Home Care Analysis – Facts and Figures (Stats Can – Edited)

In recent decades Senior Canadians have been vectoring away from institution care and embracing home care or ‘aging in place’ regardless of age or ability.

‘Home’ has become the most desirable place for elder care simply because seniors are generally resistant to change, want to maintain their independence and prefer to reside in more familiar surroundings.

Many senior people rely on elderly care from their families or agencies such as Living Assistance Services. Typically, an agency such as Living Assistance Services will provide a home care worker such as a Personal Support Worker to assist with the activities of daily living. These assisted living activities include personal care assistance with bathing, dressing, hygiene and laundry, light housekeeping, joyful companionship, escorting to appointments and shopping, meal planning and preparation and medication supervision.

Statistics Canada has completed a survey and report to assist with understanding Canadians who rely on home care. A synopsis of their findings for your information provided herewith;

Living Assistance Services Home Care Facts and Stats

Notes:

  • 2 million Canadians, or 8% of the population aged 15 years and older, received some form of home care help to cope with a long‑term health condition, disability or aging needs.
  • Seniors were the most common group of home care recipients.
  • Aging needs, rather than mental illness, were the most prevalent reason among senior care receivers.
  • Nearly 9 in 10 Canadians receiving home care at home relied on home care help from family and friends, with about half of these also getting help from professionals.
  • Help with medical care was the most frequently reported professional service.
  • The hours of care were highest for Canadians with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
  • Three‑quarters of care recipients indicated that they received emotional support from family and friends. Emotional support was significantly lower for those relying exclusively on home care professional help, with 54% reporting no emotional support from family and friends.
  • Most care recipients (82%) were satisfied with the balance of help from family, friends and professionals. Those who were dissatisfied generally wanted more professional help.

Just over 2 million Canadians received care in 2012
8% of Canadians aged 15 years and older received some form of home care. This translates to 2.2 million Canadians.
As with previous findings, care recipients were most commonly in their later years. One‑quarter (27%) were in their mid‑70s or older, with just less than half of this group aged 85 years or above.

Most care receivers are women
The majority (56%) of care recipients were women, partly reflecting their longer life.

Mental illness was the single most common reason for care
Mental health issues were the single most common, with one in seven Canadians (14%) reporting receiving care as a result of depression, schizophrenia, or other mental illness. Other common reasons for care included accident‑related injuries (10%), aging needs (9%), cardio‑vascular disease (9%), arthritis (8%), and cancer (8%).

Men and women report similar conditions as reasons for home care
Men and women had similar reasons for receiving care.
A few gender differences were evident, yet women were more likely than men to be receiving elder care for aging needs and arthritis, both related to the greater share of women as seniors. Other gender differences in reasons for care may be explained by differences in risk of health conditions. For instance, fibromyalgia, a condition typically affecting women, was almost exclusively a reason for home care among women, while cardiovascular disease was a more common reason for home care among men.

Four in ten home care recipients report their health condition as severe
Canadians receiving home care for a long‑term health condition.
Reporting severe conditions was higher for certain health conditions, including fibromyalgia (67%), back problems (61%), arthritis (48%) and cancer (48%).

Family and friends most common source of home care support
Most times, care receivers relied on the help of family and friends (88%), though half of these care receivers also received professional Services such as Living Assistance Services (12%) and relied on this type of professional services alone.

Professional home care help more common for fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s disease and mental illness
The use of professional services, such as Living Assistance Services, (paid workers or organizations), are influenced by an array of factors, such as need, availability of family and friend supports, cost and financial assistance.
Professional services were generally more common for care recipients with certain health conditions. Care receivers with fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and mental illness were most likely to have used professional home care services, while those with back problems were the least likely to have done so.

There was no difference in the use of home care professional services depending on the severity of the health condition. That is, care recipients with a severe or mild condition were equally as likely to receive professional help (61% versus 58%).

Types of care from family and friends differ from professional services
The types of help received from professional services were more often medical in nature. Half (49%) of those receiving professional help had help changing bandages, measuring blood pressure, performing heart monitor tests, or other medical tests or treatments. Professional help for indoor domestic tasks, such as meal preparation and laundry, was second at 30%, followed by receiving help with personal care, such as bathing, dressing or hair care (22%).

