Ask the Expert

Aging and caregiver bring up a range of concerns that most people have never encountered. Emotional and physical changes in an older person, impacts of caregiving on the caregiver and family dynamics, interacting with public health and long term care systems, looking for resources and housing — all of these often create confusion, anxiety, and stress. SeniorZen eldercare advisor is available to help you understand and deal with the range of concerns that arise as you look for Senior’s Housing and confront other issues in the journey of aging and caregiving.

Frequenlty Asked Questions

Questions on Eldercare

CCAC has recently done an assessment...she's independent, needs no medical care. She's has extremely limited range of motion in her arms and cannot without pain raise her arms even to shoulder height. CCAC has said they cannot help because she's in assisted living but as a tenant she should be term living in her home.

I talked to the Long Term Care Action Line and they said that CCAC will not provide care as your mother is in a LHIN supported residence. If she were in her own home, e.g. not LHIN, then they would. If she needs more help than the LHIN can give her, that may indeed mean that she should be in a nursing home, unless you are able to provide extra help privately. I cannot comment on the problems you mentioned, but I hope she has been seen by a physiotherapist and occupational therapist, who help people with Activities of Daily Living and Mobility issues such as the ones you describe, If not, maybe they could help with her issues.

It sounds like you may be at a painful crossroad in terms of "what next" to help your mother and get her what she needs.

Best wishes, 

Peter S. Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC
Counsellor-Coach Diamond Geriatrics
Elderpost.com
www.Counsellor-Coach.ca
www.DiamondGeriatrics.com
www.Elderpost.com
288 West 8th Ave. Vancouver, BC V5Y 1S6
604-874-7764
778-885-5695 Cell
 

Is there a facility in Vancouver B.C. that is independent living that has meals prepared for a resident that has Celiac Disease?

Hi,

Well, there are places that say they will, but what will happen when you arrive there may not live up to your expectations, from my experience. This is not because they will mislead you, but more because they may not fully understand what the needs are of someone with celiac, or who are gluten sensitive. The best way to figure this out is to to to visit and have a meal, explaining beforehand what the situation is exactly. Then, ask to see the menu cycle - what meals are planned over several weeks for different seasons, and figure out if you will be able to eat from this or what you will be able to modify from it. If you like the facility and are considering moving in, sit down with the chef and go over in depth what you would need. If they have a dietitian consultant,talk to that person also. This may be a situation where it is especially helpful to have a trial run and stay for a week in a guest suite.

Peter S. Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC
Counsellor-Coach
Diamond Geriatrics
Elderpost.com
www.Counsellor-Coach.ca
www.DiamondGeriatrics.com
www.Elderpost.com 2
88 West 8th Ave. Vancouver, BC V5Y 1S6
604-874-7764
778-885-5695 Cell

I'm a new senior. I have no "living" family left and I have balance problems so I fall down a lot! I LIKE living alone but I'm very proud. Am I doomed to spend my last years in a stranger's room??

Not at all! But what you should do is get yourself a monitoring system such as Lifeline that also has an automatic fall alert so that a call will be sent to a central call centre who will make sure you are OK and if not, then will call your emergency contact people.

At the same time, please make sure your house is as safe as possible for someone who falls. Modify sharp edges where possible and keep things off the floor and out of the way of where you might hit your head. If you want to go further you can purchase hip protectors to wear. Also consider equipment that might help you to maintain your balance such as something to pick things up or reach for so that you do not fall. Make sure your furniture is safe to get up from or down onto.

Regards,

Peter S. Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC
Counsellor-Coach
Diamond Geriatrics
Elderpost.com
www.Counsellor-Coach.ca
www.DiamondGeriatrics.com
www.Elderpost.com 2
88 West 8th Ave. Vancouver, BC V5Y 1S6
604-874-7764
778-885-5695 Cell
 

The rules are different in different provinces. For example, in Ontario some home care services are covered by the government. Your can read more about it here.

SeniorsZen.com Support

Most provinces have residency requirements, so you would have to wait a certain period. Depending on the province and the services it can be from three months to a year. They may allow you to apply for an exception.

