Living Assistance Services Blog - In Home Elderly Care, Senior Home Care..
Living Assistance Services provides first rate home care to seniors and families in need. Choose Your Caregiver! They provide senior care, in home elderly care, and senior home care services in the Greater Toronto Area and throughout southern Ontario.
Contributed by Shehnaz Hussain, Intuitive Financial Solutions
Looking at Senior’s as well as Caregiver’s perspective
A parent has fallen, and daughter gets a call and she lives in another province. A possible situation that can affect any
of us at some point.
Let’s look at some realities
Mother fell. Had hip surgery, was in
rehab and got discharged.
Mother has great long-term care insurance, so family don’t have to worry
about where the money will come from for home care especially on days when CCAC
is not able to cover the care. Family can start with around-the-clock care and
could cut back to one 8-hour shift a day. Mother still a high fall risk.
Mother and daughter have a close relationship and rarely disagree.
The bad news:
The dynamics of dealing with mother with the new circumstances.
Mother was moved to the nursing home
at 9 p.m. Daughter arrived shortly after to find mom upset about the fact that
she was sharing a room, since she had been expecting a private room.
She was told she would be getting a
semi-private room for rehab. Blamed daughter for not taking care of her as the daughter
had not gotten a private room.
The next morning, mother informed daughter
that they had awoken her in the middle of the night because the roommate had
died. Guilt for daughter. Relationship dynamics changed.
When mom returned home and family started
discussing home health care details — such as when to reduce the caregiver
hours from 24 to 8 — it was soon clear mom and daughter disagreed. Daughter
wanted more; mom wanted less. Managing mother became more stressful than
managing her care.
Caregiving is challenging
Often seniors feel, “I don’t need
this, because my family will take care of me” — a reality check is needed. Yes,
family is there. But do you want your kids to take you to the bathroom, help
you shower, and give up their careers to become a full-time caregiver?
One of the best things about having
long-term care insurance policies is that the family gets the ability to
supervise the care rather than provide it hands-on.
Many family caregivers are trying to
work at the same time. That’s tough — caregiving takes time.
Being a caregiver can affect one’s health.
A recent study showed that among working women 50 and older, 20% of caregivers
reported fair or poor health, more than double the number of non-caregivers,
The continuum of care
Stand-alone long-term care insurance
is not nursing home insurance. It is nursing home avoidance insurance. Most of
the care is being received at home, and virtually everybody wants to stay at
You have a
very good chance of being able to get care at home. And with a long-term care
plan in place, you have the dollars coming in to maintain control.
Navigating the system
This is tough. Knowing a lot about
long-term care one assumes it would be smooth sailing. Wrong!
Mom was going to need home health
care when she came home. What would happen after daughter goes back?
Many things need to be considered…A care coordinator, appointments and transportation, in home care costs…all of these can be covered with the long-term care plans. Some practical realities that we sometimes think are easier to manage than they really are.
Long-term care insurance is a friend
of the family and can help keep relationships and finances intact.
Seriously consider looking at getting
some care insurance and keep the peace.
A video of a 102-year old grandmother
skydiving has been making its way around social media. While jumping out of a
plane is not everyone’s idea of a good time, her story is a great reminder that
it’s never too late to try something new.
With the warm weather finally here, what better time to get outside for a little
adventure. And by adventure we mean any new experience – no freefalling from a
Getting out with help
Not every senior has the mobility to just
up and leave the house on a whim. Physical limitations, living away from family
and other challenges can make it difficult to get out and about. Even a senior
who isn’t receiving home health care for medical needs can enlist the help of a
home care provider to help with outings and transportation. A caregiver can
help get you to and from where you need to go and escort you to social outings
and events or help you get out for some fun and new adventures.
Some activities to try this spring and summer
Ontario is full of beautiful parks to
explore and sights to see with something for everyone. There’s also no shortage
of activities for seniors looking to try something new and meet new people,
regardless of their age or mobility.
Here are 3 activities to get you outdoors this spring and summer:
Lawn bowling – A favorite with old and young; lawn bowling is a low-impact activity that allows you to enjoy the outdoors and meet new people. Lawn bowling clubs are located across the province, with one in just about every city or town. You can find lawn bowls near you by visiting the Ontario Lawn Bowls Association site at: https://www.olba.ca/club-locater.html
Pickleball – This is a net and ball game that’s similar to tennis, but played on a smaller court and at a slower pace. It has become very popular with the aging community in recent years. Pickleball Ontario has locations across the province and is also affiliated with the Ontario Senior Games Association (OSGA) who hosts tournaments. To find a place to play pickleball in Ontario, visit: http://pickleballontario.org/places-to-play/#/Action/Alpha/listingType/O/cid/1291/id/301/value/All
Pole walking – Also called Nordic walking, pole walking is a great activity for seniors, including those who may be a little unsteady on their feet. You walk at your own pace with specially designed poles that help you use your entire body. It’s a wonderful way to get out and enjoy nature and explore new places on your own or with others. You can search pole walking groups in your area on the Nordixx website at: https://www.nordixx.com/pole-walking-group/
This list barely scratches the surface of the many activities that seniors of all ages, fitness, and skill levels can get out and enjoy. Some other ideas: tai chi, yoga, dancing, nature walking/hiking… the list is endless!
