Live-in Elderly Care: What Are The Advantages

Live-in Elderly Care

Today’s seniors are living independently for longer periods of time and more successfully than elderly people ever have, yet there comes a time in most seniors’ lives when it becomes impossible for them to manage personal and household tasks by themselves. When this happens, many families choose to place loved ones in retirement homes where they can have access to round-the-clock care. However, seniors are notoriously resistant to leaving their own homes, and sometimes this suggestion is met with fierce opposition. For seniors who have the ability to do so, hiring live-in elderly care can be the perfect option.

The Caregiver Advantage

A personal support worker, or PSW, can support an elderly person in various ways. The four general areas where PSWs provide help are:

  • Health. Under the supervision of an RN, caregivers can organize and administer several home care services, medications, provide monitoring of blood sugar, blood pressure, or other vital signs, offer wound care, or perform tasks such as putting on pressure stockings. Taking clients to medical appointments also falls under this category.
  • Personal. A PSW home care assistant is trained to safely bathe and toilet those who require these services. They will also help to dress and groom clients.
  • Home. Seniors often become overwhelmed by the demands of maintaining their home. PSWs can make nutritious meals and perform basic housekeeping work such as laundry, dishes, vacuuming, bed-making, etc.
  • Companionship. A PSW home care assistant can become a cherished companion, providing conversation and engaging the senior in activities such as hobbies, card games, or social events.

It’s typical for a home care PSW to begin by providing a few hours of home care assistance per day. As the situation evolves, the senior may require more continual home care support. It’s not always possible for the original caregiver to become a live-in PSW, but it does sometimes happen. More information about accessing home health care can be found on these websites:

Trust Is Essential

When you’re choosing a caregiver for a loved one, it’s important to know that you can place your complete trust in the individual. Key to this is selecting the right home care agency. Some of the characteristics of a good home care agency include:

  • Qualified personnel. Choose a home care agency that requires all employees to have PSW training and certification. Also ensure that the agency carefully screens employees, insures them, and pays them adequately.
  • References. A good home care agency will willingly provide you with references or testimonials from current and past elderly care clients.
  • Choice. Don’t go with a home care agency that can’t offer you a choice of caregivers. A good home care agency will send several candidates for interview, allowing you to choose the one you think fits best with your family. Premium home care agencies have a diverse range of caregivers working for them, so finding a PSW who shares your loved one’s mother tongue, culture, or values may be possible. Of course, shared sense of humour or shared interests may be just as important!

Finding the right live-in caregiver for your elderly family member who requires home care can make a huge difference to everyone’s quality of life. The client feels secure with support and companionship on-site at all times and family members have peace of mind knowing that their loved one is cared for.


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The Benefits Of Home Care for Seniors

Personal Home Care for Seniors

There are many reasons why you may want to employ personal home care services. As we grow older, many of us are affected by age-related conditions that hamper our ability to care for ourselves (and our homes) in the way that we once could. Some of us have family who will help, but many of our sons and daughters have children of their own or careers that need their attention. Asking for help from family can make us feel as if we are imposing, and can add stress to our relationships.

A personal support worker (or PSW) can help in many ways. Having home care assistance of a PSW on a regular or semi-regular basis can help you:

  • Take care of your home. PSWs can do light housekeeping such as laundry, dishes, vacuuming, bed-making, and other tasks that may be difficult for you due to arthritis, osteoporosis, heart disease, or other medical conditions.
  • Take care of your health. A PSW is trained to help with health-related matters. A caregiver can help you to organize your medications and can even administer some of them. A PSW can help you to monitor blood pressure or blood sugar, put on pressure stockings, or care for a wound.
  • Get where you need to go. Some PSWs will drive you to medical appointments, take you shopping, or even escort you to church or social events like bingo, dances, and family gatherings.
  • Maintain personal hygiene. Sometimes bathing, toileting, dressing, and grooming can become difficult. It can be embarrassing to ask for help from family members. PSWs are trained to help you perform these functions professionally and efficiently.

In addition, a caregiver may help you with correspondence, engage in hobbies or card games, or provide companionship.

Funding for Home Care

You may be eligible for funding to access home care. If you are a veteran, Canada’s Veteran’s Affairs Department website contains information that may apply to you.

Ontario residents can visit the provincial government’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care site, or this site featuring frequently asked questions about home care.

If you think you may be eligible for home care funding for a live-in caregiver, this Government of Canada website may have the information you need.

