The Importance of Custodial Care in Long-Term Care

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

When most people think of long-term care, they think of nurses and doctors taking care of them. While this is undoubtedly a vital part of long-term care, it is not the only aspect that needs to be considered. One often overlooked but equally important part of long-term care is custodial care. Custodial care refers to the day-to-day tasks necessary for basic hygiene and functioning. Here we will discuss the importance of custodial care in long-term care, how it can benefit those who require it, and how to pay for it.

What Is Custodial Care?

Long-term care includes a wide range of services beyond medical services in a nursing home. Many people requiring long-term care are not sick; they need custodial services.

Custodial care involves assisting with basic personal care activities such as bathing, grooming, eating, dressing, and other chores. Personal hygiene, dressing, and toileting are all examples of this kind of long-term care and are administered by non-medical professionals. These homemaker services are designed to minimize, rehabilitate, or compensate for the loss of independent physical or mental functioning without going into a nursing facility.

Homemaker non-medical providers might provide custodial care without medical or nursing training. Long-term custodial care may also include activities like cooking meals, going shopping, and cleaning the house. Custodial services are designed to preserve and enhance a person’s quality of life while preventing deterioration by maintaining health and preserving it.

Custodial Care’s Primary Purpose

The primary purpose of custodial care is to assist with activities of daily living (ADLs).

Custodial care meets personal needs instead of the recipient’s medical needs. In other words, custodial care is not skilled medical care or therapy and does not require the ongoing supervision of trained medical personnel.

In addition to assisting with ADLs, custodial care can include other services, such as changing dressings for chronic conditions and physical therapy. Custodial care may be performed in the home or residential facilities and delivered in conjunction with an overall program of skilled treatment. In the home, custodial care is provided primarily by family members or friends but can also be provided by other unlicensed individuals or licensed health aides.

However, custodial services can be administered by certified nursing assistants in various facilities. Custodial care facilities (CCFs) are sometimes referred to as residential care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, or nursing homes. These facilities’ levels of skilled care overlap somewhat, but most patients receive custodial care.

Where is Custodial Care Provided?

Custodial care is provided in:

Non-Medical Care

Long-term care can also help with non-medical care and assist people with support services for daily tasks such as bathing, grooming, eating, dressing, and other activities. These non-skilled personal care services are designed to minimize, rehabilitate, or compensate for the loss of independent physical or mental functioning.

Other, less personal long-term care needs may involve preparing meals, running errands, and performing household chores. Persons may provide custodial care without special professional skills or training. Custodial long-term care is intended to maintain and support a current level of well-being, preserve health, and prevent further decline. Its primary focus is assisting with activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs).

Types Of Long-Term Care At A Glance

Custodial CareIntermediate CareSkilled Care
PurposeAssistance with ADLsRehabilitative ServicesMedically necessary
nursing care, therapy, or
rehabilitation
FrequencyPeriodically or dailyIntermittently or periodicallyDaily
Provided ByFamily, friends, health aidesMedical professionalsMedical professional

The Benefits

There are many benefits of custodial long-term care. This care can help seniors stay independent and live in their homes for longer. Care can also provide respite for family caregivers who need a break from caregiving duties.

The Drawbacks

There are some drawbacks to custodial long-term care. One of the biggest concerns is that this type of care can be costly. In some cases, families may have to pay for services out-of-pocket. It is also important to note that private health insurance plans do not typically cover custodial care services.

Another concern about custodial long-term care is finding quality services can be challenging. In some cases, family caregivers may feel like they are not getting the help they need from their loved one’s care provider. If you are considering personal care for your loved one, we encourage you to do your research and choose a reputable provider.

How Much Does Custodial Care Cost?

According to Genworth, the annual median cost for long-term custodial care in 2021 is:

  • Homemaker Services: $59,488
  • Home Health Aides: $61,776
  • Adult Day Care: $20,280
  • Assisted Living Facilities: $54,000

Medicare Does Not Pay For Custodial Care

Medicare will not pay for health-related care services outside a skilled nursing facility. However, suppose an individual qualifies for coverage based on the need for skilled nursing care or rehabilitation. In that case, Medicare will cover all of their needs in the facility with trained medical professionals, including assistance with activities of daily living.

How To Pay For Custodial Care At A Fraction Of The Cost

If you prefer not to go broke to take advantage of your state’s Medicaid services, long-term care insurance might be the solution to help pay for care.

A long-term care annuity is a hybrid annuity set up to assist in paying for care without causing retirement funds to be depleted. To create a tax-free long-term care insurance benefit, an LTC annuity doubles (200%) or triples (300%) the investment (based on medical records). If there is money in the annuity, it passes along a death benefit to beneficiaries.

Next Steps

The cost of custodial long-term care can be a significant burden for families. However, there are ways to pay for it. Contact us today for a quote, and we will work with you to find the best way to fund this vital part of long-term care.

What Us Custodial Care, And How Do You Pay For It?

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Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

The Annuity Expert is an online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. My goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning or find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates for you. 

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