In general, the phrase "long-term care" refers to a broad range of medical or personal care services you may need for an extended period of time because of a chronic illness or disability. It usually does not include the type of care people receive on a short-term basis following a hospitalization or an acute illness.

Whether you require long-term care depends on your level of disability. The chances of needing long-term care usually increase as you age, but long-term care may be needed at any age.

Preparing for the possibility of long-term care before you need it allows you the opportunity to make an informed and educated decision about your future long-term care needs.