Peter S. Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC
Diamond Geriatrics
www.DiamondGeriatrics.com
 

As a private operation, the cost of participating is almost doubled the goverment funded programs. What are ways to alleviate that cost burden on Seniors? The government funded places are limited and wait time to be part of day program is too long.

MY guess is that there is not, but I do not know.   The best thing to do is to call the Seniors Services providers in your area.

Peter S. Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC
Diamond Geriatrics
www.DiamondGeriatrics.com

Due to changes in income for our parents - and no longer using these services, it would only be fair and reasonable to renegotiate the fees for services never uesed. What is one's legal position in this? Yes, a contract was signed - but with

Hi,

I don't know what province you are in, so it is hard to say.  and I am not sure which optional amenities you are talking about.  My guess is that when your parents moved in, they signed some sort of contract  outlining fees and their application to  each unit and resident. You could talk to  the provincial ombudsperson or you could see if the residence is a member of any professional  organization and contact the organization.  It sounds like you have talked to the administrator of the building.  If it is owned by a larger company, you could talk to  a regional or national person from the company.  Last of course, you can consult a lawyer, which I am not.  In some provinces  a residence may fall under  strata laws or even landlord tenant.

Regards,

Peter Silin

Would you or someone with your organization be available to speak to the Canadian Bar Association, Calgary Section on Elder Law, for about 40 minutes inclusive of questions, about Seniors housing in Alberta and particularly about legal issues, legislation etc.

Hi,

I would look at the following website:   

http://www.seniors.alberta.ca/about_ministry/legislation

In that, at the bottom there is one link which may be what you want:

http://www.qp.alberta.ca/1266.cfm?page=1985_258.cfm&leg_type...

I would also call your local Health Authority and ask to speak to a licensing department, and see what they can tell you.  

From your question, it sounds like you may have some concerns about care. If you have some complaints, you might also want to contact the Ombudsperson in Alberta:

http://www.ombudsman.ab.ca/

Kind regards,

Peter Silin

Dear Sir,
I am Amin from Nepal.I got Permanent Residence along with my wife Rachana Adhikari Khadka and i would to let you know that we are very soon moving for Vancouver, Canada.My wife is Registered Staff Nurse in my home country Nepal and she has worked here for 4 years in hospital and tutor for caregiver course for 1 year.She has a volunteer experienced in different health related NGO as well.As soon as we arrived vancouver she wants to work as a caregiver.She is young age of 24 yrs, energetic and able to work at any time.I have found your service facility through google website.So, could you please provide to get the good way to find job facility as a caregiver as soon as we contact you after we arrived at vancouver?
If you want her CV then i can send it you.
Hope for your valuable response and suggestion.
With Best Regards,
Amin Khadka

Hi Amin,

Please refer to this section on our website for job inquiries: http://www.seniorszen.com/senior-care-jobs

Regards,
SeniorsZen Support

Well, let me start off by saying that I am  a Geriatric Care Manager, so would be  considered a transition consultant.

It depends what the consultants say they will do,  and whether you can or want to do the work yourself.  Often you can get most of the information that you want, or at least begin to, from the health authority in the area where the person needing help lives.  If they are knowledgeable, they can save you time, and explain how the whole system works. They can help you ask the questions you might need to ask. 

Look at someone's qualifications and background to see if they  would really have an understanding of what the issues involved in transitions are.  Are they professionally qualified and experienced in eldercare?  what kind of experience, for how long, what is their education and training. Transitions are far more than just helping someone choose  a senior's housing.  Will the consultant  help you understand all of those issues--help you broaden your knowledge, help you find resources.

Also, how are they paid, are they getting a fee from the places to which they refer?  I am often offered a fee, and turn it down, or if it is seniors housing, ask them to apply it to a client's rent, so the benefit does not come to me, it comes directly from the client. My feeling is that if someone is getting paid by the housing, then it is hard to be objective.

