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Services designed to meet the personal health needs and care of a person for a specific period of time is referred to as long-term care. The services provided by these health care facilities are aimed at assisting people who can longer perform everyday activities independently to live as safe and self-sufficiently as possible. The care can be provided by different caregivers and in different locations, depending on the needs of the patient. In most circumstances, long-term care is usually provided by family and friends at the home of the person seeking care without little to no financial compensation. However, long-term healthcare can be provided by nursing or community facilities by professional care workers.

It is difficult to guess exactly what type and the extent of the long-term care a person might require. There are however various determining factors which contribute to and increase the possibility of needing continuing longstanding care. Such factors include;
1. Age: Along with increasing age the possibility of needing long-term care significantly rises. Individuals are more prone to illness and disability as they get older and are therefore more likely to require additional care.

2. Family genetic history: Family health history is a large influencing factor in determining and deciding on future long-term care. Individuals with inherited chromosomal illnesses who need care and assistance are more than likely to pass on these illnesses to their children, making the need for the same type of care imminent.

3. Environmental and lifestyle factors: Individuals with poor exercise and diet habits are often at greater risk of developing health issues as their lifestyle choices deteriorates.

4. Gender: Statistically women outlive their male counterparts and for this reason might need long-term care as their reach old age.

5. Relationship status: Individuals who are not married or have close family relations, will often seek the support of a healthcare provider during their fragile years.

Personal care is the most requested reason for undertaking long-term care. Daily activities such as eating, bathing, using the toilet, dressing, grooming and carrying out minor movements are just some of the activities which the elderly or sickly would require assistance with. When we think of the phrase “long-term care” we commonly associate it with physical tasks, but such care services are inclusive of transportation, senior citizen activities/ adult day care and meal services. These services can be provided for a fee or for free as a community outreach program. Longstanding care can be needed unexpectedly, like after a sudden stroke or the onset of cardiovascular disease.

Planning ahead for long-term care

One can never be sure whether they would or would not require such care in their lifetime. However, in the case of unexpected illness, injury or accident it would be wise to think about long-term care service options and plan accordingly should you actually need it. Planning for unforeseen circumstances gives you time to learn and educate yourself on services offered as well as familiarize yourself with the financial factors involved. Being able to make and plan for important decisions whilst still in an able state and frame of mind is crucial to your future health and helpful to family members. Families are often faced with the difficult decision of whether a person needs to leave home in an effort to seek better care and increase their quality of life. If you are a caregiver to a fragile family member, it is vital to have a conversation about care options with them. Although caring for our loved ones in a comfortable environment is a priority, it is important to be realistic about your personal circumstances and the needs of the individual. For some illnesses and extremely fragile people, professional longstanding care in a healthcare facility is the only practical option. Receiving professional care services can be fairly expensive, with individuals paying thousands of rands each month. Payment options depend entirely on the financial situation of the family and the extent of service desired. The sources of payments most often used are; Government healthcare schemes, medical aid, pension, savings and private financing.

If you are fortunate enough to have a good and clear family history, free of illness and disease, it is recommended that positive health choices should be made. Practicing healthy living and independence will more than likely prevent or delay the need for assisted living. Although we are often compelled to push away thoughts of old age and disability, it is an issue which requires much need and deliberation. It is important to consider and think about which place of residence (be it your own or a nursing home/ facility) will best support and accommodate your needs when you are no longer able to fully care and provide for yourself. Unique Health boasts impeccable long-term care services, which is carried out by friendly and experienced staff. If you or a loved one is in need of such service, contact us today!