Assisted Living for the Elderly

For many of us, if we live long enough, there comes a time when we need some kind of ‘assisted living’ accommodation and care. While there are a variety of services available for seniors, there are many people who do not know exactly what our frail and infirm elderly loved ones can expect with regard to ‘assisted living’ options.

We need to become more knowledgeable about available long-term care facilities and services in the private and non-profit sectors. We need to know what options may be available to us. We need to acquire as much information on ‘assisted living’ options, be they short or long-term care, so that we can make informed choices about the kind of long-term care we would like for ourselves and also for elderly members of our family. We also need to consider the affordability of the choice we make.  This has particular relevance for those seniors who will have to survive on a modest pension income.

While seniors in higher income brackets can afford private care, seniors surviving on modest pension incomes can only afford services  offered by non-profit facilities and home care. Within recent years there have ongoing concerns expressed in the media about the quality of services at non-profit facilities and also the long waiting lists.

Given the fact that both the seniors demographic and life expectancy have been steadily increasing, we cannot ignore how this will impact long-term care. According to Statistics Canada’s publication A Portrait of Seniors in Canada, “the number of seniors in Canada is projected to increase from 4.2 million to 9.8 million between 2005 and 2036, and seniors’ share of the population is expected to almost double, increasing from 13.2% to 24.5%”.   Will there be sustainable government programs and adequate social services in place to deal with those of modest incomes in this expanding demographic?

Comprehensive information on Long-Term Facilities-Based Care  is available from Health Canada.  It  is specific to “people who require on-site delivery of 24 hour, 7 days a week supervised care, including professional health services, personal care and services such as meals, laundry and housekeeping.”  Information on government programs that is specific to a provincial or territorial jurisdiction can be obtained at the appropriate provincial or territorial Ministry of Health since the facilities and services offer will differ. Those of us who are close to that ageing demographic and who have health issues need to take time to educate ourselves about how to live that stage of life in reasonable comfort.

The challenge of educating ourselves is brought to the forefront by Patty Randall of Long Term Care Canada.  Based on her own experience with her elderly parents she has provided guidance and tips on managing the challenges associated with ageing. She is “out to educate Canadian boomers and young-seniors on the urgent need to plan for their care-years…while there is still time.” The advice from this advocate is sensible given the continued uncertainty of the world economic situation and the changing demographics. Even though many in the boomer cohort have maintained good health and should enjoy unprecedented longevity there is a need for proper planning if they are to live that vulnerable period of life in comfort and dignity.

We all have to accept that changing statistics will not only impact long-term care facilities and various social services but will place pressures on family members caring for elderly family members. Many family members who are caregivers make sacrifices to take care of the needs of their loved ones.  Whether we like to admit it or not most of the elderly population will develop health problems that will probably preclude an independent lifestyle. Most of us have come to accept that the ongoing unstable economic climate will impact our lifestyle irrespective of our age group.

Despite the current economic challenges we must not neglect this vulnerable segment of our society.  The elderly in our midst who have contributed much to the growth of our society should not be cast aside with indifference. If we don’t have an adequate long-term care system in place to meet the needs of our expanding elderly population then we have to ask just what kind of a society do we want if we cannot meet the basic needs of the frail and vulnerable.  The lesson here for all of us  is that while there is still time we all need to make viable plans for that vulnerable stage of life.

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About Golden Wave Movement Canada

The Golden Wave Movement is a made up of engaged individuals who have serious concerns about the increasing challenges retirees surviving on modest pension incomes face nowadays. While our main purpose is to raise awareness of the financial difficulties faced by this vulnerable group of citizens, we also intend to raise awareness regarding challenges related to their physical, emotional and psychological well-being.
This entry was posted in Baby boomers, Canada Health Care, Caregivers, Elder Care, Elder population, Elders, Golden wave, Long Term Care, Quality of life, Seniors demographic, Seniors' health, Statistics Canada and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Assisted Living for the Elderly

  1. Nicole says:

    1) What we need is for all provincial and territorial jurisdictions to be creative in finding a solution to this issue. Didn’t governments find a creative way to ease the financial catastrophe the world faced? Yes… bailouts!
    2) I can see there will be a greater emphasis on health insurance to cover these costs. Seniors and families of ailing seniors will have to consider purchasing insurance, which by the way, is very costly if purchased in the later stage of life. There has been quite a surge in ads for seniors’ health care insurance that I can only assume has been spurred by the reference to expanding seniors population. This will obviously be a bonanza for insurance companies …they will realize even greater profits. Must not forget we are living in a capitalist society!Nicole

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  2. Sonia says:

    We opted for home care instead of institutional care when my mum became terminally ill. We were not too confident she would be cared for properly and she was very much against going to an institution. We wanted the best for mum. We certainly couldn’t afford the private facilities and thenon-profits had very long waiting lists. The non-profits did not have a good reputation as many people had complaints about the service. It was such a tough time for all of us especially for me and my sister but we did the best we could to mum’s last days as comfortable as possible. We had to help dad almost every day as he couldn’t cope with seeing my mother vegetate. Fortunately a good caregiver visited several times a week but the bulk of work was left to me and my sister. We did check out some of the non-profits and seeing those sick elderly people lying alone was distressing. There is a need to keep all the options for health care so that no matter who you are you can receive help. My concern is that there should be better regulation of those non-profits and do something about improving their services. Not all the frail and sick elderly have relatives who have the time or resources to care for them.

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  3. AR says:

    You didn’t address the problem of ‘elder abuse’. I am talking about ‘elder abuse’ carried out against a sick aged parent who probably has some financial assets. It might not be very common but it does happen as some children are just waiting to see what they will get after their elderly parent passes. Some children can’t be bothered to participate too much in the lives with their ageing parents or relatives and leave that task entirely to caregivers or institutions.

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  4. LJR says:

    My question is …. will there be a sufficient number of non-profit facilities and well-trained caregivers to cope with the increased number of seniors who need care? The boomers or zoomers will have the money to pay for their care in private facilities. The rest of us will have to either make do with the substandard care at the non-profits, or deal with the pressure of caring for our elderly parents ourselves or hopefully find a good caregiver to help us out at home. More funding should be provided for non-profit facilities. Is this the price to pay for living too long?

    PS. The rapidly growing population of seniors will be a solid voting block who are more educated than any other generation of seniors. Politicians should be paying more attention to the needs of this group… photo ops at election time don’t cut it anymore.

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  5. Gerald says:

    Some time ago the National Union of Public and General Employees raised the issue of neglect and inadequate nursing home care for our elderly population. They were very critical of the funding cuts. Check this link

    http://www.nupge.ca/presidentscommentary/n05fe08e.htm

    I couldn’t believe that the annual cost for care in a private facility ranged from $40,000 to $70,000. Seems I will have to be nicer to my kids and bribe them about what is in my will for them so they will take better care of me when that time comes! Not a nice thought! LOL!

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