More Rules for Healthy Aging

” You do not grow old; you become old from not growing.”

Think About the Kind of Care You Want

# Educate yourself on ‘the system’ – in our province it’s a moving target- ever changing- I liken it to trying to grab jello – it’s complex – I often found it impenetrable. Find out what support services are available for seniors. Were they designed for people who did not live as long as we are expected to? What jurisdictions fund what programs or services? Write letters. Ask your candidates questions. Baby boomers must take action now and design and demand what you want your care to look like:

  • What does quality care look like to you?
  • How can the system be responsive to individual needs?
  • Do you want to age in place? At this point, this option is cost prohibitive and only works if you are wealthy. Often aging in place means more work for your caregivers.
  • If you need 24 hour medical care what does that look like?

My in-laws were adamant that they not want to go into an assisted living facility. They also resisted most offers of help. What this meant for my husband and I was that we were their support. We brought meals, planted flowers, mowed grass and shovelled snow. Do you want that responsibility on your care-givers? After a medical crisis, and with the assistance of a transition nurse who would not release my father-in-law from hospital until home-care and meals on wheels were in place, we had some help. What a relief for us. Little did we know this was not as wonderful as we initially thought. Home care in Alberta is limited and workers seemed rushed and stressed. Also the workers rotate so just when my mother-in-law was comfortable, a new care aid arrived. We did discover that there was a mobile blood service who would come to their home to get blood samples, thus saving us. It always felt like one step forward and two back.

Have you looked at assisted living facilities and long-term care? When my husband and I were looking for his parents we got tours and most times we got a feeling of how it was run quickly. What was the ratio of medical aids to clients? What times were meals hosted? My parents moved into an assisted living facility, of their choice, that had breakfast at 7:00a.m. and lunch at 11:00 and dinner at 4……all to accommodate the long-term care residents in the other part of the building. We never asked about meal times! My dad liked to sleep in so this was an issue, and after dinner it was a very long evening for them. Plus the nutrition cart only came by occasionally……. while the staff assured us there were snacks in the fridge, my parents were not up to going to find them. If you want to be in control, I suggest you start to seriously think about what will you do if something happens to one of you. Or if you get to a point where you cannot care for yourself. Figure it out now. Don’t make your caregivers….

Our friends and I used to joke that we would have the carpenter in the group build us a group home. We would know all residents and hire staff to help. The kids wouldn’t have to visit us so often as we all knew everyone so one visit would please us all. We would hire a cook, a cleaner, a care aid, buy a van to haul us around, have a driver we could use (not us!) and a nurse practitioner. While we laughed about it in our 40s we now wonder if it isn’t the way to go!

When we checked out the cost of many of the private “active living” facilities we knew we couldn’t afford them.

Published by Joan Craven

Joan Craven has been a

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4 Comments

  1. Good morning Joan, I am feeling over whelmed this morning not thinking of my own care as I age but my moms. Even with her insistence and I mean INSISTENCE of not leaving her home, the reality is that if something happens to Tom she will have to go to a care home. No more procrastinating on my part I have to set up interviews at some care homes in Langley and start the process. Sent a note to one on Friday and just waiting for an interview. Maybe through this process I will learn what is available to seniors and how to access it. Love your blog.

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    1. It’s such a difficult time. Bob always said “It’s a matter of safety. We need to keep them safe even if they are not happy.” It’s true they kept us safe and now it’s our turn. We visited places first and choose a couple we thought were good. We eventually choose the one, where when giving the tour, the staff spoke to our perspective guest..not us! We also didn’t choose a fancy one as our parents were happiest in their room watching tv. They were past attending lectures or movies. We usually got a feel for the place as soon as we walked in. We looked for bright, a view out their window and caring staff. Also ask about meal times, does a doctor visit or will you have to drive your mom to appointments. Having the doctor visit was so much easier on my parents…us too! Is there 24 hour care on the floor or unit? Is there a nurse practitioner available? Are the RNs only there Mondays to Fridays 8-4? This caused ambulance rides for my parents because Urinary Tract Infections needed a prescription and if it was on the week end it meant a trip to Emergency to get a prescription…..very upsetting. You are doing the correct thing even though it feels so difficult. xoxoxo

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