Posts Tagged "Canada"

Introduction to Old Age Security (OAS) in Canada

Posted by on Sep 8, 2010 in Financial and Tax Matters |

 As a senior or concerned family member, are you looking for ways to make the most of your income and assets?. Low income seniors face even greater challenges. Many seniors don’t take advantage of all the seniors’ benefits available to them. Filing a tax return can make a real economic difference, especially to low income seniors. Many government programs that help low income seniors require that you file a tax return. In some cases, the application for the program can be submitted with your return. The Old Age Security Program is the foundation piece for seniors’ benefits in Canada. The following information is adapted from the Government of Canada’s webpage Services for Seniors Guide:  What is the Old Age Security (OAS) Program? OAS provides a modest pension at age 65 if you have lived in Canada for at least 10 years after turning 18. If you are a low-income senior, you may be eligible for other benefits as early as age 60. The OAS program offers four types of benefits: The Old Age Security Pension If you are 65 or older and are a Canadian citizen or a legal resident of Canada, you should apply for the Old Age Security pension. You may be entitled to receive this pension even if you are still working or have never worked. Apply for the Old Age Security pension six months before you wish to receive benefits of turn 65. Normally, you must apply on your own behalf. If you are applying for someone else, please contact the Income Security Program for more information (see telephone numbers below). The Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) The GIS provides additional money, on top of the Old Age Security pension, to low-income seniors living in Canada. To be eligible for the GIS benefit, you must be receiving the Old Age Security pension. Because this supplement is based on marital status and income, you may qualify now, even if you did not qualify in a previous year. The Allowance If you are 60 to 64 and your spouse or common-law partner receives the Old Age Security pension and is eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement, you should apply for the Allowance. The Allowance for the Survivor If you are 60 to 64, have little or no income, and your spouse or common-law partner has died, you may qualify for the Allowance for the Survivor. How can you receive OAS benefits? Old Age Security benefits do not start automatically. You must apply for them. For more information,: Call toll-free 1-800-277-9914 in Canada and the United States. If you have a hearing or speech impairment and use a teletypewriter (TTY), call 1-800-255-4786. If you live outside Canada and the United States, contact Service Canada at: 1-613-957-1954 (collect calls accepted) Have your Canadian Social Insurance Number at hand.    Vol. 5, No. 3 © ElderWise Publishing 2009. 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 and subscribe to our FREE...

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Home Care for Canada’s Elderly

Posted by on Sep 8, 2010 in Caregiving, Health Care Team and System |

What is Home Care? Home care helps elderly people remain in their own homes, helps reduce hospital admissions, and may allow earlier discharge from hospitals. Home care is appropriate if you need help from registered nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and social workers, or if you need personal care provided by home health aides.   Who provides Home Care? Both public and private sectors offer home and community care services.  Public services are funded and managed by the local health authority. Eligibility depends on a professional’s assessment of your specific needs, your existing supports, and local community resources. Many people are surprised when they learn that public funding for home care is available for limited hours and only for very specific types of support.  That’s where private home care providers can help, with a variety of services, from personal care to visiting and companionship, from housekeeping to help with transportation.  Some are non-profit organizations; others are businesses. Expect variety in types of services offered, staff qualifications, and costs.  Seniors who want to stay in their home often mix different types of services, both public and private. When home care is no longer a viable option, you need to understand higher levels of care available for the elderly. Care homes, including assisted living and long term care, exist to serve different levels of care. Further reading: Long Term Care Planning Long Term Care Terminology  Understanding “Assisted Living” Vol.3, No.11 © ElderWise Inc. 2007-2011. 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 Publishing, a division of ElderWise Inc. We provide clear, concise and practical direction to Canadians with aging parents. Visit us at and subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter.      ...

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Geriatric Specialists in Short Supply

Posted by on Sep 7, 2010 in Health Care Team and System |

In a past ElderWise article, “Why Geriatrics and Gerontology Matter”, we discussed the importance of gerontology and of finding geriatric specialists for your aging parents.  Now the bad news: there is currently a shortage of geriatric practitioners in Canada. Dr. Susan J. Torrible, author of a 2006 study into the reasons for this shortage, estimated that there were approximately 200 geriatricians practicing in Canada – but at least three times that number of geriatricians is needed to meet demand.  The study surveyed current Canadian geriatricians, geriatric medicine trainees, internal medicine residents, and senior medical students.  Medical students and residents stated downsides to working in geriatric medicine: level of income; working in long term care; and management of chronic illness. The study also highlighted factors that may help in recruiting geriatric medicine practitioners. Of the survey subjects who were considering a career in geriatrics, all but one reported a positive past experience working or volunteering with seniors.  This exposure may be key to having medical students see the possible rewards of working with seniors.   But, according to Dr. Janet Gordon, currently that interaction may not be part of a student’s medical school experience.  Interviewed in the Calgary Herald, Dr. Gordon states, “Only half the (medical) schools have people do geriatrics even though all have them do pediatrics.” Mentoring programs may also help medical students see the possibilities for a life in geriatric medicine. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research has another suggestion: adjust provincial scheduling fees to accommodate the longer time required per visit to help manage seniors’ health problems Canadians are already taking a page from the book of some American organizations. The John A. Hartford Foundation is putting millions of dollars into training programs for geriatric nurses and social workers. Can you help?  Yes – if you are a service provider, encourage medical students to volunteer in your agency.  If you know a doctor who has specialized training or a special interest in geriatrics, thank him or her for their much-needed contribution to our aging population. Vol.4, No. 11 © ElderWise Publishing 2008. 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 and subscribe to our FREE...

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Memorial Societies in Canada

Posted by on Aug 26, 2010 in Final Wishes |

When considering and planning your funeral arrangements, one option to consider is to become a member of your local memorial society. These are not-for-profit groups who can (a) guide you in documenting your wishes for funeral arrangements and (b) qualify you for preferred member rates for your funeral expenses. These societies enter into specific rate agreements with one or more local funeral service providers. Click here for: Contact information for all memorial societies operating in...

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