Posts Tagged "long term care"

“Just in Case” Conversations

Posted by on Jun 26, 2012 in Planning, Safety Concerns, Sensitive Conversations |

If your summer travel plans include a long-distance visit with aging parents, why not use the opportunity to do some “just in case” planning?  The relaxed pace of summer may offer a friendly environment in which to reflect and plan ahead. Also, being face-to-face may allow you to accomplish more than planning from a distance. Here are five tips for getting started, whether you are travelling across town or across the country!   1. Take note of warning signs that your parents may not be coping as well as before. Check for changes in these 4H’s: health, hygiene, housekeeping, and hazards around the house, as well as other areas where they are getting or needing more help. Share your observations about changes, but resist the immediate impulse to offer your solutions.  Listen and reflect before responding.   2. Start or continue conversations about sensitive subjects: framing these discussions as being of help to you may make them seem less intrusive to your parents. Also, give advance notice that you wish to talk about these topics. Allow everyone some opportunity to reflect and prepare when discussing important matters.   What are the “must-discuss” topics? Top of the list is whether your parents’ powers of attorney for finances and health careare in place or have been updated. Where are the other important documents that might be needed “if something happens”?   Finances may also be on your radar – a gentle conversation-opener can be asking whether there is anything you need to know about your parents’ finances as you do your own financial retirement planning.   Your parents’ living arrangements may be fine for now – but what happens if their health takes a sudden turn for the worse? A “health emergency plan”is a good tool for all families to have, but especially where families live hours apart.   Next, find out if your parents are familiar with seniors’ services in their community. Larger centres have dedicated seniors’ resource offices; in smaller communities, you may have to start with the local public health unit.   3. As a family, research and visit some nearby assisted living and long-term care homes. Everyone’s health may be good now, but things can change quickly. If a health crisis happens, and your parent cannot safely return to live at home, knowing which care homes they prefer can be a boon at times of illness and stress. Remember, these properties are for those who need medical oversight and personal care. You can explore other “downsizing” options, such as condos and retirement residences, too.   4. Get acquainted with your parents’ neighbors and the group of close friends who looks out for each other. Having a local contact can help ease your worries or check on parents’ well-being if you cannot contact them.   5. During this time, keep things in perspective. Manage your emotions and expectations. This type of forward planning is not an “all-business” project; rather, it’s a process that involves reflection, patience and building trust.   You can expect resistance to change, even denial, along the way. Emotions may consume more energy than performing the tasks at hand. You may have to deal with old relationship dynamics and alter some established behaviour patterns before you can move forward.     Taken all together, this tip list may seem daunting. But it’s still best to get started now, before a crisis happens. Take one step at a time, commit to the next step, and steadily build towards a solid plan for that “just in case” someday.   Get started or re-started this summer!   © ElderWise...

Read More

Long Term Care Terminology

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

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 and subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter.                     ...