What to Look For in a Caregiver

There are several considerations when you invite someone into your life and home. Primary among these concerns is safety. So when you engage a personal care worker, be careful; make sure the agency you’re dealing with has a thorough process of screening personnel. Your caregiver should have PSW training and a certificate from a college or other learning institution. Anyone you hire should be insured, and fairly compensated by their agency.

Another consideration is compatibility. You will, of course, want to employ someone who is polite, compassionate, and well groomed. But you’ll also want someone who is easy for you to talk to, and who shares something in common with you. This may be a common mother tongue, culture, hobby, sense of humour, or a shared interest. Better agencies will send several candidates and allow you to select the caregiver who suits you best.

Having home care and a PSW in your life can help you to maximize your independence. Living Assistance Services services Toronto, Etobicoke, Mississauga, Richmond Hill, Burlington, Simcoe and Ottawa. Call Living Assistance Services today and learn more about the benefits of personal home care.


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What Do Great Caregivers Have in Common?

The criteria we used to choose our five-star caregivers were objective and measurable. However, once the group was selected, it was very clear that what distinguishes these caregivers is a set of intrinsic qualities that some human beings possess. It is all about personality and how it fits with the care recipient and his or her family. The following are some of the common traits we identified among our five-star caregivers.

Empathy and Compassion

Whether providing elderly care for someone who is ill or recovering from surgery, understanding and connection are vital. Good caregivers realize that care recipients may feel vulnerable, frightened, confused and uncomfortable. Being able to identify and allay these fears can create a sense of calm and trust for those receiving home care.


People needing home care usually do not have the same priorities or urgency
as those who don’t. They may take an hour to eat a small meal or to put their clothes on, even if they have to be at an appointment. A great caregiver has the patience to adjust to the moods or behavioural changes in the care recipient and to weather his or her bad days.

Emotional Maturity

People receiving home care typically lack the ability to be fully independent and self- sufficient, which can lead to frustration and lashing out. Many seniors are also diagnosed with a form of dementia that can cause behaviour that is often challenging for caregivers to deal with. Good caregivers can separate themselves from potential anger and resentment and avoid taking the situation personally while continuing to provide high-quality service.


Care recipients come to depend upon their caregivers and often grow attached
to them. Caregivers must always be punctual, particularly if they are providing food or administering medical care. Unless there is an emergency, a terrific caregiver shows up on time even during adverse weather conditions.


Very few things in life are stable or constant. With the sick and elderly, needs and priorities change and unexpected events happen, sometimes suddenly.
A good caregiver is prepared to go with the flow and provides quality care consistently as changes occur.

Encouragement with Realistic Expectations

Great caregivers can calm and reassure those they are caring for. They recognize their capabilities and encourage self-sufficiency while still providing the necessary amount of attention to their home care duties. They have realistic expectations about their care recipients’ capabilities and offer individualized and appropriate elderly care while helping care recipients maintain their dignity and independence.


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10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s

Memory loss that disrupts everyday life is not part of the normal aging process. It is a symptom of dementia, a gradual and progressive decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning skills. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, a disorder that results in the loss of brain cells.The Alzheimer Society, a national leader in the fight against Alzheimer’s, believes that it is critical for people with dementia and their families to receive information as early as possible. To help family members and health care professionals recognize warning signs, here is a checklist of the top 10 common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease that the Society has developed.

1. Memory Loss

One of the most common early signs of dementia is forgetting recently learned information. While it is normal to forget appointments, names, or telephone numbers, those with dementia will forget such things more often and not remember them later.

2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks

People with dementia often find it hard to complete everyday tasks that are so familiar we usually do not think about how to do them. A person with Alzheimer’s may not know the steps for preparing a meal, using a household appliance, or participating in a lifelong hobby.

3. Problems with language

Everyone has trouble finding the right words sometimes, but a person with Alzheimer’s disease often forgets simple words, making his or her speech or writing hard to understand. If a person with Alzheimer’s is unable to find his or her toothbrush, for example, the individual may ask for “that thing for my mouth.”

4. Disorientation to time and place.

It’s normal to forget the day of the week or where you’re going. But people with Alzheimer’s disease can become lost on their own street, forget where they are and how they got there, and not know how to get back home.

5. Poor or decreased judgment.

No one has perfect judgment all the time. Those with Alzheimer’s may dress without regard to the weather, wearing several shirts or blouses on a warm day or very little clothing in cold weather. Individuals with dementia often show poor judgment about money, giving away large amounts of money to Telemarketers or paying for home repairs or products they don’t need.

6. Problems with abstract thinking.

Balancing a checkbook may be hard when the task is more complicated than usual. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease could forget completely what the numbers are and what needs to be done with them.

