Don’t parent your parents … We can help!

If you feel guilty even admitting to yourself that you feel “forced” to visit and stay with your aging parents, I assure you that you’re not alone.

It’s a natural part of the evolving shift that takes place as we get old and our parents get older. You’re in a place where you no longer depend on your parents and have your own life and responsibilities, and now the burden of their needs is starting to take a toll. Throw in some good ol’ fashioned parent guilt (we’ve all been there!), and these visits can really put a strain on your relationship.

Are you exhausted because their needs are becoming too much for you and your parents to manage? Are you resentful of the expectations they’re placing on you? Invite us to have “the talk” with your parents about home care.

We can provide the benefits of having a couple of wonderful caregivers supervised by a full-time Registered Nurse (RN) to look after them.

Home care services help them… and you

Our caregivers are available to provide non-medical assistance (for example, light housekeeping, shopping, meal prep, and transportation to appointments), or companionship (playing cards and games, sharing a meal, going to the movies), as well as more involved care, such as bathing and hygiene, wound care, and medication reminders.

Our services are a flexible, cost-effective solution that can help your parents live healthier and happier, while also providing social support to help combat loneliness. For your convenience we are open 24/7 every day of the year.

Knowing that your parents are being looked after by caring and qualified professionals provides peace of mind and a sense of relief for adult children and other family members who want the best for them.

Best of all, by taking some – or all – of the caregiving duties off your plate; your time with your parents is focused on enjoying each other’s company without the added tension, resentment, or guilt that often accompanies being a family caregiver.

If you’re ready for help, our RN can review and assess your parents’ health and caregiving needs at no cost to you.

Give us a call at 1.855.483.CARE (2273) or send us an email to info@LAServices.ca.

Five Stars to our frontline Caregivers

At Living Assistance Services, we understand and appreciate what our caregivers do to assist families during this pandemic. They have stepped up to take on every challenge that has come their way over the last 6 months.

Choose Your Caregiver

We provide families with an opportunity to choose a caregiver who best fits with their loved ones.

Our employees are selected based on the following criteria:

  • Punctuality
  • Flexibility
  • A good work ethic
  • Positive feedback from previous clients

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 our employees and clients help us ensure great service and happy long-term employees and clients alike.

Our caregivers are wonderful human beings with genuine hearts and deep understanding of the various needs of those they care for.  Professional caregivers such as the ones employed by an agency like Living Assistance Services are uniquely suited to care for those who are vulnerable and in need of assistance.

Physical and cognitive challenges do not ruffle the calm demeanour of our professionals.  In fact, just the opposite.  They remain calm under pressure and ensure their work and diligence results in the best outcomes for our clients.  To them this work is a labour of love.

We encourage families to look take a closer look at keeping their loved ones at home which is the safest place they want to be.  The decision to hire a home care agency which provides care in the comfort of their own homes is a win-win!

Celebrating Seniors’ Month-Marking Milestones

June is Seniors’ month in Ontario. This year’s theme is stay safe, stay in touch.

Celebrations aren’t the same at this time when social gatherings are not possible. There are ways to mark special occasions that comply with COVID-19 restrictions and one of them is the presentation of a special gift to mark a significant birthday or wedding anniversary. You can request a congratulatory message if you or a senior in your life is marking a milestone occasion.

Get information about requesting a message from:

Her Majesty The Queen  – for Canadians celebrating birthdays of 100 years or more and for couples celebrating wedding anniversaries of 60 years or more (at five-year intervals)

To request a message, follow the link below and submit your details

https://www.gg.ca/en/contact-us/birthday-anniversary-greetings/request-form

the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario – for Ontarians celebrating birthdays of 90 years or more and for couples celebrating wedding anniversaries of 50 years or more.

To request a message, follow the link below and submit your details

https://greetings.lgontario.ca/GreetingRequest.aspx

the Prime Minister of Canada – for Canadians celebrating birthdays of 65 years or more (at five-year intervals) and for couples celebrating wedding anniversaries of 25 years of more (at five-year intervals).

To request a message, follow the link below and submit your details

https://pm.gc.ca/en/connect/greetings

the Premier of Ontario – for Ontarians celebrating birthdays of 80 years or more and for couples celebrating anniversaries of 40 years or more.

To request a message, follow the link below and submit your details

https://correspondence.premier.gov.on.ca/en/certificates/certorder.aspx?msg=sessiontimeout

 Source: https://www.ontario.ca/page/celebrating-seniors-ontario

The Caledon Enterprise, June 11, 2020

Talking about Future Finances Can Help Your Parents Age in Place Safely

June is Seniors’ Month in Ontario and this year’s theme is stay safe, stay in touch.

