A guide to care options for seniors in Canada

Image: A guide to care options for seniors in Canada

Canada’s population is aging.

Almost one in seven Canadians were seniors in 2012; by 2030, that number will jump to nearly one in four.

Additionally, the rising life expectancy for Canadian men is now 79 and 83 for women. Advances in health care and chronic disease management, along with greater awareness on healthy living, is largely behind this change. Whether aging Canadians require just a few care services or 24-hour care, there are plenty of options to suit their needs.

Home care

Home care is one of the best choices for seniors requiring personalised care, but are capable of living in the familiar comforts of their own home. Home care can involve short-term or long-term services, such as wound and ostomy care, intravenous therapy, advanced illness and palliative care, chronic disease management, diabetes care and dementia care. Home care encourages seniors to take responsibility of their own care and allows them to maintain independence.

There are also services that exist specifically to help seniors live full and independent lives. Seniors for Seniors has senior companions who can provide care to seniors through personal and homemaking services, driving and house cleaning. The senior companion is able to provide as much support as needed to help the senior live independently.

Nursing homes

Nursing homes are a great option for seniors requiring long-term, 24-hour nursing care. Elderly patients in the later stages of dementia or with physical or behavioural problems rendering them dependent are well-suited. To qualify, patients require an assessment by social service agencies and need to be found in constant need of monitoring or highly specialised care, which they cannot receive at home.

In Canada, nursing home fees are based on income — most people pay $1,800 to $2,000 while the maximum a person can pay is $3,200. There are plenty of options when it comes to financing nursing home care, including basic government or workplace pensions, insurance, investments and savings.

Retirement communities

Canada’s retirement communities are often privately run and allow seniors to live in apartments, condos or townhome complexes. In these retirement communities, the retiree pays rent (and sometimes other fees) and receives personalised care. For example, independent living communities typically offer additional care to independent seniors just needing a few care services (like meals, health care and transportation).

Alternatively, assisted living communities provide on-site nursing staff to help with medication, mobility, housekeeping, meals, laundry, bathing and dressing. There’s also communities specifically for Alzheimer’s and dementia care.

Navigating health care options can be difficult. It’s important seniors and families research their options to determine the most appropriate care for their needs and level of independence. This will help seniors maintain the best quality of life possible in their later years.

Karoline King is a nursing home assistant turned freelance writer with a passion for seniors and health care. When she isn't volunteering for causes she believes in or writing informative articles, she can be found cooking for her family or enjoying some alone time in the great outdoors.