7. Misplacing things.

Anyone can temporarily misplace a wallet or key. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places: an iron in the freezer, a wristwatch in the sugar bowl, or a sandwich under the sofa.

8. Changes in mood or behavior.

Everyone can become sad or moody from time to time. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease can show rapid mood swings, from calm to tears to anger, for no apparent reason.

9. Changes in personality.

People’s personalities ordinarily change somewhat with age. But a person with Alzheimer’s disease can change a lot, becoming extremely confused, suspicious, fearful, or dependent on a family member.

10. Loss of initiative.

It’s normal to tire of housework, business activities, or social obligations at times. The person with Alzheimer’s disease may become very passive, sitting in front of the television for hours, sleeping more than usual, or not wanting to do usual activities.


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How PSW Certified Caregivers Help Seniors Maintain Independence

PSW Certified Caregivers

Elderly care recipients and their families who are seeking home care assistance are often told to make sure that the home care they receive is provided by skilled and experienced Personal Support Workers. Premium home care agencies demand high standards from their personnel. This means that employees should:

  • Provide recent police checks.
  • Provide references, to be checked thoroughly by the home care agency.
  • Be adequately insured for liability and dishonesty.
  • Be fully insured and covered under the Workers’ Compensation Board, with a valid Workers Compensation Clearance Certificate.
  • Have graduated from a Personal Support Worker training course at a reputable community college.

This last qualification is important, as it indicates that your caregiver has been through rigorous training. Students in PSW courses learn the full range of skills required to assist people with their personal and household needs so as to ensure their comfort and safety. These programs focus on the skills and abilities needed to create a climate that promotes the optimal physical, social, and emotional wellbeing of clients. Subjects studied by individuals enrolled in college PSW courses include Anatomy, Communication Skills, Nutrition, and Providing Optimal Care and Support. These courses must include all types of learning opportunities, such as lectures, labs, and practicums.

By employing a home care agency that hires only caregivers who have PSW certification, you are far more likely to receive excellent care.

What Services Do PSWs Provide?

There are four major areas where a PSW can provide support. These are:

  • Personal Hygiene. A senior may need assistance with bathing, toileting, dressing, or grooming. A PSW is trained to provide this help efficiently and professionally. These workers are familiar with various types of home healthcare equipment such as commodes, wheelchairs, walkers, and respirators.
  • Medical. Under the supervision of an RN, a PSW can help to organize and administer medications. They can monitor blood sugar, blood pressure, or other vital signs. PSWs can help clients with compression stockings, ostomy bags, hearing aids, catheters, and other appliances. They can provide basic wound care as well as other medical care. PSWs can often help the client with physical therapy that has been prescribed by a physiotherapist. A PSW can drive and accompany their elderly care client to medical appointments. PSWs are also trained to assess clients and alert family or medical professionals to problems or potential issues.
  • Housekeeping. Seniors may have difficulty maintaining a clean home. PSWs are able to do light housekeeping such as dishes, vacuuming, bed-making, and laundry. A PSW can also cook simple, nutritious meals for clients. Often times, seniors are unable or unwilling to cook balanced meals for themselves, and a PSW can make meals for eating fresh, or for storing in the freezer.
  • Companionship. A caregiver can help an isolated senior to feel less lonely. Caregivers often provide conversation, or engage in activities such as crafts and hobbies, card games, or reading aloud from newspapers or books. A PSW can also take the senior on excursions that can include church, shopping, bingo, or other social activities.
Keeping Seniors Independent

PSW certified caregivers can help you or your family member maintain independence and live life to the fullest. Contact a premium home care agency today and learn more about engaging the services of a PSW.


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Retirement Home Care in Toronto

In the Greater Toronto Area, many seniors engage the services of a Personal Support Worker (PSW). Most of these workers support the home care health needs, personal needs, and household needs of people who wish to remain as independent as possible in their own homes. Over time, many clients and caregivers develop excellent working relationships, with the PSW becoming familiar with what the client needs and how he/she prefers it to be done in a home care situation. If a family member has ever had the support of a caregiver, you know how valuable this type of relationship can be.

In some cases, a senior’s family decides that his or her needs are such that they can best be met by moving to a retirement home. But these families may not be aware that many retirement home residents also engage the services of a PSW from outside agencies.