I charge a direct fee by  the hour. As a Registered Social Worker, my fee is in line with what others with a masters degree charge (actually a bit less).  Sometimes people can write it off through their extended health or even use my services via their Employee Assistance Programme at work if they have one. Look at my website, www.diamondgeriatrics.com for information on transitions and housing and resources.

Regards,

Peter Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC

I am having doubts on the destined living quarters they have determined, she has vastly improved in 3 weeks after collapsing and having memory loss and confusion. Still shows some confusion with numbers but i believe she can function with a live-in or daily care giver. How do i confirm this or make sure i am making the right decision before taking her from her home?

ANSWER: No one can make your mother move to assisted living unless they have the legal authority to do so.  She can make that decision, or her next of kin can make it if she is unable.  You may have to go through the provincial legal channels to get the authority, which might include  going to court.  You could consult an elder law attorney  for more information on this.

I would wonder how they made this decision and diagnosis and what they think after her current improvement. It is possible that she has Alzheimer's as well as another condition which caused the recent decline  and that has resolved so she is doing better.

You can have an occupational therapist and physiotherapist do an assessment of her ADL--Activities of Daily Living, and of her mobility and risks for falls and other problems.    Discuss with them what help your mother would need to live at home.  Most people with the right amount of help are able to  do so, but it live in help can be expensive.    Look at some of the resources on my website, at www.diamondgeriatrics.com for information on caregiving and resources.  You can also contact your local Alzheimer's Society and ask them about  caregiving issues and meeting the challenges of caregiving.  My recent newsletters, including the one to come out tomorrow talk about "The Dementia Road" and what caregivers need to be aware of.

I am available for phone consultations also. My fee is $110.00 per hour.

Kind regards,

Peter

Peter S. Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC
Diamond Geriatrics
Elderpost.com
www.DiamondGeriatrics.com
www.Elderpost.com
288 West 8th Ave.
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1S6
604-874-7764
778-885-5695 Cell

The current programme serves the needs of  the person who needs care very well, however it does not serve the caregivers.  It separates them from their families for long periods of time.  If the person to whom they are providing care dies or goes into care, they can be left without the ability to work legally, as they are on contract for that person only.  The caregivers provide long hours usually above and beyond what they are contracted to do.  I think that there needs to be some kind of government  agency that they can turn to and who monitors their working conditions and how the contract is going.  To know their rights is one thing--to be able to ask that they be honoured is  different, and more difficult.
Best wishes,
Peter Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC

In a word, no, or at least no, if you are in BC.   As a matter of fact, if it is a private facility, they may not pay any of the costs. However, some private facilities have publicly funded beds, to which someone can transfer when one becomes available.  You could ask the facility if they have them.   Check to see what kind of tax breaks you will  have when it comes tax time, as care homes are deductible expenses if  you have filled out the necessary papers.  If you father is a Veteran, there may be some funding available through the Veterans Department.

Regards,

Peter Silin

Different health authorities and provinces have different structures for complaining.  I would start with  the people on the ward such as the Nursing Leader or the Social Worker.  See if there is a specially designated person/office to handle patient care complaints.  Every hospital will be licensed and you can call the licensing people who are responsible for the  hospital. Most provinces also have an Ombudsman who can step in and do an investigation, although it can take a while, depending on their backlog and urgency. You can find them by googling "ombudsman" and your province.  Be clear  and as detailed as you can about the problems, citing examples.  Also be clear about what you expect in terms of care. Understand that there are limits on the care provided these  days--much less physiotherapy, counselling, and other associated health disciplines than there used to be.  If there are specific areas of care you want, perhaps you can hire someone to supplement what it provided. In my area, one of the things I do as act as and  advocate, depending on where you are, there may be people in private practice who can provide the same function.
Best wishes,
Peter Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC

Yes, Peter is an expert on senior care/senior housing in Canada, so feel free to ask a specific question.

