How Caring for Your Elderly Parent Is Affecting Your Job

News articles and statistics on caregiving and employment often focus on the losses suffered by companies when adult children take time off to care for their elderly loved ones. But what about the impact that caregiving has on the employee who’s trying to take care of work and their aging parent?

The Impact of Caregiving on Your Employment

It’s long been known that people who care for an aging parent deal with increased stress and can suffer from caregiver burnout. Poor sleep, anxiety, and less “me” time to pursue personal interests are just some of the issues that caregivers face. For working Canadians, the demands of caregiving are even worse and have a domino effect on the workplace. The result is more time off work and reduced productivity.

A recent Ryerson University study focused on the impact that caring for an aging parent has on workers. It looked at two groups of people in a caregiver role – those with senior care responsibilities and those in the sandwich generation who are juggling both childcare and senior care responsibilities.  The results of the study were somewhat surprising. The group with only senior care demands was more overwhelmed that the group juggling both. They reported more difficulty with work-life balance and were more negatively impacted overall.

Work and Caring for Your Aging Loved One

If you have children, chances are you’ve had to skip out of work early or take time off to look after your child, be it for an illness or injury, or a medical appointment. If you don’t have children, you’ve likely had a co-worker miss time for these same reasons. Most employers are understanding of parents and their childcare responsibilities. Many companies even offer assistance for parents, such as onsite daycare or paid family responsibility days. Unfortunately, people who don’t have kids often don’t get the same compassion or support when the needs of their aging loved one interferes with work.

The hope is that employers will use the information from this and other studies when considering benefits for employees in a family caregiver role. A better understanding of the profound impact that looking after an aging parent has on an employee and how it can affect their job may help foster a more family-friendly culture that offers the same consideration and assistance to those in a senior care role.

What to Do In The Meantime

While some employers are supportive of those with familial responsibilities outside of just childcare, we still have a long way to go. Where does that leave you if you have a job and an older parent in need of care? Fortunately, you have options.

Here are some ideas to make work-life balance easier so that adult children and their aging loved one gets the care they need:

  • Speak to your employer about your situation so they are aware of your caregiving obligations; being honest may help reduce job-related anxieties.
  • Look into any support that your employer may offer, such as flexible work arrangements, employee assistance programs, etc.
  • Share the responsibilities with other family members and friends – you don’t need to do it alone.
  • Find a caregiver support group online or in your area.
  • Take care of yourself – it’s critical to balancing your work and caregiving demands.
  • Hire a home care agency – home care services can be adjusted to fit your needs whether that’s occasional respite care, so you get a break or ongoing home care services.

David Porter, CPCA
Director

Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care

 

 

Article Resources
Halinski M, Duxbury L, Higgins C. (2018). Working While Caring for Mom, Dad, and Junior Too: Exploring the Impact of Employees’ Caregiving Situation on Demands, Control, and Perceived Stress. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0192513X18777839
Government of Canada. (2016). Balancing work and caregiving responsibilities, tips for employed caregivers of family or friends. https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/seniors/forum/tips-caregivers.html#h2.5

Getting Around – One of the Biggest Challenges for Canadian Seniors

Of all the senior issues that make the news, there’s one big one that gets little attention. We’re talking about transportation.

This Non-Issue is Actually a Big Issue

When thinking about senior care, the focus is often on making sure seniors have a comfortable place to live, food on the table, and the medical care they need. Transportation is often considered a secondary issue, but not having access to transportation can prevent a senior from getting even the most basic care.

Not having easy and affordable access to transportation can:

  • prevent a senior from attending crucial medical appointments for chronic illness or after being discharged from a hospital
  • lead to isolation and loneliness (statistics show that seniors who don’t drive are considerably less likely to participate in social activities)
  • place added stress on seniors who may already be dealing with other issues, such as poverty and loneliness
  • make it difficult to get groceries, contributing to poor nutrition and health

This isn’t only a problem for seniors, but all Canadians and our healthcare system. Inability to get to an appointment is one the most common reasons given for medical appointment no-shows. Not only does the senior miss out on being seen by the doctor, but when they don’t show up, another patient suffers if sufficient time isn’t given to fill the open slot. In Canada, the patient no-show rate is estimated to be between 10 and 30 percent.