As a young adult, you probably rolled your
eyes more than once as your grandparents gave you their advice. Stories of
walking 100 miles to school, usually barefoot and in the rain or snow probably
preceded lectures on waste and spending money on frivolities. We’ve all been
Inevitably, like other generations before
you, a time came when you realized that the lessons they taught you actually
stuck and shaped who you are today.
In honor of grandparents and the knowledge
and life lessons that they pass down with the kind of love that only a
grandparent can give, we share some of those lessons with you.
Here are valuable life lessons learned from
grandparents as shared by three of our clients.
“Never make fun
of someone because they have an accent and don’t sound like you. It means they
speak more than one language.” – Gina D.
My grandfather, a proud European man, tried
to learn English the few years he lived in Canada. He found it incredibly
difficult and only learned a handful of words, but his pride when he spoke
those few words – even when they didn’t make sense – was very evident. To him,
speaking multiple languages meant more opportunities. I went on to learn 3
other languages which has served me well in my career and given me and my
brothers the lifelong gift of being accepting of others, regardless of our
you spend.” – John C.
As a kid, I would run to the convenience
store and spend my allowance on chips, pop, and playing on the video game
machine in the store. The money would all be gone before I walked out of the
store and I’d spend the rest of the week complaining that I didn’t have any
money. My grandfather taught me how to budget my allowance so that it would
last. I opened my first bank account and with his guidance and learned to save
“Laugh all the
time, as much as you can. It will keep you young and make everything better.” – Anna S.
My grandmother laughs all the time and she is over 100 years young now. Growing up, my siblings and I learned to see the lighter side of everything and the value of laughter and making your own happiness. It has gotten us through some of the darkest times in our lives. We are often praised by others for our positivity and told that our laughter and good spirits are infectious. We’re all also quite young-looking for our ages, which is a nice bonus that we attribute to all the laughing!
June marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.
Living Assistance Services would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for the 14,000+ Canadians who died serving and those who are still with us. We salute their bravery and sacrifice, not only on the anniversary, but every day.
We have many veterans as clients and have the privilege of providing care to those who did so much for us. Our caregivers have been touched by these brave and selfless heroes, many of which still live with the lasting effects of battle.
As the years pass and the number of living Canadian veterans of the Second World War gets fewer, it’s even more important to hear their stories and know what they did and why, and cherish our freedoms, which they fought for.
Our veteran clients have shared so many great stories. We have cried with them as they’ve opened up about the hardships and unfathomable experiences of war. We have laughed with them as they shared funny memories of time spent with other heroes who became lifelong friends. We also get to hear about the challenges and the joys of what their lives are today, which we are so honoured to be an integral part of.
We can’t express enough the immense pride we feel having the opportunity to be a part of the lives of some of these incredible seniors. Having the opportunity to provide compassionate and respectful care to our veterans is an honour that is not easily put into words.
Being able to live in their own home symbolizes independence and the freedom to make their own decisions – something that rings true for all seniors, but is especially poignant to those who fought for the freedom of others.
From helping make their homes more comfortable, lending an ear to hear their stories of life before and after their call of duty, or providing comfort or medical home care to those still dealing with the emotional and physical effects of their sacrifice – we are grateful for the opportunity.
How Will You Remember
As with other years, some of our caregivers will have the pleasure of accompanying these special clients to events to remember and praise their service. It’s just another way that we get to do our part to honour them.
We will continue to cherish these clients and the thousands of others who fought for Canada.
If you too would like the opportunity to show your respect and help others continue to remember their sacrifice, a list of events in your area is available through the Veterans Affairs Canada events page.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. We will never forget.
If you’re considering home care services for yourself or an aging parent, you may be torn between hiring a private individual as a caregiver or working with a home care agency. Understanding the key differences between the two is important. After all, the caregiver you hire is going to be inside your loved one’s home and will be entrusted with their care.