The term senior care, similar to seniors housing, covers a broad range. The short answer is  that in the publicly funded system, there are subsidies, but they are generally based on your income.  If you are looking for assisted living, or nursing home care,  the cost will always be below your income, because the costs are determined by income. If you are looking for home support (someone to come to your home  to help out)  this is also based on income. However, if your income is at a certain level, there is often no difference between what you would pay through the publicly funded programmes and  by buying service privately. The advantage of the latter is that there is more flexibility in the tasks the home support worker can do and you are the direct determiner of times and tasks.  Call your local health authority to find have an assessment.   There is also subsidized  supportive housing and low rent  independent housing through the public system, however it is limited. To  find out more about this, go to B.C. Housing, www.bchousing.org. There is a specific page on supportive housing for seniors: at  http://www.bchousing.org/Options/Supportive_Housing/SSH

Peter Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC

Questions on Senior Housing

We lived in a seniors low cost housing complex and relocated and are damage deposit will not be returned, the damage that the maintenance person said we did are not true...what can we do to get this damage deposit back?

Hi,

You do not say which province you are in, but wherever you are there is most likely a residential tenancy department in the provincial government. They can help you with this. There may also be a local legal clinic where you can get some help. You can also try a provincial elder abuse service.

Regards,

Peter S. Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC
Counsellor-Coach
Diamond Geriatrics
Elderpost.com
www.Counsellor-Coach.ca
www.DiamondGeriatrics.com
www.Elderpost.com 2
88 West 8th Ave. Vancouver, BC V5Y 1S6
604-874-7764
778-885-5695 Cell

I have an inheritance coming but it will be less than $100,000. I have found it difficult to stay in rented rooms. I do not have very good social skills although I do have a college education. At 57 years of age, am I too young to apply for assisted living. On $900.00 per month for disability insurance, I cannot find housing that I need. I have applied to BC Housing and presently I am homeless. Would it be a good idea to consider assisted housing or retirement housing?

You would most likely qualify for various seniors housing, as many of them start at 55. You would have to apply directly to many of them as they are not all through BC Housing. Look on www.seniorsservicessociety.ca for some in your area. You might qualify for publicly funded assisted living. I would suggest you talk to an assessor in your Health Authority area and see if they would consider waitlisting you for assisted living, which is according to income.

Peter S. Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC
Counsellor-Coach
Diamond Geriatrics
Elderpost.com
www.Counsellor-Coach.ca
www.DiamondGeriatrics.com
www.Elderpost.com
288 West 8th Ave.
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1S6
604-874-7764
778-885-5695 Cell

I normally charge rent on this suite at $1100 a month. My Sister will pay $400 as this would be what the Government would charge her if she lived in a subsidized suite. Thank you for you time. Lynzie Pilfold

I do not know directly of any programmes that do that, but there are benefits programmes that you might be eligible for. For instance, in some provinces, if an older person pays a certain amount as related to their income, up to a maximum, then they may be eligible for a refund. So for instance, if your sister paid $800.00 per month, and her income were $20,000, then she might be eligible for a grant that would cover some of that. Those numbers are just grabbed out of the air to give you an example. Also, make sure she receives all the benefits she might be entitled to, such as disability tax credits, etc. and that might help you adjust the rate. There is the family caregiver benefit, but that does not seem to fit your situation. My best advice in this situation is always to contact the seniors' information branch/website of your province or your accountant.

Regards,

Peter S. Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC  
Diamond Geriatrics
Elderpost.com
www.DiamondGeriatrics.com
www.Elderpost.com
288 West 8th Ave.
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1S6
604-874-7764
778-885-5695 Cell
 

Interesting idea, but I have not heard about it, and I would doubt. There would be a lot of paperwork involved and also would mean finding a doctor who would be responsible for care in another facility and staff who would have to write up a care plan, etc. However, best thing to do is ask the Social Worker or Administrator. If they do not know, they can refer you to the person who is responsible for their facility at VIHA. You are allowed to take someone out of a facility for a holiday on your own for a holiday. There also may be privately funded places that would agree to take someone for a week or more. I have heard of people taking someone for a holiday to a hotel and hiring their own caregivers for that period, or even going on a cruise.