In keeping with this theme, we wanted to address a difficult, but important topic: Talking to your aging parents about their future finances because the decisions you help them make today will help ensure they can remain safer at home.

Money makes people funny, they say, and talking about money is right up there with talking about death when it comes to difficult conversations. As hard as the conversation can be, however, having it is crucial.

When’s the best time to have “the talk” with your parent?

If you’ve found your way here, then now is likely the right time as most people find our services when elderly care is already on their radar.

Most experts agree that it’s never too soon to have important talks about the future. Ideally, conversations around your parents’ future should happen while they’re still healthy and relatively young. And if possible, do it before retirement they can plan their retirement savings accordingly.

Have they chosen their Power of Attorney?

Asking your parents if they have decided on a Power of Attorney is a great way to start the conversation.

A Power of Attorney – POA for short – is a legal document that assigns a person of your choosing the right to make decisions on your behalf. There are different kinds of POAs and when talking to your aging parents, the two types that you’ll want to discuss are:

  • A Continuing Power of Attorney for Property (CPOA)covers your parents’ financial affairs. The person they assign – whether you, a sibling, or other family member – is able to make decisions on their behalf. This includes the decision to hire and pay for a home care agency to help them at home.
  • A Power of Attorney for Personal Care (POAPC) covers your parents’ personal decisions, such as housing, and health care, including in-home health care services.

What types of home care services do they want/need?

The types of home care assistance your parent(s) want and need should also be discussed when talking about their future finances.

With the state of long-term care facilities in Canada at the moment, more families are looking to in-home care as a safer alternative. Research shows that aging in place is also what most Canadian seniors prefer.

To help with planning and ensure that your parents’ are financially able to get the help they need when the time comes, knowing what types of services are available is important. This is also important if you and/or your siblings will be pitching in to help with the costs of in-home care.

Something else to keep in mind when it comes to in-home care services is that prices and services vary between agencies. At Living Assistance Services, for instance, the cost of our services land somewhere in the mid-range compared to other agencies.

Reputation and credentials are also important considerations to keep in mind. Watch out for prices that look too good to be true as they usually are! Choosing an agency with excellent referrals and whose staff are properly trained and insured is a must.

You can find more information on choosing a home care provider such as Living Assistance Services.

What does in-home care typically involve for seniors?

Everyone’s situation is different, which is why there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to caregiving. That said, unless your parent is living with a medical condition that requires extra care, there are some services that they’re more likely to need.

To help you and your parents plan for the future, these are examples of services commonly required by elderly care recipients:

  • Escorting to appointments, grocery shopping, and errands for a minimum 4 hours per day, often twice per week.
  • Light housekeeping, dog walking, laundry, meal preparation, and companionship for 6-8 hours per day, often twice per week.
  • Personal care (bathing, dressing, feeding, and toileting) is required 24/7, 365 days per year for those that need it.

A full list of our home care services can be found at https://www.laservices.ca

Don’t wait till emergency strikes to initiate these conversations. Talking to your parents about their financial future is the best way to help them have the future they want and deserve.

Article sources

  • Powers of Attorney Questions and Answers. Ministry of Attorney General. (2016). https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/family/pgt/livingwillqa.pdf

Safer Alternative to Long-Term Care Homes

The coronavirus pandemic has brought to light the realities of long-term care (LTC) facilities in Canada.

The companies that own many of these facilities, that we trust to provide care to our most vulnerable, are being called out, deservedly or not, for making millions of dollars in profits while allowing residents to live in deplorable conditions.

Cockroach infestations, rotting food, and patients spending endless hours in soiled beds are just some of the things reported by military personnel called in by our government to assist in these homes. They alleged that shocking conditions and practices within these facilities has allowed Covid-19 to spread like wildfire, resulting in over 1,600 resident deaths in Ontario homes alone.

Issues in long-term care are not new

It was recently announced that Ontario’s ombudsman is launching an investigation into the province’s oversight of LTC homes during the pandemic, Unfortunately, the state of long-term care has been an oversight since well before the pandemic or the scathing report by the military.

It’s long been know that many of these homes are underfunded and understaffed and their workers underpaid and overworked. Again, this while many companies that own them continue to reap significant profits.

Scrambling to find alternatives

The horrific reports have the government rethinking senior housing and long-term care in Canada, while families are scrambling to find safer alternatives for their aging loved ones. It’s long been known that older persons are more likely to thrive when able to remain in the comfort and familiarity of home. And now, more than ever, finding ways to keep seniors in their own homes or with their families is more important than ever.

