Analysts have prepared a report that shows just why planning for possible long-term care (LTC) needs is essential, and what can happen to older Americans who lack the right kind of help.

Vicki Freedman, a researcher at the University of Michigan, and Brenda Spillman, a researcher at the Urban Institute, prepared the report — on the disability and care needs of older Americans — for the Office of Disability, Aging and Long-Term Care Policy, an arm of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The researchers submitted the report in April, and ASPE has just posted it on its website, together with several other reports related to long-term care and caregiving.

In one section of the care needs report, the researchers use data from the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) to show what happens to people over age 65 who need help with the basic activities of daily living (ADLs) and don’t get the right help, or don’t get enough of the right help.

The results are sobering.

One sign of how sobering: Having to stay in bed is just the sixth most common bad outcome. That “adverse consequence” has affected 11.5 percent of the people who need help with getting out of bed.

To learn what the other five common adverse consequences are, read on.

Tub

5. Going without bathing, showering or cleaning.

This problem affected 12.9 percent of the study participants who needed help with bathing or cleaning.

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Pills

4. Making a mistake when taking medicine.

This problem affected 19.9 percent of the study participants who needed help with taking medication. 

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Woman starting out the window

3. Having difficulty going to places in their own homes or buildings.

This problem affected 26 percent of the study participants who needed help with moving around their homes or buildings.

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Hands, trapped

2. Getting stuck inside.

This problem affected 30 percent of the study participants who needed help with going out.

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1. Ending up with wet or soiled clothes.

This problem affected 43 percent of the study participants who needed help with going to the bathroom.

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