Read More

Long Term (Care) Planning: It’s Not Just for the Old

Posted by on Feb 24, 2011 in Planning |

Canadians have been quietly caring for their elderly for hundreds of years. Suddenly, however, it seems that long term care has worked its way from obscurity into the national limelight virtually overnight. If you consider the state of the country, the reasons are obvious. Canada’s population is aging rapidly. According to a Statistics Canada 2001 report the number of people aged 65 and over is expected to double from nearly 4 million in 2000 to almost 8 million by 2026. By 2016 at the latest, Canada will have far more seniors than children aged 14 and under, a phenomenon never before recorded. The most rapidly growing age group, however, will be those over 80. Canada’s health care system is being restructured province by province; change and upheaval are the norm. The only sure thing seems to be less money and care for the old who require the most care. Canadians are worried. By 2031, over 750,000 Canadians will have Alzheimer Disease or related dementia unless a cure is found before then. Almost 25 per cent of Canadians now have someone with Alzheimer Disease in their family. Family caregivers are beginning to understand that caring today does not last for a few weeks or months as it did in the ‘old days’ – it can now last up to twenty years or more, completely disrupting one’s personal, work and financial life. There is an undeniable financial burden involved in long term care. No matter where care is provided – in the home or in an institution – families invariably end up paying for some products and services out of their own pockets. In fact, informal caregivers’ financial subsidy of cost of services delivered to the home, and in casual expenditures (food, laundry, gas, parking, etc.) – total about $100 mission a week or more, suggesting that caregivers spend at least $5 billion a year. Many caregivers report they have had to cut back on their personal budgets, use up their savings or borrow money to meet their caregiving financial obligations. Although many of us are aware of these care realities, Canadians continue to put long-term care planning on the back burner. “It won’t happen to me”, “My spouse will look after me”, “The kids will look after me”, “The government will provide for me” – continue to replace critical planning steps we all need to take.  These include: 1.    Looking after our health. Diabetes and obesity are running rampant among adults – and our children 2.    Talking to our parents and spouses about what we all want as we age 3.    Talking to our financial advisors about what we want as we age, and together coming up with a plan to ensure we have the financial and social resources to care for ourselves till the end of life.   It’s never too early or too late to start planning for long term care. As the saying goes: Just do it! Guest Author: Karen Henderson, Founder, Caregiver Network    Vol. 2, No. 20; © Karen Henderson, 2005...

Read More

Securing Our Future Finances

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

When helping aging parents with money matters or planning our own retirement, we may be drawn to investments that guarantee a more predictable future income and protect us against financial risks. Here are examples of investments that offer some degree of guaranteed income:  1. Savings accounts pay very low rates of interest and often don’t keep pace with inflation, but offer certainty…and quick, easy access to your money. 2. Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GIC’s) have long been attractive for conservative investors. They guarantee both principal and interest. Returns are lower than many other investments…and money can be “locked up” for months or years. 3. An annuity may provide guaranteed income for life in exchange for paying a lump sum today. 4. Some products offer “blended” guarantees. Your principal is guaranteed and you also receive some return when the stock market is in a growth phase. 5. Long term care insurance, while not strictly an investment, can also help in cases where physical or mental decline results in us or our aging parents needing more help.  “It’s tempting to flock towards products with guarantees, especially when markets are uncertain. But it may not be the best solution in the long run,” Says Dan Beyaert, a Certified Financial Planner. “Investing in something guaranteed can give you some short-term certainty. However, you need some stocks or equities to help you handle inflation in the future,” he explains. Beyaert advises a more balanced, three-part approach: (1) Hold a combination of guaranteed and growth investments to balance your risk with your need for good returns. (2) Have enough guaranteed investments to cover your day-to-day cash needs in retirement. (3) Re-balance your investments from time to time, to meet your short-term needs and long-term goals. “The most important thing is to stay disciplined, especially when there is chaos all around,” adds Beyaert. “Market movements depend on opinions and emotions – usually fear and greed. Don’t get caught up in it.” ElderWise adds these tips for families concerned about the future: 1. Examine how future events and circumstances might affect your finances. Review everything from spousal pensions to costs of getting more help at home, and costs of seniors’ housing. 2. Ensure that your parents are getting sound financial advice. For example, if they don’t have a financial advisor, you could talk to them about how to connect with someone. 3. If your parents look to you for financial support, you may need to have a series of conversations about what you may be able to do – and what is not feasible. 4. Money can be a highly emotional topic. Keep the tone of your discussions calm and respectful. 5. Family members often have different beliefs and attitudes about money. It may take several discussions for everyone to feel comfortable and to come up with a plan. Just like getting – and taking – good medical advice, sound financial advice influences our well-being by helping us feel more certainty about our future. Dan Beyaert is a Certified Financial Planner with Planning Professionals/ IPC. He teaches retirement planning courses for several school boards and corporations, and has been interviewed on CBC radio. For more information, visit Sign up for Dan’s free quarterly newsletter, which discusses investment ideas and other financial topics at Vol. 4, No. 14 © 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...

Read More

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.      ...

Read More