Using in-home care to age in place

Statistics clearly demonstrate that the vast majority of Canadian seniors would prefer to live at home. In-home care can help them do just that. Along with the mental and physical health benefits of aging in the comfort of home, living at home significantly minimizes the risk of contracting infections and illnesses from others because it limits exposure to others – something that is demonstrably problematic in long-term care facilities and retirement homes.

An in-home senior care provider can assist with all the tasks of daily living as well as advanced home health care for those living with illnesses. Our services can be adjusted as needs change, providing as much – or as little – help as the care recipient requires.

In-home care services help you care for your elderly parents in your home

Moving in with their adult children or grandchildren is another option.

In-home care can also help in these situations by allowing you to share caregiving duties, which can sometimes be hard to juggle with work, child care, and other responsibilities.

Our caregivers are available to provide personal care and help with errands, shopping, and escorting your elderly parent to medical appointments.

For those able to care for an aging loved one full-time, we also provide respite care so that you can take a break from caregiving.

In-home care can help keep you or your aging loved one remain safe and healthy.

Even in a perfect world without PPE shortages and poor practices, outbreaks in long-term care homes and retirement homes happen throughout the year. Age and other underlying medical conditions lead to a weakened immune system, making residents especially vulnerable. Living in close quarters and coming into contact with other residents, staff, and visitors further increases the risk.

If you are considering alternative senior care and would like more information about our services, contact us any time. We’re her for you, 24x7x367.

Article sources

  • Ontario Ombudsman to Investigate Government’s Oversight of Long-term Care Homes During Pandemic. https://www.ombudsman.on.ca/resources/news/press-releases/2020/ontario-ombudsman-to-investigate-government%E2%80%99s-oversight-of-long-term-care-homes-during-pandemic
  • Respiratory Outbreaks in Long-Term Care Facilities and Retirement Homes. https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/professionals-and-partners/long-term-care-respiratory-outbreaks.aspx
  • Companies Managing Troubled Ontario Long-term Care Homes Run Dozens More, Make Millions in Profits. Ryan Tumilty. https://nationalpost.com/news/companies-managing-troubled-ontario-long-term-care-homes-run-dozens-more-make-millions-in-profits

Do you know the procedures for caring for someone with an infectious illness such as COVID-19? We do!

Older adults have a significantly higher risk of complications from infectious diseases, such as Covid-19, including death.

As adult children or grandchildren, we want to do our best to protect and care for our elderly loved ones. When it comes to infectious diseases, however, their needs are likely to be beyond the scope of a family caregiver. They require the knowledge of a trained home health care provider.

Providing your elderly loved one with the best in-home care

Seniors require additional measures of care and protection when it comes to infectious diseases, such as Covid-19. This is the case even if their symptoms are mild and they have been advised by their doctor to treat at home rather than going to the hospital.

Providing this care presents family caregivers with certain hazards, such as getting infected themselves or passing the infection to someone else in the family, such as a spouse or child. It’s near impossible to practice physical distancing or isolating when you are the primary caregiver!

In circumstances like these, professional home health care is often the best way to go for all involved.

How professional in-home care helps seniors with Covid-19

Our caregivers and nurses are trained to care for those with infectious diseases, as well as additional challenges that can arise if your loved one is also living with other conditions, such as dementia.

As skilled health care professionals, our staff has been trained in identifying and practicing droplet and contact precautions in various situations. They are also equipped with the right personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to protect themselves and others in the household.

Their training and experience also enables them to recognize any signs of decline in the care recipient’s condition, which can be difficult to catch by an untrained eye. Take respiratory symptoms for example, which can be masked or exacerbated by co-occurring conditions, such as COPD.

Our caregivers are also able to help your loved one maintain a clean environment and proper personal hygiene, which is key when it comes to infectious diseases. They can also ensure that your loved one gets the nutrition and medication they need to help fight the infection and reduce the risk of complications.

Other ways our caregivers can help

We’re here for you with caregivers who are able to provide not only RN-supervised home health care, but also other tasks that can help make life easier for seniors when illness strikes.

Some of the other senior care services we provide include:

  • Contactless shopping and drop-off for groceries, medications, and supplies
  • Chronic disease care for any coexisting conditions, such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer, etc.
  • Escorting to medical appointments
  • Companionship to help combat loneliness and isolation
  • Supplementary care in hospitals and other care facilities

Article sources

  • Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Government of Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html
  • IPAC Recommendations for Use of Personal Protective Equipment for Care of Individuals with Suspect or Confirmed COVID-19. Public Health Ontario. https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/updated-ipac-measures-covid-19.pdf?la=en

How to Balance Caring for an Elderly Parent While Working From Home during the Coronavirus Pandemic

If you’re one of the 26 percent of Canadians looking after an elderly parent, chances are your days were already complicated before the coronavirus pandemic changed the way we live. These days, managing work and caregiving – and all your other responsibilities – is likely even more complex.