Here we outline the benefits of a home care agency versus a private caregiver:
1. Legality and tax deductions
To hire a private caregiver as a legal employee, the employer (who is the person paying for the service) is responsible for Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) ongoing remittances. This includes submitting payroll records and calculating and paying the necessary income tax, Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Workers Compensation premiums, Employment Insurance (EI) deductions, as well as following provincial labour laws and regulations related to statutory holidays, overtime pay, and vacation pay. Private employers are also responsible for, and should be concerned about, any discrimination and sexual and other harassment claims, wrongful/constructive dismissal actions, “notice” and severance pay issues. Agencies manage all of these tasks in addition to disciplining or replacing the caregiver if he/she is not satisfactory, replacing caregivers if sick, on vacation, on maternity leave or taking personal time off.
A caregiver who is employed by a home care agency is paid directly by the agency thus eliminating most of the risks and responsibilities and saving the client from having to undertake a multitude of mandatory reporting responsibilities.
2. WSIB coverage in the event the caregiver is injured on the job
If a “private” caregiver is injured on the job, the employer is liable for compensation which can be long term depending on the severity and nature of the injury. Caregivers employed by a home care agency are covered under WSIB (Workers Safety and Insurance Board) and any claims are between the WSIB and the home care agency, not the client.
If hiring private staff, employers need to register (and remit) with WSIB as an employer and ensure that their home insurance policy covers any injuries not covered by WSIB.
3. Insurance against theft and damage
Reputable home care agencies have an extensive screening process for potential employees which includes a thorough interview process, reference checks, and criminal background check. This helps ensure they hire honest, dependable, and professional staff. Home care agencies also fully insure their staff for liability and dishonesty for your protection and theirs.
When you hire a private caregiver, you are responsible for having adequate home insurance coverage in place to protect from theft or damage to the home or contents caused by the individual providing care.
4. Quality of care
The quality of care really comes down to the individual providing care, regardless of whether they work privately or for a senior care agency. One key difference between hiring a home health care agency versus a private caregiver is that if you are unhappy with the quality of care, you can immediately request a replacement worker. Agencies also undertake a due diligence process to ensure they are hiring experienced and qualified caregivers who take pride in offering excellent care. Many caregivers work with their agencies for years and have a verifiable and proven track record.
If you’re unhappy with or dismiss your private caregiver, you will have to start the entire advertising, interviewing and hiring process and employee registration all over again possibly leaving you or your loved one in the lurch.
5. A Change in Care Needs
Most reputable home care agencies maintain an extensive call list and have the staff needed to accommodate a client’s changing or increasing needs. This also means coverage is available if the caregiver calls in sick.
Along with other caregivers, an agency has PSWs and nurses available to handle more advanced home healthcare needs if and when they arise. Most reputable agencies also employ a Registered Nurse as a supervisor to their PSW and RPN field staff.
A private caregiver works alone, making it difficult to manage changes in schedule, unanticipated absences, vacations or more complex care recipient challenges.
8. Types of Care
The types of care offered by home care agencies range from companionship and help with daily activities, such as shopping and errands, to advanced home health care, such as injections and wound care.
While some private caregivers are able to provide different types of care, it’s not easy to find one which is professionally trained and licenced to provide medical care. This speaks to an agency’s ability to accommodate change when and if it is required. Privately hiring and paying for private licensed nurse for a care recipient who may not always require medical care at home is rarely financially prudent. A home care agency offers the flexibility of choosing as much or as little care as needed with the ability to adjust the schedule at any time.
There is much greater risk and responsibility involved when hiring privately and assuming the role of employer. A home care agency handles the screening and legalities, thereby providing peace of mind for the care recipient and their family.
You want to provide your aging parent with the best care, but knowing how to go about it can be a little daunting.
Choosing a home health care agency is the first step and often the first choice when hiring a caregiver. While there is no shortage of private caregivers advertising their services online and in the newspaper, a home care agency is usually the first choice for families and their seniors for several reasons.
We obviously can’t speak for all agencies, but caregivers who work for Living Assistance Services:
must pass our thorough screening process, including a check of credentials and criminal check
must have at least two years of professional experience
are hired based on credentials and experience, as well as personality
Home health care agencies also have staff available to assist with the ever-changing needs of the elderly, including qualified PSWs (personal support workers) and RPNs (registered practical nurses) who work under the direct supervision of an RN (registered nurse).
What to Ask
Once you’ve decided on a home health care agency, it’s still important to do your due diligence when it’s time to choose your loved one’s caregiver. This is important because, after all, this is the person who you’ll allow into your loved one’s home and entrust with their care.
Asking the right questions when interviewing potential caregivers is key. We’ve compiled some standard questions that can offer valuable insight into the caregiver’s skills, and, just as importantly, their reasons for wanting to work with seniors.