If you do decide to take your wife out on a holiday, make sure to review all of her care needs and make sure that wherever you are taking her, someone is available to meet her needs.

Regards,

Peter S. Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC
Diamond Geriatrics
Elderpost.com
www.DiamondGeriatrics.com
www.Elderpost.com
288 West 8th Ave.
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1S6
604-874-7764
778-885-5695 Cell

Veterans affairs will sometimes pay for personal care services or practical services. They may pay for partial costs of housing associated with care, but it depends on the individual. Also, there are some British veterans who can access benefits. To find out specifically, you would have to call Veterans Affairs and they would point you in the direction, most likely of a case manager who would authorize services. Veterans will also pay for a physiotherapist or occupational therapist services at times, depending on need and the individual's service. See their website, http://www.veterans.gc.ca/ for information and contact numbers as well as for more information on the services and support they provide.

Regards,

Peter S. Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC
Diamond Geriatrics
www.DiamondGeriatrics.com
288 West 8th Ave. Vancouver, BC V5Y 1S6
604-874-7764
778-885-5695 Cell

I have a student who has been diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum ..while having strong skills in many areas.. his communication and social/independent skills are lacking ... an assisted living or independent living arrangement would appear to be a good option. Other living options are generally made available to those with much lower cognitive abilities.

In at least some provinces, residential facilities are allowed to set a minimum age for admission. Some assisted living, supportive/independent living, and care facilities do specify a minimum age for admission. It can sometimes be as low as 55. They sometimes make exceptions for a younger spouse or other individual circumstances. Admission is oftentimes considered on need rather than age, for instance someone with a disability or early onset Alzheimer’s would fit within the parameters of this housing. Residences in the private sector, where there is no subsidy from the government, are more apt to have a stricter set of admission requirements. They look to make sure that they can handle the needs of someone who is applying and also whether they think there is a good fit with their vision and current population. The public sector generally has a wider latitude who they will accept, e.g. less based firmly on age, and more on need. For restrictions and what is legal in your province, you would have to check with the seniors or housing area.

Peter S. Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC
Diamond Geriatrics
Elderpost.com
www.DiamondGeriatrics.com
www.Elderpost.com
288 West 8th Ave.
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1S6
604-874-7764
778-885-5695 Cell

 

My mother is in an independent living seniors building where they provide 3 meals a day and linen/housekeeping services. She moved in in April 2013 and signed a rental agreement. She does not receive a monthly statement so we do not know how the rent/meals/services are broken down. We gave 30 days notice recently however a friend told us that she only has to give 10 days notice for meals/housekeeping. How can I find out if this is true and how do I go about making sure this happens. She is on direct debit so I am concerned they will take the full amount. Thank you.

Hi,

I have never heard of that kind of arrangement before, where the notice for meals and housekeeping is less than the notice to vacate the premises. Generally, the monthly rental price is inclusive of all basic services. For independent living that includes meals (which may be one to three per day, depending on the residence) and light housekeeping, meaning once a week. Additional services that you request, for instance if someone needs help with a bath are generally not included in the monthly rent and can be stopped whenever you wish.

I would look in the rental agreement and see what it says. I would also talk to your friend and ask where that information comes from, and then I would talk to the marketing people at the residence. Ask your bank how to put a stop to the direct debit for the month.

Kind regards,

Peter Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC

The minimum monthly rates are based on single occupancy.

Regards,
SeniorsZen.com Support

A friend of mine wanted to Volunteer at a Complex that is in a Union in B.C. She was told that they do not allow volunteers in a Union run facility. Is this true?

Hi,

Well, the best thing to do is to call the facility individually and ask what their policy is. My experience is generally that unions are happy to have people volunteering as long as they are not doing work that is done by a union member or covered by a union contract. Having said that, it is generally at the facility level. For example, you could not serve food in a unionized dining room most likely, but you could serve food to your relative. You could not generally be on hand to change residents, but you could help one to whom you are related or acting in the capacity of a companion. I have seen volunteers run programmes with the programme department even though they are often staffed through union personnel.