The added stressors to daily life

The pandemic has changed the way we do just about everything, from the way we work to how we grocery shop and clean our homes.

Juggling senior care duties with work can be challenging enough on “normal” days, but how do you manage now when you’re trying to work from home?

Due to physical distancing, many family caregivers aren’t able to get the outside help from other family and friends that they may have relied on before. How do you work efficiently under the same roof with your elderly parent(s) or in-law(s) who require your care and attention? What if you’re also having to homeschool your children at the same time?

Honestly, it’s not going to be easy, but with some careful planning and a little – okay, a lot – of patience, it can be done.

Tips for working from home while providing senior care for a loved one

Here are some things to consider as you try balance working from home while also caring for an elderly parent.

Set aside time each day to talk with your parent

Your parent may not have the stress of work, childcare, and an endless stream of bleak bad news related to Covid-19 and the economy weighing on them, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling the stress.

From picking up on your mood and any tension in the home to worrying about your health and wellbeing – as parents do – your elderly parent is probably feeling stressed, too. This stress can manifest in various ways. Your parent may act sad and withdrawn one moment and agitated and needy the next.

Listen to their concerns, remain calm, and explain what’s going on and what the plan is for the day. Just taking a few minutes to connect with your elderly parent before you start working can help set the tone for the rest of the day.

Create a routine for your parent

Consider their pre-pandemic routine, from what time they were having their meals to what TV shows they watched. Try to recreate that predictable routine for them as much as possible, but tweaking as needed to accommodate your own needs and responsibilities, too.

There are things you can do to make the routine easier for both of you. This will limit the number of times your parent may need to interrupt your work and keep them from worrying about being a burden:

  • Prepare meals for a few days in advance.
  • Set timers on the TV for their shows to come on automatically.
  • Leave water, snacks, the remote control, and other items handy so they have access to them.

Establish boundaries

It’s only natural for your elderly parent to want to spend time with you. They love you, after all! Also, depending on when they retired and their own experiences, the concept of working from home may be something they have trouble grasping. This can make it hard for them to understand why you’re home, yet not able to spend extra time with them.

You’ll need to establish clear boundaries if you want to be productive.

To do this:

  • Let them know that your work responsibilities haven’t changed even though you’re working from home.
  • Explain how you will be doing your job and what’s expected of you to help them understand why you can’t be disturbed unless absolutely necessary.
  • Offer clues that you’re not to be interrupted, such as when your home office door is closed or when you’re on the phone or computer.
  • Go over what warrants an interruption, such as help getting up or going to the bathroom if they have mobility issues.

Consider professional home care services

Physical distancing and self-isolation recommendations prevent you from getting help from other family members who live outside of your household, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone.

Our caregivers are trained in proper sanitizing and germ control procedures and able to provide safe and effective in-home senior care during the coronavirus pandemic.

A caregiver can come into your home to assist your elderly parent with tasks of daily living, such as hygiene and grooming, dressing, and feeding. They’re also able to take on responsibilities, such as meal preparation and light housekeeping, so that you can work uninterrupted.

We’ve also introduced a new service to assist our clients during this challenging time, called STOP, Drop, and Leave. To help you and your aging parent, a caregiver can pick up groceries, prescriptions, and other supplies and then leave them at your door, eliminating the need to go out in public and minimizing the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

RN-supervised home health care is also available for seniors living with chronic illness, including dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

Be honest with your employer and colleagues about your situation

Talking to your employer and colleagues about your child care responsibilities is the norm, but few people discuss elder care responsibilities.

Caring for an elderly loved one is challenging and often unpredictable, especially if your loved one is living with a chronic illness. This can be especially disruptive to your schedule when you’re working from home, making open communication with your employer and coworkers crucial.

Let them know about the challenges you’re facing and how you plan to handle them as they arise. Always take the time to follow up afterwards if something comes up that requires you to step away from your desk or miss a call.

Take care of yourself, too

It’s easy to burn the candle at both ends when you have so much on your plate. Living in uncertain times like these certainly doesn’t help.

Cut yourself some slack and don’t try to do it all alone. Caring for yourself is important and will help you to better care for your loved ones.

Set aside time to unwind even if it means having to enlist respite care for a few hours once a week or hire a caregiver to run errands for your parent to free up some of your time.

These things can help you reduce your stress, avoid caregiver burnout, and improve your productivity.