The Best of Care

There are many reasons why your family member can benefit from having a PSW work for you in the retirement home. Here are some of them:

  • Personalized service. While nursing home staff may be excellent, they have a number of clients to look after. A dedicated PSW from an outside agency can become very familiar with what is required and provide your family member with individualized service.
  • Constant monitoring. With a PSW dedicated to your family member, you can be sure that assistance is available at all times. If he or she needs help to get to the washroom, for example, it can be difficult to depend on retirement home staff who may be busy with another resident’s needs. Your PSW will be available when you need them. As well, if your family member has complex medical needs, it provides peace of mind to know that someone who understands these needs will be attending to them constantly.
  • Observations. Recent news stories have highlighted neglect and abuse in some Ontario retirement homes. Having an independent PSW on site can provide your family with an objective pair of eyes. If your loved one is not receiving the care he/she should be, the PSW will be able to make family members aware of this.
  • Comfort. Seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia can become easily confused, agitated, or upset. Having a familiar face nearby can help to keep him/her calm. Similarly, if your family member’s first language or culture is important to them, it may be hugely beneficial for you to engage a caregiver who shares that mother tongue and culture. If your family member already has a relationship with a PSW, it’s possible he/she may be allowed to continue to work in the retirement home.
  • Companionship. There are many times of the day in retirement homes when there may be little for residents to do. Having a dedicated PSW means that your loved one always has someone that they can talk to, go for a walk or simply play cards.
Premium Care-giving

If you think your family member could benefit from having a dedicated PSW to attend to him/her at a retirement home, call a premium home care agency today. The peace of mind that comes from knowing that your loved one is well cared for is invaluable.

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Senior Care for Alzheimer’s Patients

Senior Care for Alzheimer’s Patients

If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you may be feeling devastated and overwhelmed. Alzheimer’s can be difficult to deal with, causing personality changes and robbing the patient of cherished memories. But with the proper support your family can remain strong, while providing care, comfort, and love to the person with dementia.

First, while you may be tempted to take on all caregiver duties for your loved one. This is generally not a good idea. By immersing yourself in caregiving, you upset the natural balance of your relationship with the person who has Alzheimer’s. You also run the risk of exhaustion, and of making yourself ill.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, so it’s best to begin by taking small steps to get the help you need. Keep in mind that your family’s needs will evolve, so regular re-evaluation will be necessary.

Hiring a Personal Support Worker

First, find an agency that provides skilled and experienced personal support workers or PSWs. By engaging a PSW shortly after diagnosis, your loved one will have an opportunity to bond with him or her, and your caregiver will have a chance to get to know your family member.

A PSW can augment the care you or other family members provide. You could, for example, book a PSW for a few hours each day. This will give you a chance to leave the house to socialize, shop, go for a walk, or do errands. During this time the PSW can attend to your loved one’s needs – such as bathing, or grooming – or he/she can do household chores or cook nutritious meals. A PSW can even take the client out to an adult day centre or to medical appointments.

Some of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s include:

  • Memory loss and confusion
  • Anger and aggression
  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Depression
  • Repetition
  • Sleep issues and “sundowning”
  • Wandering
  • Delusions or hallucinations

It can be difficult for family members not to react emotionally when dealing with some of these symptoms. However, trained personal support workers who have experience with home care and dementia patients know a number of strategies to cope with these manifestations of the disease.

As time goes on, you may find that you need more help. Many home care agencies provide PSWs that will spend the night, allowing you to get enough rest, and some even provide live-in caregivers. As well, should your loved one move to a retirement home, a dedicated PSW can work for him or her there.

Getting the Help You Need

Working with a top-notch home care agency can ensure that your loved one receives the type of care he or she deserves. Choose a home care agency that has high standards for hiring workers. PSWs should have:

  • A certificate from a PSW training course from a recognized college.
  • A recent police check on file.
  • Experience with dementia patients.
  • References from previous jobs.
  • Sufficient liability and dishonesty insurance.
  • A valid Workers Compensation Clearance Certificate.

Contact a home care provider today and get the help you need to care for your family member.

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Senior Home Care: What To Look For

Senior Home Care

Access to home care varies greatly throughout Canada. Many rural communities have little or no access to services, while cities may have a large range of choices available. The Greater Toronto Area is one of the best-served regions of the country, with virtually every type of personal home care – including first rate senior home care – available at all times.

However, it’s important to research your home care options carefully. Some home care agencies provide only limited types of services, or can only offer a few hours of assistance per week. If you are dependent on government funding, you may only be eligible to engage caregivers from certain agencies. (More information about funding can be found on government websites, such as this Ontario Ministry of Health site.)