Limited Options

Chronic health issues, loss of driver’s license, and neighborhoods with limited access to public transportation are just some of the things preventing seniors from getting around. Cost is also a factor for many seniors.

While some Canadian cities are looking for better options geared at seniors, the problem is far from resolved. In the United States, ride-hailing services, such as Uber and Lyft are contracting with healthcare agencies and insurance companies to set up patients with rides. Slowly, but surely, similar partnerships are being considered here. Unfortunately, many older adults shy away from using ride-hailing services because they don’t know how to use the digital interface to order a ride, be it on their smartphone or computer. Also, because you’re required to enter payment information into the app, fear of senior scams and data breaches are other reasons seniors don’t take advantage of this option.

So What Are Seniors to Do?

The inability to get around is often the driving force behind seniors having to move into assisted living facilities. With the majority of Canadians preferring to age in place, finding alternative transportation is crucial.

Here are some alternative transportation options for seniors:

  • Ride-hailing services – These provide an alternative to taxis and are sometimes the only option for getting around, depending where you live. You don’t need to be a computer wiz to use technology like your smartphone or or computer to order a ride, but basic skills are needed. Many senior centers offer workshops geared at teaching seniors the basics – helpful not just for transportation, but also for access to medical records and other services.
  • Volunteer driving programs – Some communities have organizations that provide driving services for seniors. Some are free, while others charge a fee. You can find information about these services in your area by dialing 211 from any phone in Ontario or visiting 211ontario.ca.
  • Public transit – If you live in a city, chances are you have a public transit system. The majority of municipal transit systems offer discounted rates for seniors. Information about fares and schedules are available online, by phone, or at your local bus or train station.
  • Para-transit – This is a shared ride, door to door service for people unable to use regular public transit because of a physical or functional disability. Para-transit programs vary depending where you live. In some communities, service is provided directly by the municipality or their transit commission, in others it’s contracted out.
  • Community shuttles – Some hospitals, medical centers, and community centers offer shuttle services for patients and seniors. Speak to staff at your healthcare facility or community center to find out what transportation assistance is available.
  • Senior care companions – Transportation and escort services are part of the home care services that we offer. The service can be catered to meet your individual needs. For instance, if you require more assistance than just a pick up or drop-off, our caregiver companions can help. This includes help preparing for an appointment, accompanying you to your visit, and even taking notes at important medical appointments for you and your family. Our caregiver can be there to help before, during, and after your appointment or outing, no matter how long that may take. If you or your loved one also requires help getting dressed for appointments and settled back in after, we can help with that, too.

Canada has a long way to go when it comes to ensuring that seniors have access to reliable and affordable transportation. We hope that this information makes getting around a little easier in the meantime.

David Porter, CPCA
Director

Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care

 

 

 

Article Resources
Access to Travel. Government of Canada. (2013). https://www.accesstotravel.gc.ca/1.aspx?lang=en
Profile of seniors’ transportation habits. Statistics Canada. (2015). https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-008-x/2012001/article/11619-eng.htm
The use of transportation by seniors in Canada. Statistics Canada. (2015). https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/16-002-x/2010004/part-partie3-eng.htm
Seniors Get Around. Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility. (2019). https://www.ontario.ca/page/seniors-get-around
The Para-Transit Programs. Ontario Human Rights Commission. http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/whether-para-transit-services-provided-public-transit-services-cities-toronto-hamilton-london-and/para-transit-programs

Aging in Place: Things to Consider

Aging in place seems easy enough, in theory, but there’s more to it than just living in your home for the rest of your life.

Aging brings inevitable changes – some more challenging than others. More seniors want to stay at home and understandably so. Along with remaining in the comfort and familiarity of home, you also save a considerable amount of money each year.

