What Is Long-Term Care?

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Long-term care is a range of services and supports you may need to meet your health or personal care needs over a long period of time. Most long-term care is not medical care, but rather assistance with the basic personal tasks of everyday life, sometimes called Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as:

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

Other common long-term care services and supports are assistance with everyday tasks, sometimes called Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) including:

  • 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

BRIGHT IDEA: Location matters.

Consider where you live and whether some of these tasks could be made easier by modifying your home accordingly or moving. You can learn more in our housing considerations section.


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the United States government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. See full bio