So, all in the details, and wonderful that you want to volunteer. The warmth and caring volunteers give truly can make a difference.

Regards,

Peter Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC

I believe there are both options, but for those kind of details you would have to check them out individually. You might also want to look at tax implications and benefits to each. I have not seen such a rating service.

Peter S. Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC
Diamond Geriatrics
www.DiamondGeriatrics.com

My father presently lives at first place seniors residence but the care here is not quite enough for him, so this is our first step enquiring into a seniors residence where he has nurses, caregivers and assistance with your day to day living. he's currently on pension and has an income I am enquiring about financial assistance how he would qualify or go about receiving financial assistance to get him into a senior residence.

If there is any information that you can provide to me as to how I begin the process I would greatly appreciate it.

Sincerely
Ann

HI,

Really you are looking at your father going into a nursing home.  The best people to contact would be the local seniors care  care providers or the community care access centre nearest to your father. Alternatively, often people at the Alzheimers Society have some information on that..  You might want to call the Ontario Seniors Secretariat at http://www.seniors.gov.on.ca/en/index.php.   You don't say what his income is beyond his pension so I cannot tell you if he would  be able to afford private care or not. Most private nursing homes cost between 4,000 and 6,000.00 per month minimum.

Best wishes,

Peter Silin
Peter S. Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC Diamond Geriatrics
www.DiamondGeriatrics.com
 

I am  not sure exactly what you mean by retirement, in terms of services you need or other parameters such as costs  but here is quick list of what I  found in the area:

EARL HAIG SOCIETY
1800 Austin Ave.
Coquitlam, BC V3J 1S4, Ph: 604-937-3790 Area: COQUITLAM
Provider: Royal Canadian Legion Branch #178
Cost: No cost

FOYER MAILLARD
1010 Alderson Ave.
Coquitlam, BC V3K 1W1, Ph: 604-937-5578 Area: COQUITLAM
Provider: Societe du Foyer Maillard
Cost: $1,232+/m

ROSEWOOD COTTAGE
11742-225 St.
Maple Ridge, BC V2X 6E4, Ph: 604-463-1078 Area: MAPLE RIDGE
Provider: No Provider provided
Cost: $1150+/m

SUNWOOD MATURE LIVING COMMUNITY
12241 - 224th Street
Maple Ridge, BC V2X 6B9, Ph: 604-463-5527 Area: MAPLE RIDGE
Provider: No Provider provided
Cost: $1,595-$2,750

WILLOW MANOR
12275 224th St.
Maple Ridge, BC V2X 6H5, Ph: 604-466-8602 Area: MAPLE RIDGE
Provider: Chartwell REIT
Cost: $2100+/m

Peter S. Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC
Diamond Geriatrics
www.DiamondGeriatrics.com
 

Ito calculate affordability, I have to look forward to increases in rents etc after moving to a retirement home as part of our budget for my wife and myself.

It depends on what you mean by retirement home. If you are talking about a building for seniors or restricted by age simply, then they are usually covered by the provincial landlord tenant regulations. This would be for rent only. If you are talking about private assisted living and nursing homes, they may or may not be covered by provincial regulations. Publicly funded nursing homes and assisted living do have restrictions on what they can charge and their increases, but it is not via the landlord tenant legislation usually, but by the provincial body charged with regulating the facilities in general. For services in private homes my guess is you are pretty much out of luck in terms of having any restrictions on increases in fees for services.

The best thing to do is to call landlord tenant agency in your province. You could also call your provincial ombudsperson. Finally, you could call the health authority in your area and ask them if the particular residence is covered.

Regards,
Peter S. Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC

i live in brampton, i took in a homeless man 82, called peel to help him was told there is a waiting list for assistance, that i would be better off putting him back on the street for him to get help, icannot do this. but i can only help for a couple more months. he get old age and cpp. but out of this he said he has to pay his ex wife 500. i really dont know were to get him help.

