Arthritis: Long Term Pain May Require Long Term Care
For many of us, arthritis is something that we associate with the elder people in our lives: parents or grandparents with stiff joints, aches and pains, or the nagging discomfort we may have written off as the effects of aging. We see these symptoms as just part of the process.
It's true that arthritis can be the result of years of wear and tear; however, it's not just the result of getting older. In fact, the average age of onset for arthritis is just 47 years old1. While this number may come as a shock, it's also true that arthritis is a condition that plagues more than 65% of our oldest Americans, especially women2. While there are several types of arthritis, the two most common are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Both cause inflamed joints, but they do so in different ways:
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation and swelling of the joints. It's a systemic disease, meaning that it affects not only the joints, but also the major organs like the heart.
Osteoarthritis is a condition caused by the degeneration of the cartilage in one's joints. This can be attributed to wear and tear, whether it was caused by aging or trauma to the joint.
Long term care and arthritis
Long term care is needed if you can no longer perform everyday tasks (activities of daily living) by yourself due to a chronic illness, injury, disability, or the aging process. This type of care includes either cognitive or physical assistance with simple tasks like bathing, eating, and dressing—activities most of us do every day without a second thought. This care may seem manageable, but it can be the cause of unnecessary financial and emotional strain. When it comes to arthritis, it’s estimated that more than $150,000 is spent on care costs over an individual's lifetime. These costs include lost wages, medical treatments, and medical care1.
The Society of Actuaries stated in 2014 that 17% of female home care claims are due to arthritis, and it's the second leading cause of assisted living claims, in both men and women, behind Alzheimer's disease3. According to Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, 10% of nursing home claimants receiving benefits are women diagnosed with arthritis2.
The FLTCIP can help
The Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) offers comprehensive long term care insurance coverage for care services in a variety of settings and your choice of caregiver. Care may be provided at home by informal caregivers such as friends, family members, and other private caregivers, as well as formal care by licensed caregivers. Informal caregivers cannot have lived in your home at the time you became eligible for benefits, but they can live in your home after you become eligible.
In addition, the FLTCIP's care coordination services offer you and your qualified relatives information about long term care resources, such as local care providers and relevant community programs, as well as valuable support to your family as you manage with the conditions of arthritis.
Many members of the federal family are eligible to apply for FLTCIP coverage, including federal and U.S. Postal Service employees and annuitants, active and retired members of the uniformed services, and qualified relatives. To find out if you or a loved one is eligible to apply, visit LTCFEDS.com/eligibility. For personalized assistance, call 1-800-LTC-FEDS (1-800-582-3337) TTY 1-800-843-3557 to speak with a program consultant.
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