Amy bigger picBy Amy Rowan
Options Counselor for the Area Agency on Aging and Member of the ADRC

When I speak to people about long term care planning, the reply I get is, “I want to stay home, and I don’t plan on going to a nursing home.” In long term care planning, the nursing home is the absolute last option. When you plan for long term care, you should be looking at what options, services, and benefits are available, so if your health or a family member’s health is impaired or declines you know what is available and what it takes to sustain services to remain living at home.

What is long term care? Long term care is a range of services and supports you may need to meet your needs to remain living in the community safely. Most long term care is not medical care, but assistance with the basic personal and everyday tasks of everyday life.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs):

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Using the toilet
  • Transferring (to or from bed or chair)
  • Caring for incontinence
  • Eating

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs):

  • Housework
  • Managing money
  • Taking medication
  • Preparing and cleaning up after meals
  • Shopping for groceries or clothes
  • Using the telephone or other communication devices
  • Caring for pets
  • Responding to emergency alerts such as fire alarms

Who needs care?

70% of people turning age 65 can expect to use some form of long term care during their lives. There are a number of factors that affect the possibility that you will need care:

  • Age
    • The older you are, the more likely you will need long term care
  • Gender
    • Women outlive men by about five years on average, so they are more likely to live at home alone when they are older
  • Disability
    • Having an accident or chronic illness that causes a disability is another reason for needing long term care
    • Between ages 40 and 50, on average, eight percent of people have a disability that could require long term care
    • 69 percent of people age 90 or more have a disability
  • Health Status
    • Chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure make you more likely to need care
    • Your family history such as whether your parents or grandparents had chronic conditions, may increase your likelihood
    • Poor diet and exercise habits increase your chances of needing long term care
  • Living Arrangements
    • If you live alone, you’re more likely to need paid care than if you’re married, or single, and living with a partner


Other areas of long term care planning

  • Advocacy
  • Advanced Directives
  • Caregiver Support
  • Estate Planning
  • Funeral planning
  • Support Groups
  • Veteran’s Benefits
  • Home Health
  • Hospice
  • Transportation
  • Medicare Policy’s
  • Applying for Long Term Care Medicaid
  • Purchasing Long Term Care Insurance
  • Staying Healthy and active
  • Home Modifications
  • Cost of care and how to pay for it.
  • Fall Prevention

Who will provide your care?

Long term care services and support typically come from:

  • An unpaid caregiver who may be a family member or friend
  • A nurse, home health or home care aide, and/or therapist who comes to the home
  • Adult day services in the area
  • A variety of long term care facilities

Who to contact?

  • Montrose County Health and Human Services: 970-252-5000
  • Montrose County Health and Human Services West End: 970-864-7319
  • Delta County Health and Human Services: 970-874-2030
  • Gunnison County Health and Human Services: 970-641-3244
  • Hinsdale County Health and Human Services: 970-944-0321
  • Tri County Health Network: 970-708-7096
  • Area Agency on Aging: 970-249-2436

Knowledge is Key to the Success of Long Term Living

  • Prior knowledge prevents crisis planning.
  • Prior knowledge will save money.
  • Prior knowledge will save precious time.
  • Prior knowledge will rescue the caregiver.
  • Prior knowledge opens the door to other options.