The Home Care Maze
As we continue to navigate Covid-19 and how it has impacted our seniors, we are seeing increased media coverage and government attention to possible solutions. “The catastrophe that has occurred in Canada’s long-term care homes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has served to focus the attention of policy makers and voters on how we collectively care for frail seniors.” (Calgary Herald) Many of these articles and stories say we can support seniors more by building more Seniors Homes or by adding “Beds” to current Buildings.
For those of you who have used Home Instead or a service such as ours, the solution may seem rather simple. Seniors are safest in their traditional home with professional support. Based on Health Canada Statistics 96% of deaths resulting from the pandemic are 60 years old or older. (Canadian Epidemiology Report) To add to this, the NIA’s Long term CARE Covid tracker shows 69% of Covid Deaths were in Long Term Care facilities or other buildings that focus on housing significant amounts of seniors in one location. What is even more startling is this doesn’t account for those who have passed away from a lack of mental stimulation or other side effects caused by being socially isolated to their suite.
So, this may have you questioning, if so many deaths have occurred in these Congregate living facilities what other options are there? There are different housing options such as downsizing to a smaller home, moving onto the main level of their existing home, or as this Calgary Herald article shows, there are living arrangements such as communities that cater to having amenities nearby. Whether your senior loved one downsizes or stays in their traditional home there may come a time when more support is needed. This leads us to the idea of how someone can age in place. That’s where Home Care bridges the gap. As an Albertan, seniors are usually eligible to receive Publicly Funded Care provided to them in the comforts of their own home. According to AHS’s Home Care Website: “Our Philosophy: Living Better Staying Longer
Alberta Health Services’ focus is creating an environment where you can live at home independently for as long as possible. While Home Care services are most commonly delivered in your home, this option doesn’t meet many seniors preferences of the way they want their support delivered to them.
While this amount of care may be able to support your loved one adequately, there is often a time where more care is needed. This will fall on the family to provide the support, or for the family to find additional care that is privately paid for. Family Funded Home Care companies such as Home Instead can provide this whether it’s a few times a week or around the clock care. This can be daily care to provide home cooked meals, medications, and support with the Chores around the home. They can also assist if the older adult needs help with their Personal Care such as Bathing and getting dressed. It could also be medical care such as Glucose Monitoring or Insulin Administration.
The reality is that once families experience care from Home Instead they choose to have Home Instead be their sole provider of care. They appreciate the control over the little details such as the time of day the care is provided, their meal preferences or commonly having control over the continuity of the same CAREGivers coming each week. When families choose to use only Home Instead care they will often use the Alberta Governments program called Self-Managed Care. This allows them to receive some funding for the care for their loved one. They then “Top Up” the additional amount to cover the cost.
"As you reach the stage in your lives when you need to engage home care, you can't go wrong with Home Instead. Home Instead excels and is the number 1 choice in Calgary, especially during the concerns and restrictions of this past Pandemic year." - Current Client (Home Instead of Calgary, AB Google Reviews)
You may be thinking this sounds expensive. The facts are that the senior care industry does come at a cost, however moving to a senior's home is not an inexpensive option. Through the city Assisted living buildings will range from $3,000 per month to $11,000 per month and this is for their entry level service. There will be additional costs for extra Laundry, room cleaning, Home Care and more. Many families who have loved ones in these buildings will still use Home Instead for their loved ones, because they find their senior needs some one-on-one support despite all the staff in their building. For those families who choose to keep their loved one in their home, they use the funds they would have spent on the building for care. To give you a reference point, $3,000.00 per month would provide approximately 20 hours of care per week and for $11,000 per month your loved one would receive approximately 76 hours of personalized care per week or just shy of 11 hours per day. Our average ranges between 3 and 9 hours per day dependent on their specific needs. This is still below the cost to stay in a facility. The client wins by remaining in their traditional home, with significantly higher care being provided.
As vaccinations increase and Covid-19 numbers decrease, I would strongly encourage you to research your options. While the safest option may seem like a facility, the safest option is actually their own home. “Canada's nursing homes have the worst record for COVID-19 deaths among wealthy nations” (cbc.ca) Make an informed choice. We are just a phone call away!