Care receivers typically receive help with many different types of activities
Receiving home care often involved help with more than one type of activity. Typically, Canadians receiving home health care help from family and friends had assistance with a median of three different activities, such as a combination of help with transportation, indoor domestic tasks, home maintenance and personal care.
Professional home care services provided help with fewer activities. Care recipients typically had help with a median of two activities from elder care professionals.

Care recipients with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia received the most hours of elderly care

Most elderly care receivers have been receiving help for over a year

Emotional support not as common for those relying solely on professional home care
Over half (54%) said that they did not receive any emotional support from family and friends in the last 12 months. Just over one‑quarter (28%) reporting that their professional caregivers were a source of emotional support.

Most care receivers reported enough elderly care assistance, but not always from the source of their choice
Regardless of the source of care, most care receivers (84%) felt that they received the elderly care help they needed. At times, however, home care recipients expressed a desire for another source of care. 20% of those exclusively receiving care from family and friends would have rather had professional home care help.
Although the overall satisfaction with the balance of help from family, friends and professionals care was high (82%), care recipients who were dissatisfied stated that they would have preferred more professional home care assistance. In particular, 79% of dissatisfied care recipients said they needed more professional help.
Among those who did not request any help, 39% said that they could have received some type of home care help if they had asked. Another 33% felt that help was unlikely and 28% were unsure.

Conclusion
Receiving home care was a reality for 2.2 million Canadians or 8% of the Canadian population aged 15 years and over. Senior care receivers represented the largest segment of home care recipients.
In most cases, care receivers relied on the help of family and friends, though they often combined this care with help from home care professionals.
A need for greater home care professional services was mentioned for those who were dissatisfied with the balance of help from family, friends and professionals.

 

Information published by Stats Can (2012)
Edited by David Porter, CPCA

 Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care

Nutrition and Older Adults

Good nutrition is a significant key to living a healthy life and this is even more important for older adults.

We should encourage our loved ones to make healthier choices.  This is not easy as older adults have a tendency to be set in their ways and resist change.  Offer your loved ones a variety of foods from each of the four food groups – fruits and vegetables, grains, dairy or alternatives and meat or alternatives.  Try replacing one food at a time so as not to overwhelm them.

Whole grain bread, for example, is a better choice than white bread.

The food we eat should provide nourishment and sustenance and not just empty calories.

“An apple a day will keep the doctor away” is a well-known expression but clearly it has not been demonstrated to be true. Fruits and vegetables in combination with a balance diet have been proven to be beneficial to good overall health.  Canada’s Food Guide recommends a minimum of 7 servings per day for adults 51 years of age and over.  Small portions left in containers in the refrigerator are more likely to be consumed frequently during the day.

Salt is an essential part of a balanced diet in modest amounts. However, in larger quantities, it is associated with a host of health challenges for older adults. The Heart and Stroke Foundation has indicated that 80% of the salt we consume comes from processed or fast foods. The good news is that reducing salt intake can lower your blood pressure and the risk of diseases.  Your loved ones would benefit from home cooked meals that can be frozen and stored for easy access when required.

Drink water!  The importance of staying hydrated is often preached by doctors and other health experts.

This is particularly important for seniors who are more prone to de-hydration than younger Canadians.

Aging affects the thirst mechanism in the body and several hours may pass before feeling the need to hydrate.  Once symptoms such as dizziness or light-headedness are experienced, one is already severely dehydrated. Loved ones should be encouraged to keep a bottle nearby which can be re-filled as soon as it becomes empty.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol.  They have been determined to increase blood pressure, heart rate and in some cases, cause heart palpitations and an irregular heartbeat. Caffeine can also result in headaches, jitteriness, agitation, stomach problems and abnormal breathing. In combination with a large meal just before bed-time, these stimulants cause restlessness and poor sleep.

Try to encourage your loved ones to eat a well-balanced diet. You can call Living Assistance Services at 416-483-0070 or ask your doctor about the benefits of good nutrition for older adults.

 

Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care

Resources for Dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease

Dementia and Alzheimer’s is something that affects many Canadian families. According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, over 72% of those affected are women. The disease is very hard on family members, many of whom are tasked with caring for their parents (or other relatives) as the disease progresses. Continue reading Resources for Dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease

Retirement Homes

A recent article stated – “Home Care is a cheaper option than moving into a retirement home, especially when only a small number of hours a week is required.  When an elderly care recipient requires 7/24 coverage the costs of home care could exceed that of a retirement home.”

