According to research from the federal Administration for Community Living, the majority of adults who are age 65 or older in 2021 will eventually need some form of long-term health care. Planning for this significant expense can help give families peace of mind.

Review the most common reasons adults require long-term care to help inform this planning process.

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

The ACL recommends that adults who have a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease start planning for long-term care right away. While these diseases often progress slowly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that nearly 48% of nursing home residents and about 32% of those who receive nursing care at home have some form of dementia.

Frequent falls

Many older adults become prone to falling, and these falls can result in debilitating injuries. Risk factors for falls include poor eyesight, a history of falls, high blood pressure, diabetes, muscle weakness, confusion, and taking more than one prescription medication. Many seniors enter the nursing home setting after breaking bones in a fall.

Difficulty with activities of daily living

Most people who enter nursing home care have disabilities that prevent them from completing activities of daily living. Examples of ADLs include walking, independently using the restroom, bathing, grooming, dressing, and shopping for food and preparing meals. Families may notice that seniors have difficulty with ADLs when they develop at least one chronic illness or disability.

Long-term care planning can help adults prepare for this expense before health problems arise. For example, some families can take steps to ensure they qualify for Medicaid coverage if needed.