Posts Tagged "assisted living"

“Just in Case” Conversations

Posted by on Jun 26, 2021 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...

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Assisted Living Care Homes

Posted by on Mar 1, 2021 in Living Arrangements |

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

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Long Term Care Terminology

Posted by on Mar 1, 2021 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.                     ...

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

Posted by on Feb 24, 2021 in Housing Options, Living Arrangements |

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

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Experts Help Elderly Stay Home - Or Move

Posted by on Sep 8, 2021 in Living Arrangements |

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 and subscribe to our FREE...

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