What is long-term care?

two older couples standing with trees surrounding them

According to the National Institute on Aging, long-term care is defined as services that are curated to assist an older adult as their needs evolve with the aging experience (National Institute on Aging, 2017). The most common type of long-term care support is assisting an older adult with activities of daily living (ADLs). ADLs consist of activities one conducts daily, such as bathing, dressing, and preparing meals. Furthermore, long-term care encompasses health care and social services, as well as living environment.  

Who needs long-term care?

Long-term care is appropriate for older adults who are living with a chronic or serious illness and/or debilitating symptoms that is impacting their ability to do ADLs. Examples of a chronic illness or condition are heart disease, cancer, hypertension, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, and cognitive impairment. Potential limitations due to a chronic illness or condition include, but are not limited to, reduced mobility, lingering pain, swelling of joints, etc. Please consult a medical professional to diagnose a chronic or serious illness.

What are some examples of long-term care services?

The most common example of long-term care services are services that assist older adults with ADLs due to a chronic or serious illness or debilitating symptoms wherever an older adult calls home. Furthermore, when considering long-term care services, it is important to factor in personal finances and financial planning. Please consult a financial advisor for questions and/or concerns regarding one’s personal finances and financial planning. Please consult a medical professional to measure ADL success.

  • Social Services Examples:
    • Home care (e.g., housekeeping, transportation, assistance with hygiene and dressing, companionship, etc.)
    • Home health care (e.g., physical, occupational, and/or speech therapy, homemaker, nutritional support, pharmaceutical services, transportation, etc.)
    • Adult day programs
    • Meal delivery service
  • Housing Options:
    • Continuum of care (aging-in-place)
    • Independent living
    • Assisted-living facilities
    • Continuing-care retirement community (CCRC)
    • Skilled nursing facility
    • Extended-care facility
    • Domiciliary care facilities
    • Board-and-care homes
    • Section 202 and Section 8 housing programs
    • For more detailed information regarding living environment options, please visit Keiro’s Fact Sheet on Housing Options here.
  • Financing Long-term Care Examples:
    • Medicare
    • Medi-cal (Medicaid)
    • Private insurance/out-of-pocket


Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Types of home health care services. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved November 15, 2021, from

Moody, H. R., & Sasser, J. R. (2018). Perspectives on Gerontology (9th ed.). SAGE Publications, Inc.

National Institute on Aging. (2017, May 1). What is long-term care? National Institute on Aging. Retrieved November 10, 2021, from