May 2011

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Health Capsule

Learn About Long-Term Care

What is long-term care and will I need it? Where can I find long-term care services? Are there things I should do now to plan ahead?

Older adults and their loved ones can find easy-to-understand answers to these and other questions at “Long-Term Care” is the newest topic on NIHSeniorHealth, a health and wellness web site for older adults.

You may need long-term care if you can no longer perform everyday tasks by yourself. This might be because of ongoing illness, injury, disability or the aging process.

Most long-term care is provided at home by unpaid family members and friends. But sometimes care is given by paid caregivers, either at home or in a facility such as a nursing home or assisted-living facility.

“Today, approximately 10 million Americans need long-term services and supports,” says Kathy Greenlee, assistant secretary for aging at the U.S. Administration on Aging, which helped develop the topic. “As America ages, that number is rising steadily. By 2020, it is expected that 15 million Americans will need some type of long-term care.”

The best time to think about long-term care is long before you need it. An unexpected accident, illness or injury can change your needs, sometimes suddenly. Learn more about long-term care and other health topics for older adults at