However, if you are able to choose a top-notch agency to provide your home care, you’ll have a wide range of services and times available to you. Premier agencies also provide benefits like choice, 24/7 availability, and certified personnel.

Assessing Your Needs

The first step is to evaluate your own home care needs. Bear in mind that the goal of home care is to help seniors remain as independent as possible. Perhaps very little assistance is needed – a ride to the grocery store once a week, for example, or help getting to medical appointments. Or maybe the care recipient is experiencing difficulty with daily tasks such as bathing and grooming. In these cases, you could hire someone on a regular but limited basis. A few hours one day a week in the first instance, and a daily morning visit in the second case would be sufficient.
On the other hand, it may be that you have been recently released from hospital and are recovering from an illness or operation. In this case you might need round-the-clock home care for a short period of time that tapers off as you get well.

Or, you could be experiencing progression of a debilitating condition, in which case you might want a substantial amount of help that evolves to live-in support as your condition changes.

Finding the Right Care

Good home care agencies will send a registered nurse to perform an initial assessment of their own, and may offer suggestions that will work for you. While some agencies send caregivers from their roster on a rotating basis (as they are available), better agencies provide you with one primary caregiver. Premium agencies will try to match you with a PSW who shares your mother tongue, culture, values, hobbies, or interests. Some home care agencies will send several candidates and allow you to make the final choice and will employ a Registered Nurse as an advisor and supervisor.

When interviewing agencies, make sure the one you choose has a rigorous employee screening process (including police checks and reference checks). Your caregiver should have PSW training and a certificate from a recognized college, general insurance, and coverage under Worker’s Compensation.

Look for flexibility and accountability in the agency’s policies, with regularly scheduled “check-ins” to make sure you are receiving the service you deserve.

A little support from a PSW can help you retain your independence and self-esteem. Contact a premium Living Assistance Agency in your area today and learn more about how home care can add to your quality of life!

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How to cope with your aging parents

Reassure Your Parents.

Let them know that you are supporting them and can be depended upon to help solve their problems. Emphasize family bonds.

Educate Yourself.

You, and your parents if possible, need to become information specialists in areas relevant to their changing situation.

Legal matters, including wills, property ownership and powers of attorney.
Financial arrangements.
Healthcare resources and home support services.
Housing and recreation resources.
Current knowledge on the aging process.

Take Stock.

As health and living problems arise, obtain an assessment of your parent’s challenges and needs. Such an assessment would best be organized through a Case Manager and could include a physician, nurse, social worker and/or other professional. A lawyer and financial advisor may also be helpful in some instances.

Help Parents Retain Control.

Respect your parents need to make their own decisions and remain in control of their lives.

Share The Work.

Don’t try to do everything yourself. Share the emotional and physical responsibilities among family, friends, personal support workers, and other health care professionals.

Think Creatively.

Brainstorm with family and friends about ways to help older family members maintain independence, continue interests on some level, and have as much decision making opportunity as possible.

Make Small Changes.

Opt for the smallest change possible at each step. Don’t be overwhelmed by the complete care that may be necessary in 5 years when partial help may be all that is required right now.

Get Counseling.

Obtain professional counseling if the situation and the relationship with an elderly parent become overwhelming.

Respect Your Own Needs.

Be honest with your parents about your time and energy limits. Make them aware of the necessity for your recreation and pursuit of interests.


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Discussing Home Care with Your Loved One

Here are three questions for you to consider…

  1. How do you help your elderly loved one get past family customs and cultural beliefs, to accept assistance in their homes?

  2. How do you tell your loved one that you and your siblings are concerned about them living alone at home?

  3. How do you help them keep their independence without appearing to be interfering in their lives or making decisions for them?

These are issues that will not go away with time. To the contrary, everyone involved should be proactive about such complicated topics. With advance planning, and open and frank discussions within the family, the problem-solving process can work quite well. However, it will take some concerted effort on the part of you, your siblings, and your loved one.

The first thing to recognize is that many of the conversations you will be having on your loved one’s behalf could be emotionally laden and should be handled with care.

Some issues to consider when having conversations that are focused on helping your loved one decide whether or not to use home care:
  • Ensure your loved one is completely focused and involved in all discussions, (assuming their mental capabilities are up to the task).
  • Voice your opinions using “I” statements.
  • Have a clear topic for every discussion.
  • Be assertive about your thoughts.
  • Be respectful of others’ opinions (especially your loved one’s).
  • Realize it may take some time and several conversations to come to a consensus.
  • Don’t blame others or use “You” statements.
  • Don’t try to accomplish too much in one conversation.
  • Don’t expect that it will be easy.

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