michigan Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

When an aging adult is managing a chronic condition or may need continuous nursing care, they may need to be in a long-term care facility, such as a nursing home. For those adults who are residents of nursing homes or other long-term care facilities, the Michigan Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (MLTCOP) can provide guidance and support. 

Since 1972, the program “strives to improve the quality of care and quality of life experienced by residents who reside in licensed long-term care facilities.” This program is funded by the federal government and is free for Michigan residents.

An ombudsman is an advocate for older adults living in licensed nursing homes, homes for the aged, and adult foster care facilities. Some of the ways in which they help are:

  • Explaining rights to residents
  • Empowering residents to explain their concerns
  • Assisting residents in resolving their concerns
  • Providing community education regarding long-term care issues 
  • Promoting the use of best practices throughout the long-term care system

Additionally, ombudsmen routinely visit facilities, not only to visit with residents but also to create a community presence that ultimately improves the long-term care system. For more information about how a Michigan Long-Term Care Ombudsman can help you or your loved one, visit our website or call us at 1-800-815-1112.

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