The Future of Retirement in Canada

Retirement is evolving and how retirement in Canada looks has changed drastically in the past few years. This is mainly because people are living longer – a whopping 28 years past retirement for most.

Living longer and remaining active for longer than ever before also means people are living at home longer and well past retirement. That’s just fine with most Canadian seniors based on a number of surveys that found that the majority of Canadian seniors prefer to remain at home for as long as possible.

Aging in place isn’t just the preference, but also the answer given the changing needs of seniors and retirement plans that don’t afford most the ability to pay for quality long-term care facilities. And even those that can afford assisted living facilities don’t feel they can justify the cost of these facilities when they’re still reasonably active and don’t require ‘round-the-clock care.

To make this work, people are thinking outside the box and utilizing in-home care services and some other creative arrangements to make aging in the comfort of home possible.

Multigenerational Housing

Multigenerational housing isn’t a new idea. Adult children taking in and looking after their aging parents is fairly common and in some cultures it’s expected. What has changed is that it’s no longer just seniors who are unable to live on their own that move in with their children. Many active and independent retirees choose this alternative because it’s more affordable than a mortgage or rent, or the high cost of a retirement community. This frees up funds that can be used to supplement the cost of in-home care services to take some of the burden off of adult children who are also juggling work and kids.

Student renters from other parts of the country/overseas

Many seniors are renting rooms to students from out of town or even the country.  This mutually beneficial arrangement is appealing to students who are offered low rent in exchange for help with chores like minor home maintenance and repairs and taking out the garbage.

Not only can this provide extra income during retirement, it also makes in-home care services more affordable because chores can split between the student and a professional caregiver.

Young Professional Renters

Many young professionals find themselves having to move to a new city or town for jobs and unable to afford the high cost of rentals—if they can even find one. With so many empty nesters having empty rooms collecting dust, renting to a young professional offers mutual benefits. It provides the an affordable housing solution that helps a young person get on their feet while providing a senior with supplementary income that can contribute to in-home care services when the need arises.

Senior roommates

The Golden Girls were onto something! Taking in other seniors as roommates is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to retirement homes and helping seniors age more comfortably. Seniors who live together can share the cost of hiring a caregiver to assist with the tasks of daily living, basic housekeeping, and other in-home care services.

For those who want to age in place, these alternatives make retirement affordable so you can continue to live on your terms. These options are also wonderful ways to stave-off senior loneliness and remain social, which can help keep you healthier and happier, according to various studies.

David Porter, CPCA

Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care

Don’t Let Caring for an Aging Parent Destroy Your Family Relationships

When the time comes to make plans for the care of an aging parent, children focus on figuring out what the parent needs and how to help them, but few think about how important the care plan will be for family relationships.

Looking after an aging parent puts a lot of strain on family relationships, especially sibling relationships. And yes, it even happens to close-knit families that have always gotten along.

It sounds easy enough to divide up the responsibilities associated with elderly care amongst family members, but the reality is that even if all the siblings want to be involved, it may not be possible. Work, distance, and their own children to look after can make it harder for one sibling than another. What often ends up happening is that the sibling who lives closer or is seemingly less busy is often expected to shoulder more of the responsibility. As practical a solution as this may seem, it’s not necessarily fair and will ultimately cause resentment.

How to Avoid Straining Family Relationships When it comes to Elderly Care

It’s a proven fact that one family member often ends up taking on most of a parent’s elderly care responsibilities. Most often this falls on the daughter, whether she has chosen to take on the primary caregiver role or not. Caregiver burden has been linked to burnout, which has a very serious impact on the caregiver’s mental and physical health.

When it comes time to plan for senior home care for an elderly parent, keep the following in mind to help avoid resentment and sibling rivalry:

  • Having a flexible job or childcare commitments doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is able to take on more of the elderly care duties.
  • Living closer may make it easier for one sibling to take on more of the care, but that isn’t necessarily fair and shouldn’t just be assumed or expected.
  • Caring for an aging loved one can take a toll and that toll worsens as the parent’s health declines. Be there for each other as much as possible and especially for the sibling who is shouldering most of the burden.
  • Communication is everything. Talk openly and honestly with each other about what elderly care responsibilities are needed and how the needs will be met.
  • Professional home care assistance can help take some of the burden off of siblings and make it easier to divide the responsibilities in a way that is fair and realistic. A professional senior care provider can take on duties that children are often not comfortable with, such as personal hygiene, or home care medical duties, such as administering medications and injections.

It won’t always be easy or even peaceful, but elderly care for your parent doesn’t need to cause strain if you work together with your siblings. The goal is to do your best to ensure your parents get the care they deserve and need.

Be respectful of your parent’s wishes and each other, and be realistic about what elderly care entails. Take on what you can and consider professional senior home care services from an agency like Living Assistance Services, to help balance the responsibilities. Avoiding having one sibling take on the majority of the burden can make all the difference and help you avoid damaging your family relationships.

David Porter, CPCA

Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care