How does one facilitate this move from independent living to a Nursing/assisted living in another province when most places have a waiting period of 6-12 months?

My Grandparent’s would like to move back to Alberta from BC as their health has significantly decrease. They currently live on their own with Home-Care coming in at least 4 times per day. The social worker told us my Nana needs a Nursing home and we will not separate them. My question is, how does one facilitate this move from independent living to a Nursing/assisted living in another province when most places have a waiting period of 6-12 months? None of our family members in Alberta have the capacity to care for them on a full-time basis during this waiting period. They are also limited in mobility (unable to do stairs) even if we arranged home care in Alberta, none of my family has a home that can accommodate this need as well.

This is a common, and very heartbreaking problem.

Firstly, to apply for long-term care in another province entails becoming enrolled in Alberta's  health care system. This usually requires a residency period of at least 3 months; check the Alberta Ministry of Health's website.

This, then, means your grandparents will need to move to Alberta first, live there for a few months until they qualify for an Alberta health card, then make their application via the ministry of health. They then join a waiting list for the type of nursing home and level of care they require. The fact that they must stay together may - or may not - hasten their progress on the waiting list; it just depends on what's available in the geographical area, and for the type of care they require.

They will therefore require interim care in Alberta which would not yet be covered by Alberta's health services. Professional care would cost about $25/hour, usually with a 3-hour minimum, so if you add up the number of hours they are getting ' four times a day', you can calculate the type of cost it will be. There is also the cost of moving them, possibly equipping someone's home for them, care supplies, etc.

One option would be to arrange a 'respite stay' in an Alberta retirement home - which are private and therefore have less of a waiting list, in the area you want them to live in. Be sure the home can manage their level of care. They could stay there, waiting out the waiting list. Be sure it's affordable - respite stays are usually priced by the day at $100-$150 per day.

I wish there were easy answers here – there aren't. I would suggest that you study the Alberta ministry of health website information carefully and find out exactly how feasible this plan is for your chosen district and for their level of health. This may entail getting a written report from the social worker who stated that long-term care was required. 

Very best of luck to you and your family.

Pat M. Irwin, BA, AICB, CPCA 
President, ElderCareCanada 
Professor, Distance Learning, Centennial College 
www.eldercarecanada.ca 
416-487-6248