Living Arrangements

Understanding the options and planning ahead for the future.

Downsizing Stress

Posted by on Jun 21, 2011 in Housing Options, Living Arrangements | 0 comments

You have made the decision to move and “downsize” your living arrangements. You have either decided on your own, acted in part because of pressure from family, or put the decision off for so long that now you must move to a care home for medical reasons. Whatever the reason, downsizing can be a stressful and uncertain life transition. There are common reasons behind the stress, and each person will experience them uniquely and in different proportions. Some common stress triggers are grief, resistance, uncertainty and overwhelm. Here are some thoughts on how to cope with them. Give Grief A Chance First and foremost, allow yourself to grieve. “Downsizing is an end to one phase of your life and it is okay to be sad”, says Dawn Rennie, President of Transitions – Your Moving Facilitators. “Like the day you watched your children move out, leaving your home will be bittersweet. Your new home and lifestyle will mean new friends, new activities and new adventures. But you are leaving your home of many years and possibly your community and friends.” Rennie says it’s vitally important to allow yourself the time to say good-bye to what you are leaving behind.  Hanging on to “Independence” As we age, our physical abilities decline, and we fear losing our “independence”. But we can choose what independence means to us. Does it mean doing everything ourselves? Or does it mean arranging for others to do demanding tasks, and focusing on doing the things you really love to do? When we arrange for others to do the cooking, cleaning, and maintenance, we gain time and energy to spend on travel, volunteering, friends and family, or new hobbies. “You don’t give up your independence when you are the one choosing what you want others to do and who those ‘others’ will be,” says Jan Sali, Managing Director at Transitions. “But you do give up your independence when you allow yourself to decline to the point where others make those decisions for you.”  Fear of the Unknown Not knowing your downsizing options can be stressful, even frightening. To combat this, prepare and gather information, to avoid feeling forced into a decision you know nothing about. Explore all your options – including condominium living, an independent seniors’ residence, or various levels of care homes. Consult a local seniors’ housing directory (in Calgary, published by the Kerby Centre). Inquire at the local seniors’ centre or your municipal offices. Consult with friends who have made the move, interview realtors (if you are buying or selling), or talk to eldercare specialists. Armed with a list of “must haves”, visit the places you are interested in. Many places will give you lunch or dinner and invite you to their special events. Tour their facilities, learn about services and activities. Sample the menus, get a feel for the staff and “culture” of the place, and learn what the particular community is like. Spend enough time at each place see whether it fits with your budget and desired lifestyle. Once you decided where you will move, you will feel relieved, but more anxiety could follow: How will we manage the move?!?!  To avoid feeling overwhelmed, develop a personal moving plan, which includes decisions on the following: 1. Your time frame, e.g., set a goal for being in your new home. 2. What you want to/can take with you. 3. What you can give to family and friends. 4. What possessions are saleable, what can be donated, what needs to be disposed of. 5. Move-out and move-in dates (ideally with a couple of weeks between). 6....

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Assisted Living Care Homes

Posted by on Mar 1, 2011 in Living Arrangements | 0 comments

Assisted living (or supportive housing) refers to a broad range of care homes primarily designed for seniors. These “congregate-living” residences combine housing, meals, and supports such as housekeeping and recreational activities. Most offer transportation for shopping, outings and medical appointments. Some also assist with personal care, such as bathing and dressing, and administering routine medications.  You can rent, own or have a life lease in an assisted living care home. Some provinces provide “designated assisted living” facilities, where the resident pays the accommodation charges and the health authority pays for personal care and support services.   “Assisted living” care homes provide for those who need regular personal assistance but do not require the complex range of professional nursing services available in a long term care home. What standards exist in assisted living care homes? British Columbia was the first province in Canada to regulate assisted living residences through the Community Care and Assisted Living Act (2004). An Assisted Living Registrar was appointed to protect the health and safety of seniors and people with disabilities in assisted living residences. Other provinces have followed suit, and developed accommodation standards for all care homes. What are the costs? Many assisted living developments can be beyond the means of low- to modest -income seniors, but more choice is becoming available. Subsidized housing, available in most provinces, can be an affordable option for low-income seniors. These publicly funded lodges usually provide accommodation, meals, housekeeping and social activities. Costs and eligibility criteria differ between the provinces – and even among different lodges. How do you choose an assisted living facility? You will find considerable variation in services, philosophy, and staffing in assisted living or supportive housing. We recommend your family visit several local residences, and ask many questions, before choosing the facility that best meets your specific needs. Here are TWO very important questions everyone should ask:   1.     Can a resident remain in the setting if physical and emotional needs change? Ask: Why do people move out? 2.     What emergency contacts are available 24-hours/day? Is someone on site or do residents rely on family or emergency response systems? Also, speak with current residents and their family members about their experiences. If possible, arrange for a short-term stay. Quality of meals is important for physical health, and socialization around meal times can contribute to emotional health. Ask to have lunch at the facility to get a feeling for the atmosphere and culture. Ask about the menu: how often it is changed, what choices are available, and who ensures that meals and snacks are nutritious. Finding an appropriate assisted care home can play an important role in improving the quality of life for seniors and increasing peace of mind for family members.     Vol.2, No.19; © ElderWise Inc. 2006 You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO articles, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise Inc., Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning.  Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com and subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter.  ...

