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What are Long-Term Services and Supports?

Long-term services and supports refer to places, services and products that help you with health and personal care needs over a long time. Traditional health care services and long-term services and supports are not the same. Health care services focus on preventing and treating medical conditions. Long-term services and supports help you maintain your lifestyle when you may not be fully independent.

When you may need long-term services and supports

You may need long-term services and supports at any time in your life. For example, you may need them when you:

  • Develop a prolonged or chronic illness
  • Sustain a serious injury or are disabled
  • Experience memory loss or are confused
  • Need assistance due to normal aging

There are several types of long-term services and supports

The type of care you receive can vary based on your needs. In fact, long-term services may include an evaluation of your needs. Other examples include skilled care and personal care services.

  • “Skilled care” means care given by medical staff, such as registered nurses or therapists. A physician must prescribe skilled care.
  • “Personal care” focuses on helping with your simple everyday activities. Trained professionals or a family member may provide it.

They aren’t just for seniors

Most of us think of long-term services and supports as being only for seniors and those in nursing homes. However, that’s only part of the story. Many people under the age of 65 receive long-term services and supports. Most people do not receive these services and supports in a facility. Rather, they receive them either in their own home or in a family member’s home.

Anyone could need help with everyday routines

Anyone at any age may need long-term services and supports at some point in life. For example, you may be seriously injured or go through a long illness. You could also need help with your normal daily activities such as bathing, getting dressed or getting around the house. If you become confused or often have memory loss, you may need help preparing meals and eating. Reminders to take medications or getting other support may also help. You need to do your everyday activities to stay independent. Your long-term services and supports needs can be measured by how well you perform these activities of daily living.

Activities of daily living, often referred to as ADLs, include such regular activities as:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Using the toilet
  • Going to or from the bed or a chair
  • Caring for incontinence
  • Eating

It’s difficult to predict how long you may need care

You can’t predict the future. However, these facts might give you an idea of how long you may need long-term services and supports:

  • The average person who is 65 years old today will need some long-term services and supports for three years at some point in life.
  • Typically, women need care one-and-a-half years longer than men.
  • Approximately one-third of today's 65-year-olds may never need long-term services and supports. However, 20 percent of them will need care for more than five years.

ADRC of Oregon staff are available to help you explore your options to meet your current needs or create a plan for the future.

Oregon Department of Human Services, State of Oregon, ODVA Veterans
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