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Guide to Senior Home Care

Seniors (65 years and older) are the fastest growing age group in Ontario.

In 2016, 16.4% (3 million) of Ontario’s population was 65 years and older. By 2041, it is projected that 25% (4.6 million) of Ontario’s population will be 65 years and older. This period in Canada’s history has been described as a health care crisis.  We know that people are  living longer than ever so there is a huge demand for senior care.

Though most seniors are healthy and active, their longevity coupled with the unavoidable process of aging often leads to frequent and longer stays in hospital.  The resulting stress on hospitals caring for older adults with non-acute illnesses puts a tremendous strain on our already overburdened health care system and government funding.  Approximately 20% of Canadians correctly believe that the current situation is un-sustainable.  More than 96% of Canadians surveyed believe that Canada needs a national seniors’ health care strategy.  Obviously, the crisis is upon us and we are poorly prepared for this “Senior Tsunami.”

The loss of independence that seniors experience during their stay in hospital or similar institutional facilities, leaves them feeling helpless and vulnerable.   Private supportive home care gives seniors the option of choosing their care.  They can maintain their independence in the comfort of their own homes which is where they want to be.  Wouldn’t you want to be in familiar surroundings with your spouse, cherished pets and personal possessions?

A private home care agency provides caring, professional, experienced Personal Support Workers who are dedicated to looking after seniors in their own homes.  Home care services are flexible and more cost effective that other types of institutional care.  Home care offers adult children the opportunity for continued careers, assistance for their aging parents and time to spend with their children.

The problem our society is facing caring for our senior loved ones will not be resolved anytime soon.

What should you look for in a home care agency?  Choosing a home care provider, can be difficult and time consuming. How do you find the right fit?  There are so many things to consider. Your senior loved ones will be faced with trusting a stranger to come into their home.  

Tips to finding a reputable agency

The address, phone number, and the owner’s details should be readily available. Many home care agencies provide only a toll-free number with no local contact details to be found. Transparency is key to putting your trust in an agency.

Caregiver retention

Avoid agencies with a high turnover when it comes to their staff.  A happy caregiver will be a great addition to your family.  An agency that values their employees and rewards them for great service will have long-term employees. This is important when building a rapport and bonding with your caregiver. A familiar face can make all the difference when the time comes to accepting home care.

Proper screening and reference checks

Hiring a Personal Support Worker can only occur after he/she has been properly screened. Agencies must look at a potential employee’s background, credentials, and personality. Some home care agencies rely on their own training programs rather than hiring qualified caregivers who possess a community college Personal Support Worker certificate or equivalent. An extensive screening process is a must, because anything less could be putting you or your loved one at risk.

Caregivers with at least 2 years’ experience

Along with proper training in the field, you should ensure that a home care agency provides caregivers who have at least 2 years of professional experience. A qualified and experienced caregiver has a better understanding of a recipient’s needs and how to best provide it.

A registered nurse on staff is important

Even if your or your loved one’s home care needs are more about help with daily chores rather than medical needs, the home care agency you choose should have a registered nurse on staff. A registered nurse should be available to assess health and caregiving needs so that your loved ones get the best possible care.

Customized service

As you age, you cannot predict what will happen - illness or surgery, changes in mobility, or just a change in scheduled appointments or commitments. Your home care provider should be flexible enough to accommodate those changes. They should offer a wide range of home care services with the flexibility to change your services as needed.   Your home care agency should be able to cater your care to your individual needs.

If you have any questions about how to choose the right home care provider, we are ready, willing and able to help. Contact us at www.laservices.ca