By BlackRock Retirement 
Long-term care costs frequently rise faster than inflation, and long-term care providers sometimes bundle services together, making it tougher for families to understand what they are paying for – or comparison shop for care.
Here are the basic care categories:
  • Home care: Ranges from errand-running, housekeeping companion or meal-preparation services to personal assistance and some medical treatment. It's designed to help people stay in their homes longer than they otherwise might be able to.
  • Adult day services: Provide social, therapeutic and health activities in a group setting for people with physical and cognitive needs. These typically work best for patients who can sleep through the night.
  • Independent-living apartments: Age-restricted communities that traditionally offered no services. But in recent years, many have added nonmedical services such as transportation, dining and concierge desks. Those services can be combined with home-health care if needed.
  • Assisted-living facilities: Provide help with daily-living activities but not necessarily 24-hour skilled-nursing care. Experts recommend trying to pay for services that are needed a la carte rather than paying for bundled packages.
  • Skilled-nursing facilities: Commonly called nursing homes, these facilities offer the most comprehensive level of care, and typically are the most expensive option.
  • Hospice care: Generally intended for patients in the last stages of a terminal illness. But it can be used earlier than families might realize, sometimes covered by Medicare.
  • Continuing-care retirement communities: These typically offer progressive care, if needed, starting with apartments or houses where older adults can live independently. The drawback: They typically require large lump-sum payments upon entry, and sometimes also steep monthly fees.

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