Hi,

 A few ways to approach this, and my thoughts:. One, if he is only getting OAS ( Old Age Security) and CPP, he should not be paying his wife $500  per month. Something does not sound  right there.  Second,  you can bring him to a shelter or at least call the shelters and ask them if they can help.  Third, you can call the local Peel  health unit  which is responsible for seniors and housing, and get their help.  Fourth, if none of those produces results, call the newspaper. Fifth, if  he was on the street for a while, he knows how to survive. You can simply tell him he has one month to find himself something, after which he will have to leave. 

What was there that made you take him in?  If there is a health issue, you can also bring him down to the local hospital emergency ward, and then he becomes their problem.  Most likely he would be known to them. 

Kind regards,

Peter Silin

 

We have several Assisted Living Residences in Calgary listed in our directory.

You can also find more information about Designated Assisted Living (DAL) facilities in Alberta here: http://www.albertahealthservices.ca .

Regards,

SeniorsZen.com Support

2ndly, if we change provinces will we still be entitled to health care? We live in Calgary but are thinking of going to bc.

Hi,

You may have to go through a waiting period before you are eligible for medical services when you change provinces.  Generally, there is a reciprocal agreeement so that  coverage is continuous. The best thing, for the details is to contact  your Health Authority in Calgary.

Regards,

Peter
Peter S. Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC

RETIREMENT HOMES FOR THE ELDERLY – CHOOSE WISELY! (From an article I wrote for local newspapers)
Before moving into a retirement home, it is very important to determine what the annual increase in rent will be. For instance, the Mulberry Independent Living Estates in Moose Jaw, owned and operated by Holiday Retirement, an American company, increases the rent annually to as much as 6.1%. This results in an increase of $195 per month for a one bedroom suite at an average rent of $3,000. The residents are extraordinary people who worked hard for many years to make a living, raise a family, contribute to their communities, pay taxes, save, invest wisely and prepare for old age. With the annual exorbitant increases in rent, how long can they remain independent? The Mulberry has been holding various events this year to entice new renters but still have a number of vacancies. It is obvious that its reputation of annual high rental increases has deterred many from moving there.
The elderly people living in the Mulberry Estates are not taking a “holiday”; it is their home. It is a first class establishment with a caring workforce and many amenities. However, corporations should not be allowed to gouge those who live in retirement homes such as the Mulberry. It is more and more difficult to earn investment dollars, and those on a fixed income cannot afford the ever increasing rent. The residents at the Mulberry feel trapped and have no other recourse but to pay or leave. Where will they go? The provincial and federal governments are facing a great dilemma in the costs of support for the elderly now and in the future. Since the elderly are no longer employable, the rental rates should not be compared to market rental prices. The logical solution would be to charge a fair and equitable rent to the present and future residents for the duration of their stay.

Hi,

First thing to do is check whatever contract you may have signed to see what they say.  This  would include looking at what  they have in costs for services. Second thing is to  contact your provincial  government residential tenancy/landlord tenancy branch to see if the residence is covered under the provincial legislation. They may be and that may trump whatever is in your contract from the residence.  If there is a provincial Ombudsperson, their office may be able to help negotiate something. If the residence is  publicly funded, there is most likely nothing you can do.  Find out how they estimate charges and make sure that your individual charges  fall within the guidelines that have been set.

In the end, some seniors residences are  not included under any protective legislation and they are free to do as they wish. Unfortunately,

Kind regards,

Peter Silin

She may qualify for some benefits  in terms of tax relief which, while not a direct subsidy could leave her with additional  disposable income at  the end of the year.
As for subsidies, it depends on what province she is in. For British Columbia there is SAFER--Shelter Aid for ElderResidents http://www.bchousing.org/Initiatives/Providing/SAFER.  You could contact the local health authority for some additional information  or even often the Alzheimer's Society has provincial information on this.

Be aware that in Assisted Living costs can increase with care needed, so you should be aware of how those costs will increase if your mother's condition deteriorates.  Care charges are often calculated on a per  task or number of minutes needed and can go up by levels. 

