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What Is Long-Term Care?

What Is Long-Term Care?

September 28, 2023

When it comes to determining the right level of care for you or your loved one, there is rarely an easy way to do it. The decision itself is often fraught with feelings and can be complicated by the unique circumstances every family brings to the table when considering questions of this nature. However, knowledge is power, as they say, and LivWell Seniors is happy to help with a high-level introduction to the basics that will leave you feeling prepared to take whatever step is next in the journey ahead.

While this may be one of the more difficult choices to make, long-term care options still remain the best choice for people who require a higher level of care to have the quality of life they deserve. From ostomy care to insulin management, and many conditions in between, long-term care facilities can meet more complex medical needs.


Commonly referred to as nursing homes, long-term care facilities offer a higher level of care when medical conditions require it. Some examples of the type of care available in this situation include two-person transfer for wheelchair-bound individuals, ostomy care, insulin management, and other high-level medical interventions. Additionally, long-term care is often chosen in circumstances where private pay resources have been exhausted and Medicaid has become the primary payor. Long-term care offers a team approach to help people live longer with a quality of life that can be difficult to achieve without the effort of a team.


Anyone who requires a higher level of care and/or does not have the resources for a private pay option like independent living or assisted living.

Consider This Scenario

Ginny has been lovingly caring for her husband, Tom, who has been battling dementia for several years now. She has been managing his care at home, which includes providing bathing assistance, incontinence management, medication management, meal preparation, and queuing him to perform everyday activities like dressing and brushing his teeth.

Recently, Tom has become unsteady on his feet, and despite Ginny’s best efforts, he has had several falls. Additionally, she can no longer assist him in the shower or bathroom, and it now requires two people to help him with toileting. Ginny is losing sleep at night, worried that she won’t hear Tom when he needs help, which is leaving her feeling tired and irritable, significantly impacting her ability to provide the necessary care for Tom.

For these reasons, it is time to consider placing Tom in long-term care. This decision will provide Ginny with a much-needed respite from caregiving, enabling her to get the rest necessary to be emotionally and physically present during their visits, while ensuring Tom receives the specialized care he needs in a safe and supportive environment.


Long-term care costs typically start at $7,000 per month and can go up to $10,000 per month. When funds are depleted, there is an option to apply for Medicaid. In this case, if the recipient of care has spent down their assets to less than $2,000, they can qualify for Medicaid. A couple would have a division of assets so that the spouse remaining at home would not become impoverished. Additionally, the house and one vehicle are exempt from Medicaid.

Accessing, applying, and qualifying for Medicaid is another topic of discussion. It is important to note that Medicare does not cover long-term care, only skilled care services and rehabilitation.

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