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Long Term Care Terminology

Posted by on Mar 1, 2011 in Health Care Team and System, Living Arrangements | 0 comments

Long-term care refers to care homes, as well as to a variety of services for people who experience prolonged physical illness, disability or severe cognitive problems. These care homes and services help people maintain a level of functioning rather than correct or cure medical problems. Most commonly, they include help with Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and professional care. They may be delivered as in-home services; or the person needing care may travel to a community services such as adult day programs and respite.  Or this person may need to live full-time in a care home in order to receive the services.  Care homes may provide supportive housing and personal care, such as Assisted Living and Designated Assisted Living. Care homes provide 24-hour nursing and professional care. Depending on your province, they may be called Nursing Homes, Residential Care Facilities (RCF), Homes for the Aged, Extended Care, or Long Term Care Centres (LTCC).  To receive any services provided by government-funded programs, you must undergo assessment and meet eligibility criteria. Here are more detailed explanations for the highlighted terms: Activities of Daily Living (ADL) are everyday activities that most adults do independently including bathing, continence, dressing, eating, toileting, and transferring or mobility (arising from bed and moving around the home environment). Services that support ADLs are called “personal care services” and provided by workers such as Home Health Aides, Nursing Assistants and Personal Care Aides. Adult Day Programs help adults with physical and mental disabilities through group programs that may include personal care services, therapeutic recreation, social activities and meals. Assessment usually precedes government-funded programs, and is completed by a professional (e.g., nurse or social worker) to determine eligibility for the variety of home, community and care home services. Cognitive problems arise from the inability to think, reason, remember or perceive. Alzheimer Disease, for example, is a major cause of cognitive impairment. Eligibility for government-funded programs is determined through a professional assessment and may include criteria such as age, medical status, residence requirements (e.g. living in the province for 1 year) and other criteria unique to each program. In privately funded programs, the client and/or the provider determine eligibility. Care Homes provide nursing and professional care, 24 hours/day, to support individuals with physical and cognitive problems. Each province determines the name commonly used for facilitis offering long-term care. In-Home Services are professional and personal care services are provided to individuals living in private homes, apartments, seniors’ lodges and other congregate dwellings. Professional Care refers to assessment and therapeutic interventions delivered by professionals, such as registered nurses, social workers, and therapists. Professional care may be delivered in-home or in community settings, and is always available in care homes. Respite is designed for family and friends who require rest from the physical and emotional demands of caregiving. Respite services might be brought to the home, or the individual may attend a community program or be admitted temporarily to a care home. Some of these services are provided without charge through government-funded programs, others require a fee. The amount charged varies between programs and between provinces.   Vol.2, No.21; © ElderWise Inc. 2006-2011. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise Inc., Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning.  Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com and subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter.                     ...

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Aging Parents and Adult Children Living Together? Talk Before You Pack

Posted by on Feb 24, 2011 in Housing Options, Living Arrangements | 0 comments

Are you considering moving in with your adult children? Are you thinking about having your aging parent(s) move into your home? Whatever your reason, you can expect that some intergenerational households will work well, but others are filled with tension. Moving in together can work, but success is greater when everyone pays attention is paid to each others’ autonomy and where certain things are negotiated beforehand:   Respect Autonomy Seniors have been making their own decisions for a long time. Asking them to give up this independence can create feelings of tension and disrespect – even when the adult child is trying, out of love, to help the parent stay safe and healthy. To the senior, it can feel like the adult child is dictating to them how to live their lives.   Negotiate Important Matters If you are considering living together, ask these questions of yourself and discuss them with each other.  Why do you want to live together? Is this the best choice for all concerned?  Have you evaluated other options: home care, assisted living or a personal care home?  Do family relationships allow you to communicate openly and discuss mutual concerns?  Have you enjoyed extended periods of time together before? Can you have a “trial” period?  Where grandchildren are present, who will be responsible for discipline?   How will you provide privacy for each generation?  How will household chores be divided?  What are the financial issues involved?  How long might this living arrangement last?  What will you do if the arrangement is not working?  Are the parent’s health concerns escalating? Will more care be required?  Do adult children have career commitments, health problems or other issues that may affect their ability to cope?  How will the adult child have respite and holidays?  Who else will help?   Whatever reasons may prompt you to decide to share a home, your family can enjoy the mutual respect, support and contributions of each generation. But please: Talk before you pack!   Vol.2, No.10; © ElderWise Inc. 2006 You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO articles, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise Inc. We provide clear, concise and practical directions for Canadians with aging parents. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com and subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter.  ...

