The New Hampshire State Committee on Aging (SCOA) advocates on behalf of older residents of New Hampshire. They have issued the following “fact sheet” on Long Term Care (LTC)

Long Term Care is a variety of medical and non-medical services to help you live with chronic illness or disability, by providing help with health or personal needs. Services can provide light housework, meal preparation, laundry, paying bills and transportation. LTC is available in your home, senior center, retirement or assisted living facility or nursing home.

Plan and think about long term care before you need care and before a crisis occurs. Planning ahead allows you the time to talk with your doctor about your health needs. It is important to talk with your family about LTC services you might need, their costs, and how to pay for them. [You should also see your Elder Law Attorney – Ed.]

Medicare DOES NOT pay for long term care support services that are typically needed. It pays only for skilled nursing facility or home health care for certain medical conditions, and only for a limited time.

Long term care insurance DOES PAY for long term care services. As with health insurance, there are policies with varying conditions, premium costs and benefits. Under federal law, certain LTC insurance premiums are deductible in part as a medical expense. LTC insurance bought later in life can be quite expensive and not everyone qualifies for coverage.

Long term care costs can be paid by you or your family. “Private pay” costs at home ranges from $15-30/hour. Services in retirement or assisted living facilities are considerably more expensive, and a nursing home costs about $70,000/year for 24 hour LTC.

Publicly funded long term care services such as Medicaid or Caregiver Supports have medical and financial eligibility requirements. State and federally funded programs provide supports for activities of daily living, household tasks, congregate and home delivered meals, transportation, and adult day services. Services also provide family caregivers with flexiblefunding and service options for home care. Medicaid covers nursing home and community-based waiver care if financial and medical eligibility criteria, which are the same for both services, are met.

ServiceLink Resource Centers exist in each County to provide information and LTC counseling for older adults, adults living with disabilities or chronic illness, and their families and caregivers, to help “sort through the maze” of LTC services, payment options and eligibility requirements. ServiceLink Resource Centers listen to your needs, respect your privacy and help you find answers.

You can contact SCOA at 1-800-351-1888