My mother is in an assisted living facility in Saskatoon Sask. We were told she now needs more care. We live in Calgary Ab. How do we go about getting her into supportive living here.

Your mother will apply for a publicly-funded nursing home via the caseworker assigned to her current residence. You must first do some homework about what nursing homes you’d like to include in the application. There are many great sources to help evaluate a nursing home – check out

You will likely be asked to provide a short list of 3-7 target homes for the application. The caseworker can advise regarding wait lists. However provinces usually have a 3-month residency requirement before an application can be made – check with Alberta’s ministry of health to be sure you have all this information before proceeding. Visit; among other details, the site states:

If you have moved to Alberta and intend to be a resident* for 12 months or more, you must apply for Alberta Health Care Insurance within 3 months of your arrival in Alberta. While waiting to receive your Alberta Personal Health Card and until it becomes effective, continue to use your health card from your previous province or territory when accessing insured health services.

IMPORTANT – Not all health services are covered outside your original province or territory and not all insured services are the same. You may have to pay out of pocket for some health services and submit a claim for reimbursement to your original province or territory. We suggest contacting your current health insurance office to inquire whether certain services are covered after you move and to confirm how to receive reimbursement for services paid.

In the interim, work with the residence to add more care, probably at your own expense, from an agency; ask the residence for suggested agencies (they likely use agencies and can recommend).

Pat M. Irwin, BA, AICB, CPCA 

President, ElderCareCanada 

Professor, Distance Learning, Centennial College