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Experts Help Elderly Stay Home – Or Move

Posted by on Sep 8, 2010 in Living Arrangements | 0 comments

Many elderly parents want to avoid moving to a care home, and prefer to stay in their own homes as long as possible. The unfortunate reality is that health, mobility and safety issues can make this impossible. Other seniors feel the burden of “too much house”, but may find the thought of moving on overwhelming, both physically and emotionally. Help is at hand in all of these situations. For older persons who need more support to stay at home, a growing number of private service providers can help with personal care, errands, and home maintenance. Senior move specialists can help with the many tasks of downsizing and changing your address. Many professionals and businesses are adding “senior” or “mature client” training and industry accreditation to their capabilities. The real estate industry is one of these, offering realtors the opportunity to earn designation as a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES)®. Realtors with this designation receive formal training focused on the 55-plus population, their needs and priorities, and the housing options available to them. “There’s more to it than just pricing your home,” says Marilyn Moldowan, a Calgary realtor and former home care nurse with more than 20 years real estate experience. “Whether you’re being proactive and planning ahead, or you’re in a time crunch, your realtor needs to understand what a move means to a senior and their family. My experience is that, yes, moves can be completed within a couple of months, but some transitions can also take several years – depending on the family and the elder.”  As with any professional advisor, it’s important that you feel at ease, and that your concerns are heard and understood. You should feel comfortable with the realtor’s relevant experience, market knowledge, references and reputation. After that, you can starting talking about numbers. “Once we decide to work together, one of the first things we assess is your home’s current market price. Many people don’t realize that their tax assessment may not reflect what their home’s sale price might be,” says Moldowan. Your home’s value, especially there is no mortgage, may be a major determinant of the future lifestyle you can afford. This applies whether you rent in a retirement residence or simply want to move to a condominium property where maintenance is looked after by someone else. Once you know what you can afford and have assessed your physical, social and other needs, you can begin exploring the wide array of options for independent living. Health issues may mean that independent or assisted living is no longer suitable. If so, it’s important to become familiar, as soon as possible, with publicly-supported care home options…even if it’s “just-in-case”. For a senior, moving before you are ready can be as disastrous as waiting too long. But the same doesn’t apply to planning a future move from your home. With adequate planning and fact-finding time, you can discover the many options open to you. That lets you adjust and adapt gradually as your needs and capabilities change. Vol. 6, No. 6, © ElderWise Inc., 2010 You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com/ and subscribe to our FREE...

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Downsizing: Losses, Emotions, And All the “Stuff”

Posted by on Sep 8, 2010 in Living Arrangements | 0 comments

Moving house is among life’s most stressful events. Whether leaving your home of many years, helping manage a downsizing move for an older person, or clearing out your parents’ home – you can expect to ride an emotional rollercoaster.  You’ll be facing some sense of loss – bereavement, or loss of health and independence. At the same time, you’ll have to deal with household items accumulated over a lifetime. Many possessions hold emotional charges, and memories of acquiring, collecting and caring for special things from the past. The harsh reality is they won’t all fit in your new home, but emotions can make it difficult to decide what to take. That’s where working with a senior move specialist can help. “First and foremost, we focus on moving you with the items you love, want and will need,” says Dawn Rennie, President of Transitions. “We have to face that, if you are moving from 2,000 sq.ft. to 500 sq.ft., only 1/4 of the items can comfortably fit.” Once it’s clear what’s best suited for the new home, Rennie and her trained associates suggest you start giving gifts to family and friends. But this may not be as easy as it seems. As we live longer, so do our adult children. They may appreciate the gesture, but can’t take your gifts because they, too, have all they need or are also starting to downsize. Senior move specialists are experienced in finding “good homes” for possessions their clients won’t be moving with. Here is Transitions’ advice on what to expect when you are letting go of your possessions: When selling via auction, expect modest financial gains. Auctioneers charge commissions and moving costs, and do not guarantee a sale price. You don’t want to end up writing a cheque to the auction company! Yard sales and the Internet. Depending on the item, you may get only a few dollars. Evaluate the time you’ll spend vs. the financial gain. Donate to charity. Many people are surprised to find charities can be selective about what they take. A charity that re-sells the items may be pickier than a group who delivers your goods directly to people in need. Disposal of damaged, non-working or obsolete items. Your energy needs to be focused on moving ahead. “We often have to explain to clients why their ‘stuff’ is not worth as much to anyone else as it is to them,” says Rennie. She gives three main reasons: Families today are more affluent, buy more on credit, and don’t see the same benefit in getting “hand-me-downs” as older generations did. They are less interested in “quality” items than what works for their lifestyles. E-commerce and the Internet have driven down prices and made everything more readily available. Rennie cautions family members that, “Even though your loved one may still be alive, distributing household items can feel similar to clearing out an estate. Stay positive and sensitive to minimize the sense of loss.”    Vol. 6, No. 4, © ElderWise Publishing 2010. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com/ and subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter.    Sponsor Profile ElderWise thanks Dawn Rennie, President, Transitions Inc. and her associates for contributing to this article. Transitions co-ordinates your entire move or assists in estate finalization…with caring and sensitivity. Planning, packing, clean up, dispersal and disposal, new home setup. Specializing in senior moves since 1997, with offices in Manitoba, Alberta, and B.C. Visit http://movewithtransitions.com...

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