While this statement is generally true, one must be careful when assessing elderly care options and the ancillary costs to ensure you have all the facts to realize the broader picture. In most retirement homes, monthly rent is frequently not as all-inclusive as one may think. Many care homes charge extra for the services which will likely be required, such as continence care, assistance with dressing, personal hygiene, bathing, and dispensing medication. Such was the case when one of our elderly care client family members recently contacted us to lament the fact that the nursing home staff was charging them an incremental hourly rate (rounded to nearest 15 minutes) of $75.00 for a Registered Nurse to dispense medication. Her mother required a single pill four times daily! Many care homes have 24/7 care staff available at a high hourly rate, but they do not match the level of personal attention a home care agency Personal Support Worker (PSW) can provide with one-on-one elderly care assistance.

Individuals and families obviously do not wish to spend any more money than required, but even more dislike not receiving value for their money, or as our client said, being “nickeled and dimed”. Families often find that they can spend a bundle at a retirement home and still be disappointed with the level of care received.

Deciding upon home care versus a Retirement Home or Assisted Living Facility goes well beyond just the difference in costs. However, ultimately, families want what’s best for their parents. They want them to receive the services they need to maintain normal life as much as possible, and we want them to be happy and comfortable where they live. A one-on-one personal relationship with a home care qualified PSW who attends when needed can provide a higher level of service than most retirement homes. In survey after survey more than 80% of seniors report that they want to live where they want to be…at home! Why? Because their home is familiar, they know where everything is, they have a social network in place, friends and family can easily come and go, and they don’t like change as they understand that moving and selling a home is extremely disruptive.

The cost of home care is always important but only part of the equation when considering options for loved ones. Quality of life together with value for money should be an integral part of the conversation.

 

Written by Robert Lee, Director of Living Assistance Services Ottawa

Be Brave – Ask for Help

It is encouraging that so many of us choose our careers because we love to help others. Many individuals, particularly in times of need, love to help others. It’s very noble to assist those in need, yet, conversely, most people dislike asking for assistance and often decline it when offered. For some strange reason, asking for help is perceived as a sign of weakness and no one wants to appear weak. But we have discovered that it takes strength and courage seek out home care assistance. Think of persons with addictions, who after years of denial finally admit they need some rehabilitation and start the long arduous process of recovery. It takes real courage.

We are often asked what the biggest challenge in the field of home care is, and it’s not the elderly care itself or our competitors or Assisted Living Facilities. Our biggest challenge is convincing those who need home care assistance to accept the help that is available. Our Care Recipients are primarily seniors, but our clients (the people that hire us) are invariably their children who, in some cases, have been begging their parents for years to accept home care help.  Seniors themselves almost never contact us.

Survey after survey indicate that the majority of seniors wish to stay in their home as long as possible and we also know they want to maintain their independence as long as possible. In most cases, providing them with some home care greatly assists them in achieving this goal.

Falls and physical injuries are the number one reason for senior hospitalizations and admittance to long term care. Having elderly care help in the house can vastly reduce the risks as well as add years to a loved ones independence.

So stop being stubborn. Instead Be Brave and ask for help!

 

Written by Robert Lee, Director of Living Assistance Services Ottawa

How to Stay Young

The “fountain of youth” is more and more in demand as baby boomers come of age. Aging is an inevitable part of life, but poor health is not an inevitable consequence of aging. Good genes help, but research indicates that it is more about how we live that makes the difference. Studies have shown that those with an optimistic outlook on life actually live longer, healthier lives. So are you ready for a long life?

What can you do to stay young?

Attitude is extremely important. When we act old, we become old. We here at Living Assistance Services Senior Home Care, truly believe laughter is the best medicine. We have a tradition of telling a joke at the beginning of each of our weekly home care staff meetings. Laughing together means communicating together – it’s a medium we can all relate to. A sense of humour doesn’t have to fade with age. As Mark Twain once wrote, “Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.”

So get busy laughing; laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

Let us know your comments. What do you do to stay young?

 

Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care