If you ask a retired person what surprised them most about retirement, most will tell you it was the unexpected costs. Contrary to popular belief, OHIP is not universal health care by any stretch; there’s no such thing as universal health care.

It’s easy to see how one can be misled with doctor visits and hospital stays being covered throughout the first part of our lives, but as the years move on our health care requirements change. The risk of chronic illness increases significantly after 50, leading to a need for more prescriptions, assisted living devices like canes and walkers, and other expenses that are not entirely covered by OHIP, if at all.

What Does OHIP Cover for Seniors?

What OHIP covers for seniors depends on several factors, such as your income and whether or not you have private insurance. These things determine what will be covered and whether fully or partially.

The Ontario Drug Benefit program covers the cost of most of the drugs listed on the Ontario Drug Benefit formulary. In 2014, the average senior household was paying $500 out-of-pocket for prescription drugs each year.

Other expenses that are not fully covered, if at all, by OHIP include:

  • Transportation
  • Assistive devices
  • Medical supplies
  • Accessibility modifications
  • Physiotherapy

With costs increasing and private and public resources being steadily reduced, planning for your senior care has never been more crucial.

A Home Care Agency vs. LHIN Home Care

A common misconception is that home health care services are covered by our government. The reality is that only very basic home care services are covered and may only be partially covered, if at all, depending on your circumstances.

Home care services are a necessity, not a luxury, and worth planning for.

Professional home care services offer more flexibility than the home care provided by LHIN (Local Health Integration Network). You and your family can chose as much or as little help as you need and make changes as needed along the way when you enlist the services of a home care agency. We also encourage you to choose your caregiver. Having the same caregiver allows you to build trust and develop a genuine friendship with your caregiver, making for a more pleasant experience all around. Also, the consistency makes it easier for your caregiver to provide you with exactly the care you need. There is no guarantee that you will get the same PSW every visit when LHIN is coordinating your care and the services covered are minimal and often limited to very basic home health care even if you require more. For many, getting the absolute minimum elderly care needed requires dealing not only with LHIN, but other community services and organizations.

The home care services we offer include many of the tasks that are not offered by LHIN, including:

  • Transportation
  • Escorting to appointments
  • Shopping and other errands
  • Light housekeeping
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • RN supervised care
  • Joyful companionship

It’s important to plan ahead and do your homework about the many unexpected costs that many seniors face.

We’re here to help.

David Porter, CPCA


Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care

Five Star Caregivers – How We Honour Our Great Caregivers

Congratulations Five Star and Service Award Winners!

It takes a special person to become a caregiver. Each day in the life of a home care provider is different and some days are especially challenging. At Living Assistance Services, we understand and appreciate what our employees do not only for the company, but for those who they care for. This is why every year at this time we celebrate our Five Star Caregivers with a luncheon and a gift for their outstanding service.

What Makes a Five Star Caregiver

The criteria used for selecting our Five Star Caregivers are:

  • Punctuality
  • Flexibility
  • A good work ethic
  • Praise and good feedback from clients
  • No complaints

These are valuable assets in an employee that are appreciated and expected by us and those who enlist our home care services. Monitoring performance throughout the year and encouraging open communication with both our employees and clients ensures great service and satisfaction to employees and clients alike.

Along with providing excellent service and being model employees, our Five Star Caregivers also possess qualities that go beyond a checklist: they’re wonderful human beings with a genuine heart and deep understanding of the various needs of those they care for. Most importantly, our caregivers possess intangible traits such as loving what they do and having a kind and caring personality.

A home care provider deals with different personalities that are affected by various circumstances and challenges that can change from day to day. As a good home care aid, they understand that those receiving home health care may feel vulnerable or scared and are able to show compassion and kindness particularly when things get challenging. They’re patient and professional, and able to handle even the most difficult situations while remaining calm, which often provides the comfort and reassurance that the care recipient needs.

Our Five Star Caregivers have a natural knack for understanding those they care for and their individual needs and capabilities. They’re respectful and mindful of the need for independence and encourage it, while still providing the support that the person receiving home care requires and allowing them the dignity they deserve.

We encourage those who enlist our home care services to choose their caregiver so that you can be sure that their personality is a good fit. This makes for a great experience all around; ensuring happy clients and employees. A win-win!

David Porter, CPCA


Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care

Grey Divorce and the Value of Home Care for Divorced Seniors

There’s been an increase in the number of “silver separations” and “grey divorces” in Canada. These are terms coined by the media for divorce after the age of 55, which has been on a steady upswing in Canada over the past decade. A 2011 report by Statistics Canada showed that 266,080 Canadians between the ages of 55-59 were divorced and not in a common-law relationship. It’s a pretty safe bet that the numbers are even higher now.

Divorcing later in life is challenging for parents and their grown children. Along with dealing with the sadness that follows the end of a relationship, there’s the reality of facing the golden years alone.

The Challenges of Grey Divorce

When you spend a good part of your adult life as one half of a couple, it can be difficult to adjust to life on your own. It’s not just about getting used to a quiet household and not having your partner to lean on, but for many it’s about handling responsibilities of daily life that you’ve never had to. Think of a woman who was used to the role of the traditional wife who did all the cooking and cleaning and the man who handled all the finances and other “husbandly duties”. It’s not an easy position to be in, especially later in life when you may also be dealing with other issues related to aging and illness.

The Value of Home Care for Divorced Seniors

Home care services can help make the transition from married to single life easier for a senior. While still allowing you to maintain your independence, an in-home senior care provider can provide as much or as little help as you need. Home care services can be catered to meet your needs and fit your budget, whether you need help with something as simple as meal preparation or require more advanced home care because of mobility or health issues.

Some of the home care services offered that can be beneficial to a divorced senior include:

  • Light housekeeping, such as washing dishes, vacuuming, and changing sheets
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Errands, such as shopping and accompanying you to appointments
  • Help with correspondence

Home care providers can also help with personal care, such as bathing, dressing, and hygiene.

The Importance of Companionship

It’s not easy to go from having a constant companion to being on your own. This can be even harder later in life when your children and grandchildren are busy with their own lives and getting together with friends isn’t as easy as it once was. Seniors who live alone face a higher risk of isolation and loneliness, and the fear of being alone is a source of stress for many.

The importance of companionship cannot be stressed enough and this is another service that a home care agency can provide. Home care providers don’t just help with chores and the tasks of daily living, but they can also provide joyful companionship and drop in as little or as often as you like. This can mean stopping in for some conversation over a cup of tea or going for a walk or to the movies. Many who enlist the services of a home care provider go on to develop a strong bond with their caregiver that is often compared to that of a surrogate son or daughter.

Sometimes a friendly face or good chat really can make all the difference.

David Porter, CPCA

Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care


Article Resources:
Marital Status: Overview, 2011. Statistics Canada.