If you’d like to learn more about our services and how we can help you care for your aging parent during this time, contact us by phone or email anytime.

We’re here for you.

Tel: 1.855.483.CARE (2273)

Email: info@LAServices.ca

Pet Adoptions During This Time: How to find a furry companion while self-isolating

If ever we could use unconditional love, support, and companionship, it’s now and who better to provide it than a pet.

Research has shown time and time again that contact with pets provides numerous benefits for our mental and physical health, including:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Increased happiness
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Decreased feelings of loneliness

For seniors, having a pet has been shown to help older adults cope with isolation. Given the current climate and the recommendation to physical distance and social isolate, there’s no better time to consider adopting a pet.

How to adopt a pet when most of the country is shut down

While there is no better time to share your love with a furry friend, finding a pet to adopt when the country is at a standstill due to the pandemic can make it seem impossible.

Animal shelters, such as local SPCA animal centers are currently closed to the public due to the pandemic, but shelters aren’t the only option for seniors who are looking to adopt a pet.

Many animal rescues are still open to adoptions and have protocols in place to help keep you and their staff safe during this time.

Animal rescues are non-profit organizations run by caring volunteers who take in animals in need and help find them loving forever homes.

Animal rescue groups generally focus on a specific type or breed of companion animals, usually dogs or cats. You can find pets of all ages and breeds in rescues.

An online search or call to a local vet can direct you to pet rescues in your area. On occasion, vet clinics have pets in their care that are in need of a home.

Occasionally, people looking to rehome a pet post on Facebook groups and online classified sites, such as Kijiji.

Things to consider before adopting a pet

Pets make the world a better place. For all that they do for us, they deserve just as much in return. This begins with not taking the decision to adopt lightly and being certain that welcoming a pet into your home is right for you and them.

Here are some things to consider before you adopt a pet:

  • Can you afford it? Along with an adoption fee, which can cost around $250 to $450, there are other expenses to consider. These include food, grooming and/or grooming supplies, and vet bills.
  • Type breed, and age of the pet. The type, breed, and age of a pet will dictate size, energy levels, and exercise needs. It’s important to consider the work involved with the animal before making your choice. The rescuer or a vet can recommend the best options based on your needs and preferences.
  • Your lifestyle. You may be home a lot now, but what about after the pandemic is over and things return to normal? Do you travel a lot? Are you involved in a lot of activities that may make it hard to give a pet the time and attention it needs?
  • Are pets allowed where you live? Many condos and buildings have restrictions when it comes to pets. Some restrict dogs over a certain size or weight, while others don’t allow pets at all. Check with your condo board or landlord before getting a pet.
  • Do you have allergies or an immune condition that could be exacerbated by a pet? Speak to your doctor before getting a pet if you have allergies, a compromised immune system, or any condition that might be negatively affected by a pet.

If you’re ready and able to commit to a pet, be sure to do your due diligence. Get as much information as you can about the organization or person you’re adopting from, as well as about the pet, including its medical history, temperament, and any special needs.

Owning a pet is a forever commitment, so the more prepared you are, the better for you and your future furry companion.

Keeping yourself safe throughout the adoption process

To stay safe from Covid-19, contact with the organization should be mainly conducted virtually; either by phone or internet. When the time comes to meet the pet in person (a MUST to make sure you’re a good fit for each other!), appropriate measures need to be taken so that you can continue to self-isolate.

Be sure to ask the volunteer or rescuer how this can be done. In order to continue your isolation, a family member who lives in your household or a professional in-home care provider can help so that you do not have to come into direct contact with anyone else.

Article sources

Healthy Pets, Healthy People. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/index.html

Helping children cope with stress during the 2019-nCov outbreak

Children may respond to stress in different ways such as being more clingy, anxious, withdrawing, angry or agitated, bedwetting etc.

Respond to you child’s reactions in a supportive way, listen to their concerns and give them extra love and attention.

Children need adults’ love and attention during difficult times. Give them extra time and attention.

Remember to listen to your children, speak kindly and reassure them.

If possible, make opportunities for the child to play and relax.

Try and keep children close to their parents and family and avoid separating children and their caregivers to the extent possible. If separation occurs (e.g. hospitalization) ensure regular contact (e.g. via phone) and re-assurance.

Keep to regular routines and schedules as much as possible, or help create new ones in a new environment, including school/learning as well as time for safely playing and relaxing.

Provide facts about what has happened, explain what is going on now and give them clear information about how to reduce their risk of being infected by the disease in words that they can understand depending on their age.

This also includes providing information about what could happen in a re-assuring way (e.g. a family member and/or the child may start not feeling well and may have to go to the hospital for sometime so doctors can help them feel better).