7 Surprising Health Issues That Require Long Term Care

Written By Nicholas McGill

Nearly two-thirds of Americans over the Age of 65 will require Long Term Care (1). The average person has a one in 3 risk of spending almost 3 years in a nursing home, according to the AARP Public Policy Institute.

What are the most common issues that require Long Term Care?

Here are the top seven.

#1. Stroke

According to the CDC, every 40 seconds someone has a stroke.


  • Every year almost 800,000 Americans have a stroke, coming at a costs of roughly $46 billion between 2014-2015. (2)

  • Strokes are happening at younger ages, with risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and diabetes, all happening at younger ages. (3). Recent studies over the last 15 years, show that younger adults (ages 18-54) have had increases in stroke hospitalizations , along with increases in stroke risk factors. (3)

2. Cancer

The good news, if there’s any, is that the number of cancer survivors is increasing. The new challenge is that cancer is an emerging long term care issue.
  • 59% of the 13.7 million cancer survivors are over the age of 65 (4).

  • Most cancer survivors will eventually experience some other debilitating conditions and require long-term support and services.

  • Patients with cancer treatment–related toxicity or cancer-related symptoms may require complex services including skilled nursing, rehabilitation, and symptom management in long-term care. With population aging, the number of patients with cancer will increase in long-term care facilities because cancer occurs more commonly in older adults.

3. Injury Induced By Fall or Other Activity

Here are some important and surprising stat on fall injuries in the U.S. :


  • Every year 1 in 4 people age 65 or older will fall in the U.S. (5)

  • People age 75 and older are almost 5 times more likely to fall than those in their 60s and early 70s (5).

  • 20-30% of those who fall suffer moderate/severe injuries, such as head trauma, lacerations, and hip fractures (5).

  • 2.8 million non-fatal falls are treated in the emergency room, with almost 800,000 hospitalized, according to the CDC (5).

4. Dementia, Alzheimer’s, or Other Mental Illness

According to the Alzheimer’s Association (6) :


  • More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimers

  • Over 11 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. They also provided an estimated 15.3 BILLION hours of care valued at nearly $257 Billion dollars.

  • Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women.

  • Alzheimer’s kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.

5. Diabetes

That inner child that craves that sugar rush is more dangerous than you might think.
More than 25% of Americans over the age of 65 have diabetes (7). Diabetes is a progressive disease that can effect the heart, kidneys, circulatory system as well nerves and eyes. In terms of direct medical expenses it costs $237 billion each year (8).


  • 1.5 Million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year (7).

  • As of 2015, 88 Million Americans age 18 and older have prediabetes (7).

6. Obesity

While Obesity is listed here by itself at #6, it is a major risk factor with some of the other causes on this list including Diabetes and Stroke. Here are some stats on obesity:
  • Obesity often limits mobility and in older people, can limit the ability perform certain daily tasks. A recent study of Long Term Care facilities in the United States found that the percentage of newly admitted, obese residents rose 15-25% between 1992 and 2001. Nearly one-third of these obese individuals were under age 65 (9).

  • Compared to people with normal weight, obese people over 65 years old are 25% more likely to use informal care, from a relative or close friend for example (10).

# 7. Nervous system disorders (ex. Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis)


  • Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease each year (11).

  • Men are 1.5 times more likely to have Parkinson’s disease than women (11).

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable disorder that can cause a variety of symptoms, which for many, can flare-up and then subside over the course of days, months, or even years. Causes of MS are not yet fully understood and more research is needed (12).

  • On average, with relapsing forms of MS, women are three times more likely than men to develop this disorder. With the primary-progressive form, genders are more equally divided (12).

4 Things You Can Do With This Information


  1. Assess your health risk factors & consult with your physicians and medical practitioners

  2. Stay healthy and happy with diet, exercise, and fun. For pointers on that last one, ask your kids or grand kids.

  3. Have conversations with loved ones and trusted advisors.

  4. Remember, it’s your life and your plan. Make sure you have a plan.

You May Also Like

Breast Cancer-Thinking Long Term

Breast Cancer-Thinking Long Term

  October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and with that we should be raising our awareness of long term effects...