Posts Tagged "care home"

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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Safety on Stairs

Posted by on Sep 9, 2021 in Safety Concerns |

Declining muscle strength and increasing physical limitations mean that using stairs becomes more challenging for seniors. That’s why they are more likely to fall than younger adults. Seniors who fall are more likely to sustain serious injuries, including fractures. Falling may also cause seniors to lose confidence in their abilities, which can lead to social withdrawal.  Up to 15% of all falls by seniors involve stairs. Sustaining a fall also increases the chances of a senior moving into a nursing home. FORTY PER-CENT of care home admissions are fall-related, and an independent senior who experiences a fall is 3 times more likely to move into a care home. Here are some safety tips from the Public Health Agency of Canada. You can use them to have a conversation with your parents about these risks…and ways to prevent falls. Hazards on Stairs:  Lighting, Handrails, and General Conditions Are the stairs well lit, with light switches at the top and bottom?  If not, explore ways to install extra lighting. Is there a handrail?  Is it well secured and at the proper height? Hint: the height should allow the senior to use the handrail comfortably, with the elbow slightly bent. Should you have two handrails - one on each side of the stairs?  Check the condition of floor coverings on stairs. Does your tile or linoleum have  loose edges?  Is your carpet securely fastened?  Consider replacing carpet with rubber stair treading. Can you see the edge of each stair clearly?  If not, consider adding a contrasting color on edges - either with paint or adhesive strips. Change some habits to increase safety on stairs: Wearing glasses - or not? Do you wear your reading glasses when taking the stairs?  Are you still getting used to those new bifocals?  Make sure you can see the stairs clearly, going up and going down. Proper footwear. Are those old slippers comfortable but unsafe?  Also, stocking feet can slip on stairs.  Try out a new pair of comfortable shoes with proper supports and grips. Carrying. Do you carry objects in both hands?  Keep one hand on the rail, and make an extra trip instead. Use a laundry bag rather than a laundry basket. Clutter. Do you often place things on the stairs - to take up on your next trip?  Obstacles on stairs can cause or contribute to a fall.  Some factors that can contribute to a fall on the stairs may be out of anyone’s control and the list of dangers may seem long.  But the risks of using stairs can be offset by the benefits of weight-bearing exercise: maintaining some muscle strength and helping keep bones strong.  So, don’t avoid the stairs. Instead, manage the risks by removing danger factors and employing safe stair practices. Here’s another resource on this topic:   Steps to Safer Stairs:    Vol.3, No.3 © ElderWise Inc. 2007. 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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Drawbacks of Bed Rest

Posted by on Sep 8, 2021 in Caregiving, Health Care Team and System |

Sometimes acute injury or illness leaves a senior bedridden but too much bed rest can have negative health effects. For the older adult, bed rest or chair rest, even for a few days, can cause deconditioning; that is changes in muscle strength and muscle bulk that can result in dependence and  impairment in balance.  Muscle strength is important to perform daily activities.  For example, strength in the quadriceps (thigh muscle) is necessary to rise from a chair, independently. Loss of strength in the muscles of the ankle joint may result in falls. Deconditioning can result in a loss of independence that lasts long after the acute problem has been treated. How does deconditioning begin? The human body is designed for movement. It is also subject to the forces of gravity, so  that each move we make to stand and walk is a move against gravity.  When we are at rest, gravity doesn’t have its usual effect. Without this force to pull against, muscles and  bones get weaker. This weakness can lead to loss of muscle mass, muscle shortening, changes in the joints, changes in cognitive abilities, and reduced circulation. Keeping moving, even small steps or little stretches can make a big difference to recovery. How can you help? If you have a senior who is in hospital or a long-term care home, ask for a physiotherapist who can work with them to prevent deconditioning.  Many hospitals have programs designed to help.  Some even bring specialized equipment like a half-barrel or sling to help a senior in bed gently work their muscles. You can also ask the nursing staff to show you how to help the older adult do the exercises safely. As a family member, you can provide essential support and encouragement. If an exercise program is not offered or you have a senior who is at home and on bed rest, simple range of motion exercises can be done while lying in bed.  Start at the shoulders and work through all the joints of the body gently moving the limb through its normal range of movement.  These movements should be gentle and not cause strain or pain.   1. Make circles with the arms and straighten and bend the elbow.  Rotate the wrists. Open the hand and then make a fist. 2. To help hips remain loose, lift the leg and move it away from the body, then return it to rest. 3. Bend and straighten the knee. If the person is able, bring the knee toward the chest and then return the leg to rest on the bed. 4. Rotate the foot in a full circle. Reverse the direction. 5. Even sitting up in bed a few times can help the muscles, since multiple muscle groups are required to move from a lying to a seated position.  Sometimes we feel a person is safer lying quietly in a bed, and when bed rest is required it can be just what the doctor ordered.  However, we should change our view that bed rest means complete rest.  It should include working the muscles and bones that were designed to be in motion. Vol. 3, No. 23 © ElderWise Inc. 2007. 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 bi-weekly...

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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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