Posts Tagged "care home"

Options for Senior Moves

Posted by on Sep 8, 2010 in Living Arrangements |

When aging parents experience health or mobility changes, family discussions can quickly turn to the topic of downsizing or moving to a care home vs. staying at home. Parents may want to keep their “independence”. Adult children may worry about elderly parents’ isolation, safety, or the amount of support they are able to offer.  These are seldom easy discussions. Strong emotions can bring out the worst in families that have poor communication skills and less-than-ideal relationships. Even in families who get along well, discussing such a major life change can be tough to handle. Before you start these discussions, both sides should look at their assumptions and level of knowledge about the options. “You’re not putting me in a nursing home!”  “I wish people knew more about the wide range of living options out there,” says Marilyn Moldowan, a Calgary realtor with 20 years specific experience in helping seniors find their next home. She encounters many people who believe – incorrectly – that it’s a direct, non-stop trip between the family home and a care home.  “We can start de-mystifying the perception of what’s out there, so people aren’t making knee-jerk decisions out of fear,” she says. One example Moldowan gives is condominium ownership. Condos are often equated only with high-rise apartment living. In fact, there are age-restricted condo projects of many types, specifically built for mature buyers. They include no-maintenance options such as villa-style homes, with single attached or detached houses and indoor and outdoor common areas. When the concerns are more about health care than home maintenance, options still abound.  Initially, extra help and support can be brought into the family home, as well as introduced  into other private independent retirement living situations. Private “assisted living” options typically provide an even higher level of care, including meal preparation, medication management, and personal care. “Many people balk at the monthly cost of these options,” says Moldowan, “but when I ask them to look at their current total living costs – including food, utilities, repairs and taxes – it starts to look more reasonable. Plus, someone else is doing the work behind the scenes. That frees up the family to be family again – and allows the elderly person more time and energy for social and leisure opportunities.”  “Ninety- to ninety-five per cent of the senior moves I’m involved in are due to a health crisis,” says Moldowan. That’s why it’s always a good idea to plan ahead. The main thing is to realize that options exist. These can include staying independent while moving to a smaller, newer home (i.e., fewer repairs, smaller yard). It can mean renting in a retirement residence or exploring the many condo ownership options designed for the older demographic. And it means being aware of housing options like assisted living and long term care homes, which offer greater support when it’s needed in the future.  Vol. 5, No. 9, © 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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Long Distance Caregiving

Posted by on Sep 7, 2010 in Caregiving |

Many families are faced with the unique issues of long distance caregiving. The ordinary challenges of helping and caring for aging parents can multiply when you live thousands of miles away or even overseas. Val moved to Canada from England 16 years ago. She became a daughter whose parents lived “across the pond.”  Having made many trips to Britain, Val shared with us some tips that she has learned over the years. Here are the biggest challenges she experienced: Understanding what is going on – and encouraging family at home to be open and honest about the current situation. Getting family to realize that keeping secrets may not be a kindness. It is so important to let those who are away know what is going on. You have to live with consequences of your actions and inaction: e.g., do I get on a plane immediately or wait and see what happens? Communicating well is essential. The value of a local contact – either family or neighbours or good friends. You need to be specific about how they can be helpful to you.  Here are more suggestions from Val: Long-distance caregivers often feel guilty. Guilt wastes time and energy, and doesn’t help anyone. Try these ideas for taking action instead: 1. Help each other. Your friend or family member may not tell you about health issues or challenges because they don’t want to worry you. Explain that you’ll worry more if they’re not honest with you. Reassure them that your aim is not to interfere, but to support them the best way you can. Ask for their ideas on how you can help. 2. Get the facts. You may ask someone living nearby to contact you when they feel the senior has a health or safety issue. Ask questions to determine exactly what is happening.  “Your mom’s memory’s gone”, is an alarming message. If it turns out that Mom wrote a reminder to feed the cat, you can then explore the reasons behind the change in behaviour. Contact ElderWise, health care organizations or seniors’ associations for advice. 3. Trust your local contact. Their concerns are usually genuine. If Dad seemed his usual self while you were visiting over the holidays, you may feel the person who lives nearby is exaggerating in their updates. This may not be the case – in particular, those with dementia will often appear more capable when visitors are around. 4. Don’t jump to conclusions. If your loved one complains about neglect, remember that people with Alzheimer’s disease have little short-term memory. They may forget they ate lunch, had a visitor, or went on an outing. If the senior has in-home care, or lives in a long term care home, try to build rapport with one or two staff members and ask when it’s best to get in touch for an update. Check the facts with caregivers before complaining! 5. Understand the reasons behind a decision. You may have concerns regarding a decision that affects the elderly person. Before you react, check why this decision was made. Those involved in day-to-day caregiving know the current situation, and usually have the senior’s best interests at heart. They will appreciate it if you reinforce any messages they’ve been giving. When Uncle Joe complains that he’s not allowed to drive his car, there’s probably a very good reason! Don’t talk him into finding the keys and going out anyway. Building trust and good relations with staff at the care home, or whoever is in a caregiving role, is key to ensuring your peace of mind as well as good care for your aging parent. Vol. 5, No. 2 © Val Carter and ElderWise Publishing...

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