Ponder this;

There are a few issues to consider when making the decision to age in place rather than moving to a senior care home:

  • If aging in place is your goal, you’ll need to consider your finances and the costs associated with remaining at home versus your income. If your only income will be coming from CPP, keeping up with home-related costs like mortgage payments, property taxes, and maintenance may not be easy. Will you be able to keep up and have money to cover any unexpected costs, like a leaky roof or broken water heater?
  • Getting around. Not all seniors are able or even want to drive for the rest of their lives. When the time comes to stop driving, you lose a lot of your independence. Consider how you will get around. Do you live near public transportation or have the budget to pay for taxis or car services? Do you have a strong support network close by in your family and friends who can get you where you need to go?
  • Your social network. Speaking of family and friends, socializing is one of the most important things to consider if you prefer to age at home. Socializing is pretty much built-in to daily life in most assisted living communities; there’s always someone there. Senior isolation is major issue in Canada and the rest of the world. Feelings of loneliness and the risk of depression, a worsening of physical and mental health, and even early death are known risks of senior isolation.
  • Your health. Even if you’re fit as a fiddle now, your future health needs to be considered if you want to remain in your home as you age. Consider any existing medical conditions and how they will change and affect you as you get older. Are your doctors close by and easy to get to? Is there a hospital nearby? Speak to your doctor about how your health is likely to change and any measures you can take now to keep you healthy enough to age in place.
  • Your home. Your home may work for you now, but will it be practical for you when you’re older? You need to consider the safety of your home and decide if it’s going to work for you in the future. Does your home have a lot of stairs? Do you have a shower that’s easy to get in and out of safely? Is your floor level and free of tripping hazards? Will you be able to access your laundry easily?

Things to Do to Prepare for Aging in Place

Along with the factors to consider that we just covered, here are some other things that you can do to help you prepare for aging in place:

  • Talk to your family. Talk to your adult children or other close family members about your plans to age in place. If possible, do it when you’re all together. This can help avoid confusion or tension should things change quickly, such as in the case of a crisis. The earlier you can discuss your plans and wishes with your loved ones, the better. Be frank about your wants and expectations, your finances, and other details that factor into your future. If you don’t have children or other family, consider a trusted friend or advisor, such as an attorney, who can help put your plans in place.
  • Prepare your home. Seniors and concerned family members often make the hasty decision to move to another home or an assisted living facility when health or mobility changes. An elderly care specialist or occupational therapist may be able to conduct a home safety inspection and make suggestions that can help you age in place safely. A few minor tweaks may be all that’s needed to make your home work for you, such as installing railings or a stair lift. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of having the right tools to assist with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as grabbers or adaptive clothing and shoes. If significant changes are needed, the sooner you know, the better you can prepare.
  • Learn about in-home care options. May people are surprised to learn that home care services aren’t limited to advanced home care assistance for seniors who are very ill or bedridden. The services offered by home care agencies cater to different needs and budgets. A professional caregiver can provide as much or as little assistance as you need with ADLs, such as meals, personal care, and housekeeping. They can also provide transportation to and from appointments or social activities and provide companionship to those who don’t have family or friends nearby to help prevent isolation.

With some advance consideration and planning, aging in place is possible even when life throws a few curveballs along the way.

David Porter, CPCA
Director

Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care

Going south? Check out changes to OHIP for travellers

Contributed by Shehnaz Hussain, Intuitive Financial Solutions

Summer is over, and mature travellers are planning their winter getaways.  A recent Conference Board of Canada report reveals that although travel tends to decline with age, now Canadians over 74 are healthier, wealthier and more mobile than ever and this will continue to positively influence travel in the future.

Understand the ins and outs of your provincial health plan and travel insurance

Note: As of January 2020, Ontario’s Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) will no longer provide any coverage if a traveller gets sick or injured outside of their home province.

Make sure you know how long you can travel outside of your home province

Travellers can only leave their home provinces for a certain number of days per year and still maintain provincial health benefits—this varies by province.

Currently, residents of Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, BC, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland/Labrador can travel out of province up to 212 days. Residents of all other provinces and territories max out at 182 days.

If you stay out of province beyond the specified time period, you may have to deal with a waiting period to re-establish residency and get your benefits back.

Ensure you get the best travel insurance for your trip

The Conference Board report also states that in 2018, the volume of leisure trips to overseas destinations increased for the 5th year in a row, while travel to the US remained modest. As well, mature travellers taking more trips has created more opportunities for multi-generational travel and promoted a shift in the number of Canadians taking multiple trips in a year.