Kind regards,

Peter Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC

Complaints that food is usually covered with some sickly sweet & sour sauce, meat is tough, very fatty, or freezer burnt. Very often the residents in mom's dining room throw out half of their meals due to poor quality. This is on- going. Once the cook was even in tears because quality of food was so bad & she had no choice but to cook & serve it. Samples of food has been taken to the part- time manager who has said she would not eat it either. I worry that these folks are not getting enough usable protein & other important nutrients. Please help. Wendy

Depending on the province there is differing overseeing of  assisted living facilities. If it is not a true assisted living, and more of independent living, there might be less you can do.  Try to find out  who is responsible in the province or health authority.

Peter Silin

Currently we don't have any partners in Kitchener. The closest location would be Paris, Ontario.

Regards,
SeniorsZen.com Support

You can click here to contact our partner that can help you with your request in Missisauga area.

Regards,
SeniorsZen.com Support

Hi, all residences that we work with are listed on our website.

Regards,

SeniorsZen.com Support

We also dislike the idea of being in a Senior Ghetto.

Hi,

Honestly, it is hard to know what to think when I know so little about you.

Depending on where you live,  assisted living may be  covered or partially covered by  your province through your local health area.  However,  if you are both healthy enough to drive to Mexico every year, I  would question whether you need Assisted Living. There are other types of seniors housing providing different kinds of services.  Independent or Supportive housing provides meals and housekeeping once a week, recreation, and a call system. Assisted living provides help with personal care.  So my question for you is, and for you to ask your children:  what is it that they think you need?  Also discuss with them why they think you need this.  What is it that they see or are concerned about  for you?  Why is this coming up now?  It may be that they are just worried that something will happen, and they want to make sure you are in a  situation where you are safe. Maybe they are just worried. And maybe  they see something that you do not.

This may be a good time for you to sit down with your children and discuss the future, and  talk about the "what happens if" questions, such as  what happens if one of you needs some kind of care or support, or both of you do and how will you go about finding it.   An income of 3,000.00 may cover some kind of seniors housing and there are  often provincial subsidies in the various provinces. Do a little bit of research by calling the provincial health unit near where you live, and find out what you can about the various types and costs of seniors housing that are available. Also, learn about other supports that might be available if you need them in future.

Kind regards,

Peter Silin

Independent living (housing) is also sometimes called supportive living or housing. It generally means that there are meals available in the facility, as well as recreation, light housekeeping once a week and an emergency call system. The meal plan may be one meal a day up to all three or some variation. There is no personal care available at this level of housing.

Assisted living provides the same services as independent/supportive living, but there is also personal care available. These services will include personal laundry, help with bathing, help with dressing, medication reminders. There may be a nurse supervising the care provided, but there is no nursing care available. Assisted living is often regulated by the province in which it is found and they must adhere to the standards of those regulations. If you are looking at Assisted Living, ask about how it is regulated in your province, and who the regulator or regulating office is.

In the private system, you may find housing that has both options available. You could go in not needing help, but if your abilities decline, then you can buy extra services as you need them. The charges may be determined on a pay by the service plan, or by the amount of help you need in terms of time. When looking at seniors housing, always ask if they have these options, and what additional costs may be. Also be sure to ask at what point they would determine that your needs are great enough so that they can no longer meet them, and would ask you to move. This is a real and frequent occurrence in Seniors Housing.

Peter Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC

There is a huge variation in the wait times for seniors housing.  It depends on whether they are publicly  or privately funded, which province they are in, an where in the province, and the type of housing your are looking at. 

For instance, if you are looking for publicly funded, subsidized homes there is generally a wait list.  Depending on the urgency and the availability of all  housing,  you could be admitted within a few weeks or it could take up to a couple years or more.    Privately  funded housing  depending on where you live can be available within a month or two. If you are in a rural area and there is only one type of facility that fits your needs, it could take a lot longer.

The first thing to do is contact your local health provider in your province.  The second thing is to determine what  type of housing you are looking for--independent (or supportive) housing, assisted living, or a nursing home?  Some provinces have smaller group homes and other options available.

Peter Silin, MSW, RSW, CCC