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Long-term care (LTC) is a variety of services which help meet both the medical and non-medical need of people with a chronic illness or disability who cannot care for themselves for long periods of time.

It is common for long-term care to provide custodial and non-skilled care, such as assisting with normal daily tasks like dressing, bathing, and using the bathroom. Long-term care may also include medical care that most people do for themselves, such as diabetes monitoring. Long-term care can be provided at home, in the community, in assisted living or in nursing homes. Long-term care may be needed by people of any age, even though it is a common need for senior citizens.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates that about nine million men and women over the age of 65 in the US will need long-term care in 2006. By 2020, 12 million older Americans will need long-term care. It is anticipated that most will be cared for at home; family and friends are the sole caregivers for 70 percent of the elderly. A study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that people who reach age 65 will likely have a 40 percent chance of entering a nursing home. About 10 percent of the people who enter a nursing home will stay there five years or more.

A 2006 study conducted by AARP found that most Americans are unaware of the costs associated with long-term care and overestimate the amount that government programs such as Medicare will pay.

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_term_care

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