If you are skipping the US on your next trip, know that you can get Excluding USA Emergency Medical travel insurance. It’s less expensive than policies that include travel to the US.

If you are taking more than one trip in a year, a Multi Trip Annual Emergency Medical plan may be the most economical option. To save even more, you can buy a Multi Trip plan for the shortest trip in the year and add an extension if you take a longer trip.

Source: Conference Board of Canada, Outbound Canada, Travel Outlook: Caribbean & Mexico 2019-2023.  Share these articles to help your customers understand the importance of travel insurance.

  • Travel Outside Canada: How Provincial Health Plans Cover You Abroad
  • The Benefits of Multi Trip Annual Travel Insurance
  • Travel Medical Insurance for Seniors

Are Mobility Devices Covered? You Have Options

Mobility devices are crucial in helping seniors maintain their independence and they make it possible for a caregiver to assist them to move around in their homes. Without access to mobility devices, elderly persons risk a complete lack of independence and often, isolation which has been proven to significantly impact mental and physical well being, and mortality.

Seniors with mobility issues have special needs, and agencies like Living Assistance Services, provide caregivers who are knowledgeable in their use.

These devices can be costly, but fortunately, government-funded programs and private insurance can help cover most or all of the cost of devices.

The Assistive Devices Program (ADP)

Subject to a required application for a funding assessment that must be completed by an Authorized Registered Occupational Therapist (ADP), Ontario residents with a valid health card and a disability that requires the use of a mobility aid for six months or longer can get help paying for mobility devices. Upon approval of the application for funding by ADP, the program covers 75 percent of the cost of the device, so you only pay 25 percent.

If you receive financial support from Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), ADP will cover 100 percent of the cost.

Devices that are covered by the program include:

  • manual and power wheelchairs
  • power scooters
  • wheeled walkers
  • power add-on devices that can be added to an existing manual wheelchair
  • positioning devices, such as head and back supports, cushions, etc.
  • forearm-crutches
  • replacements if your device is worn-out, your needs have changed, or you no longer fit

You can find out how to apply at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/mobility-aids

Private Insurance Plans

Some seniors opt to supplement their OHIP coverage with private insurance. While plans and health insurance providers vary in what is covered and how much of the cost is covered, many do offer partial coverage for the cost of mobility aids.

Check your insurance policy or contact your provider to find out which devices are covered by your plan.

If You Can’t Afford to Cover Your Share of the Cost

If you’re not able to afford to pay your portion of the cost for a mobility device, there are a number of volunteer and non-profit organizations in Ontario that may be able to help with financial assistance or by providing a mobility device free of charge. Some of these include:

  • March of Dimes Canada
  • Lions Clubs
  • Rotary Clubs
  • Royal Canadian Legion

David Porter, CPCA
Director

Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care






Article Resources:
Assistive Devices Program – Mobility Aids. https://www.ontario.ca/page/mobility-aids
Seniors and Aging – Assistive Devices. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/healthy-living/your-health/lifestyles/seniors-aging-assistive-devices.html

Sleep and Aging – Improving Sleep Quality in Older Adults

You would think that not needing to get up at the crack of dawn or lose sleep over work stress would be one of the biggest perks of being a senior. Unfortunately, poor sleep and sleep disorders are common in older adults.

Numerous studies have found that sleep patterns change as we age. Sleep becomes fragmented and many older adults find themselves up too early even though they feel tired. Certain medications, chronic pain, medical conditions, and mental health issues, such as depression, contribute to poor sleep. A person’s lifestyle and sleep environment can also make a good night’s sleep hard to come by.

Not getting enough sleep doesn’t just make you feel lousy, but it’s also been shown to have a negative impact on health. It can trigger or worsen feelings of sadness and anxiety, lead to cognitive decline, and increase the risk of serious medical conditions and early death. Fortunately, there are things that can be done to improve sleep quality and help you or your aging loved one wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Proven Ways to Improve Sleep without Pills

Before turning to sleeping pills, which have side effects, increase the risk of falls, and don’t address the cause of poor sleep, consider medication-free remedies for better sleep.

There are all kinds of natural remedies and lifestyle changes that have been proven to improve sleep, such as exercise and warm baths.

While our caregivers are able to provide home health care services when needed, they provide non-medical home care, too. This includes helping with all of these proven sleep remedies and other activities known to improve sleep.

How In-Home Care Can Help a Senior Get their ZZZs

Establishing a regular sleep schedule is an important part of sleep health. Part of that involves keeping active and resisting the urge to spend time in bed or sleeping during the day. For a senior who spends most of their time alone, this can be easier said than done.  A caregiver can help with this and more, including helping seniors:

  • stay active by accompanying them on walks or to other physical activities such as fitness classes
  • remain social and engage with others by escorting them on visits with friends or to social outings, or by offering regular companionship, such as playing games or going to a movie
  • ensure healthy meals are prepared and eaten 2 or 3 hours before bedtime so as not to interfere with sleep
  • help create a sleep-friendly environment, such as making sure bedding is clean, elevating your feet, blinds are drawn, and the room temperature is comfortable for sleep
  • assist with a soothing bedtime routine, such as a warm bath or a sponge bath or reading
  • get out in the sunlight, which helps with melatonin production and improves mood and the sleep-wake cycle
  • watching for side effects of medication that may be interfering with sleep

If you’re a senior who’s having trouble getting a good night’s rest or have noticed aging parent or loved one puttering about in the wee hours of the morning, an in-home caregiver may be able to help.

David Porter, CPCA
Director

Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care






Article Resources
Jean-Philippe Chaput, Suzy L. Wong, Isabelle Michaud. Duration and quality of sleep among Canadians aged 18 to 79. Statistics Canada. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-003-x/2017009/article/54857-eng.htm
Suzuki, Keisuke et al. “Sleep disorders in the elderly: Diagnosis and management.” Journal of general and family medicine, vol. 18,2 61-71. 30 Mar. 2017. https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jgf2.27
Jonathan Desaulniers, Sophie Desjardins, Sylvie Lapierre, and Alain Desgagné, “Sleep Environment and Insomnia in Elderly Persons Living at Home,Journal of Aging Research, vol. 2018, Article ID 8053696, 7 pages, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/8053696.

If a Telemarketing Scammer Calls, Will Dad Know What To Do?

According to the Government of Canada, fraud is the number one crime against older Canadians. Seniors are targeted because they’re often home during the day, tend to be more trusting, and often don’t have friends or family nearby who they can go to for advice when someone calls or comes to the door.

Even though telemarketing and other types of scams make the news daily, many seniors still don’t know what to do if a scammer calls or turns up at their door. One of our clients experienced this very thing recently. Thanks to the quick thinking and actions of their caregiver, the scam failed, saving our client a very large amount of money that would otherwise have been lost.

Peace of mind when you hire an in-home care provider

A professional in-home care provider wears many hats, including driver, housekeeper, cook, and trusted companion. You can add gatekeeper to the list and no one gets past the gatekeeper!

Our client’s experience showed us once again how valuable in-home care services can be for seniors who want to remain in the comfort of home and maintain their independence. Even the savviest of people can fall prey to a con artist.

An in-home caregiver is there to assist with the practicalities, such as activities of daily living, home healthcare, and more. What many don’t realize is that a professional caregiver is always on the alert when it comes to protecting their client. They are trained to spot changes in behavior and anything out of the ordinary in order to be able to act quickly in the best interest of their client.

Hiring in-home care services doesn’t just take some of the caregiving responsibilities off the family’s plate, but also provides peace of mind. Your loved one has someone there to look after them when you’re not able to. Our client and their family are grateful for the quick thinking of the caregiver and so are we.

Tips to help prevent senior fraud

Having someone check-in regularly, such as a family member or elderly care provider can help a senior avoid being scammed. Here are a few other tips that can help:

  • Never give out your credit card, bank account, or any other personal information to someone over the phone, the internet, or at your door unless you are sure you know the person or organization you’re dealing with.
  • Never tell anyone your PIN or account passwords.
  • Ask for input or advice from a family member before making a purchase or ordering anything.
  • Be suspicious if anyone you don’t know asks you to send them money, even if they insist it’s an emergency or their story seems plausible.

Many seniors don’t report fraud due to embarrassment, but all fraud should be reported even if the amount of money is small. Report fraud to your local police department or call PhoneBusters at 1-888-495-8501.

David Porter, CPCA
Director

Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care




Article Resources:
What every older Canadian should know about: Fraud and scams. Government Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/seniors/forum/fraud-scams.html

Social activities for widowers

When a man loses his life partner, adult children often think first about tending to the basic needs, like making sure dad is eating and taking his medication. While these things are important, of course, social and mental wellbeing is also important. As a matter of fact, studies have confirmed that social wellbeing plays an important role in a senior’s physical and mental health.

A man’s social health often suffers after the loss of a partner. He doesn’t just lose a loved one, but also the person with whom he shared meals and conversations and went places with. Sadness and a loss of motivation to get out and socialize are common immediately after losing someone. But often, isolation also sets in, especially when the deceased person was the one who took the lead organizing gatherings social activities.

Home care helped my friend Michael cope after the loss of his partner. Home care services don’t just include helping with the practicalities of daily life. Some services offered by a home care agency can also have a positive impact on a senior’s social and mental wellbeing.

Home care, transportation, and companionship – how it helps

It’s not easy and often not possible to be there for loved ones like Michael when he’s feeling sad, lonely or in need a boost in spirit. Hiring a professional caregiver can help. Along with the vast array of home care services related to the activities of daily living, in-home care services also include joyful companionship and transportation and escorting to activities and appointments.

Our professional caregivers can help clients just like Michael cope with the loss of a life partner by giving them someone to:

  • drive them to social events, such as church or get-togethers with friends or family
  • accompany them on errands such as shopping or medical appointments
  • play games with, go for a walk, or attend a sporting event or movie with
  • prepare and share a meal with

Some fun social activities to consider

Here are some engaging social activities that can help a senior widower cope after their loss:

  • Volunteering. There is evidence that volunteering helps seniors maintain social contacts and stay active and connected to their communities. Volunteering also promotes a sense of self-worth and keeps them stimulated. All these benefits are good for their emotional and physical wellbeing.
  • Walking. Walking helps seniors maintain their independence and health. You can find a walking group in just about every neighbourhood, including mall walking groups. Walking alone, with friend or caregiver, or in a group is a wonderful way to stay fit, enjoy nature, and relieve stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • Arts and crafts. You don’t need to be Picasso to enjoy painting or creating art. Seniors centers and community centers offer classes for all levels in painting, drawing, and sculpting. You can also find local groups for scrapbooking, photography, and more. It’s not just fun; art therapy is used to improve quality of life and stimulate the brain in people with dementia.
  • Sporting events. If health permits, joining a senior sports league is an exciting way to meet others and stay fit. If you’re more of a spectator, attending sporting events is just as much fun. To keep costs down, skip major sporting events and instead head to the local ballpark or arena to cheer on your local junior hockey, lacrosse, or baseball team.

If you or a loved one is looking for help after the loss of a life partner and would like to learn more about our home care services, give us a call. We’re here to help.

David Porter, CPCA
Director

Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care

Article Resources:
Volunteering and Older Adults.  Volunteer Canada. https://volunteer.ca/vdemo/EngagingVolunteers_DOCS/Volunteering_and_Older_Adults_Final_Report_2013.pdf

A Case Study for Long-Term Care Insurance

Contributed by Shehnaz Hussain, Intuitive Financial Solutions

Looking at Senior’s as well as Caregiver’s perspective

A parent has fallen, and daughter gets a call and she lives in another province.
A possible situation that can affect any of us at some point.

Let’s look at some realities

Mother fell. Had hip surgery, was in rehab and got discharged.

The good news:

  • Mother has great long-term care insurance, so family don’t have to worry about where the money will come from for home care especially on days when CCAC is not able to cover the care. Family can start with around-the-clock care and could cut back to one 8-hour shift a day. Mother still a high fall risk.
  • Mother and daughter have a close relationship and rarely disagree.

The bad news: 

  • The dynamics of dealing with mother with the new circumstances.

Mother was moved to the nursing home at 9 p.m. Daughter arrived shortly after to find mom upset about the fact that she was sharing a room, since she had been expecting a private room.

She was told she would be getting a semi-private room for rehab. Blamed daughter for not taking care of her as the daughter had not gotten a private room.

The next morning, mother informed daughter that they had awoken her in the middle of the night because the roommate had died. Guilt for daughter. Relationship dynamics changed.

When mom returned home and family started discussing home health care details — such as when to reduce the caregiver hours from 24 to 8 — it was soon clear mom and daughter disagreed. Daughter wanted more; mom wanted less. Managing mother became more stressful than managing her care.

Caregiving is challenging

Often seniors feel, “I don’t need this, because my family will take care of me” — a reality check is needed. Yes, family is there. But do you want your kids to take you to the bathroom, help you shower, and give up their careers to become a full-time caregiver?

One of the best things about having long-term care insurance policies is that the family gets the ability to supervise the care rather than provide it hands-on.

Many family caregivers are trying to work at the same time. That’s tough — caregiving takes time.

Being a caregiver can affect one’s health. A recent study showed that among working women 50 and older, 20% of caregivers reported fair or poor health, more than double the number of non-caregivers,

The continuum of care

Stand-alone long-term care insurance is not nursing home insurance. It is nursing home avoidance insurance. Most of the care is being received at home, and virtually everybody wants to stay at home.

You have a very good chance of being able to get care at home. And with a long-term care plan in place, you have the dollars coming in to maintain control.

Navigating the system

This is tough. Knowing a lot about long-term care one assumes it would be smooth sailing. Wrong!

Mom was going to need home health care when she came home. What would happen after daughter goes back?

Many things need to be considered…A care coordinator, appointments and transportation, in home care costs…all of these can be covered with the long-term care plans. Some practical realities that we sometimes think are easier to manage than they really are.

Long-term care insurance is a friend of the family and can help keep relationships and finances intact. Seriously consider looking at getting some care insurance and keep the peace.

It’s Never Too Late to Try New Things

A video of a 102-year old grandmother skydiving has been making its way around social media. While jumping out of a plane is not everyone’s idea of a good time, her story is a great reminder that it’s never too late to try something new.

With the warm weather finally here, what better time to get outside for a little adventure. And by adventure we mean any new experience – no freefalling from a plane needed.

Getting out with help

Not every senior has the mobility to just up and leave the house on a whim. Physical limitations, living away from family and other challenges can make it difficult to get out and about. Even a senior who isn’t receiving home health care for medical needs can enlist the help of a home care provider to help with outings and transportation. A caregiver can help get you to and from where you need to go and escort you to social outings and events or help you get out for some fun and new adventures.

Some activities to try this spring and summer

Ontario is full of beautiful parks to explore and sights to see with something for everyone. There’s also no shortage of activities for seniors looking to try something new and meet new people, regardless of their age or mobility.

Here are 3 activities to get you outdoors this spring and summer:

Lawn bowling – A favorite with old and young; lawn bowling is a low-impact activity that allows you to enjoy the outdoors and meet new people. Lawn bowling clubs are located across the province, with one in just about every city or town. You can find lawn bowls near you by visiting the Ontario Lawn Bowls Association site at: https://www.olba.ca/club-locater.html

Pickleball – This is a net and ball game that’s similar to tennis, but played on a smaller court and at a slower pace. It has become very popular with the aging community in recent years. Pickleball Ontario has locations across the province and is also affiliated with the Ontario Senior Games Association (OSGA) who hosts tournaments. To find a place to play pickleball in Ontario, visit: http://pickleballontario.org/places-to-play/#/Action/Alpha/listingType/O/cid/1291/id/301/value/All

Pole walking – Also called Nordic walking, pole walking is a great activity for seniors, including those who may be a little unsteady on their feet. You walk at your own pace with specially designed poles that help you use your entire body. It’s a wonderful way to get out and enjoy nature and explore new places on your own or with others. You can search pole walking groups in your area on the Nordixx website at: https://www.nordixx.com/pole-walking-group/

This list barely scratches the surface of the many activities that seniors of all ages, fitness, and skill levels can get out and enjoy. Some other ideas: tai chi, yoga, dancing, nature walking/hiking… the list is endless!

David Porter, CPCA
Director

Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care