What is a PSW?
Are you comfortable with the duties required? (Be sure to review the job description, which may include personal care, such as hygiene and dressing, light housekeeping, shopping and errands, meal preparation, and companionship, such as reading a book or playing cards.)
Are you comfortable with pets? (If your loved one has pets)
Do you have a medical condition or limitation that would prevent you for performing the tasks required?
What experience do you have caring for seniors and/or people with cognitive impairment?
Are you able to be flexible and change or increase hours if needed?
How do you feel about the elderly and/or people with disabilities?
Have you ever dealt with an emergency? If so, what was the emergency and what did you do?
How would you deal with a client who refuses to comply with care? For example, if they refuse to take their medication or won’t take a bath?
How would you respond if the person you were caring for was verbally and physically aggressive towards you?
Under what circumstances would you say it is acceptable to break a confidence of a client? For example, would you tell me if my mom/dad did or said something concerning or about what happened at their doctor’s appointment?
Once you’ve completed the interview obtain copies of the caregiver’s documentation such as proof of education, first aid training certificates, etc. You will also want to get written permission and check references.
A reputable and transparent home care agency should have nothing to hide and will happily answer your questions and provide the documentation requested. Their literature and website should provide you with information relative to their experience, their range of services, their management team and the principles of their agency.
We understand that every person’s situation and needs are different. Hopefully, you find this information helpful when you’re ready to start interviewing potential senior care candidates.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We can help!
When contemplating senior care for your elderly parent or loved one, you likely think the options are a senior community or hiring a caregiver from a home care agency. In reality, you can do both!
Some seniors require ‘round-the-clock care due to medical conditions, while for others it’s just about convenience or circumstance. Despite the fact that your parent is living in a senior community, it can continue to be difficult to try to juggle work and family life, as well as doctors’ appointments, errands, and even just social visits. This is when a caregiver/companion can help.
When you enlist the help of a private agency within a senior community you are supporting not only your loved one, but also the community care staff and yourself.
The benefits of a caregiver/companion are many. They are able to provide individualized support for loved one’s with dementia and assist with feeding together with helping with all other care needs. However, it’s not just about supportive care. A caregiver companion can also;
make friendly regular visits and spend quality time with a loved one doing any activity they enjoy
escort your loved one to medical appointments when you are not able to attend (and report)
provide transportation to and from appointments and any other outings
provide cultural support, which often is not available in senior communities
The life in a senior community can become lonely, despite interactions with staff and other residents within the senior community. Moving a loved one to a senior community often means moving further from friends and family, as well as from the lifestyle he/she has always known. A caregiver companion frequently enables the transition to be less lonely with their visits and helping your loved one venture out to see friends, attend church or participate other day-to-day activities.
If you’d like to learn more about how our caregivers and senior communities can co-exist to help both you and your loved one, give us a call.
A survey published a couple of years back showed that most adults would rather have the “sex talk” with their kids than talk to their parents about aging, with money being one of the touchiest subjects.
Deciding it’s time to take control of a parent’s finances isn’t easy for the adult child or parent. Adult children don’t want to appear controlling or greedy, and may have trouble approaching a subject that many people from the previous generation consider private. A parent may have difficulty admitting or even accepting that they need help—something that can also be hard for the child.
Though difficult, taking control of a parent’s finances is a necessary step that can help protect them against financial fraud and help ensure they have the money needed to live comfortably. But how do you know when it’s time to step in and take control?
Look for the signs
Looking out for the signs that you parent is being irresponsible with money can help you know when to step in. For instance, you notice that your parent:
is getting forgetful
is misplacing items
is making purchases that are out of character
is making repeated trips to the bank
has unopened bills piling up
is getting calls or letters from creditors or collection agencies
The son of one our clients, who will remain unnamed for privacy, discovered his elderly mother had been the victim of an elder scam after noticing a letter on her dresser from the bank marked “urgent”. After some prying, his mother admitted to sending scammers more than $15,000. She lost the money to a CRA tax scam, and like many seniors who are the victim of fraud, she was too embarrassed and frightened to tell her family about it.
Years ago, another client, an Alzheimer’s sufferer and regular church attendee, wrote a cheque for no apparent reason to her church for $30,000.00. Her Power of Attorney continues to litigate in an effort to recover the funds to this day.
Fraud is the number one crime against older Canadians, according to a report by the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for Seniors.
Step in early on
Don’t wait for your parents to bring it up or until something catastrophic happens to step in. The majority of decisions about a parent’s finances and senior care are made during a medical crisis, which can complicate things greatly.
Getting involved while your parents are still healthy and able to have a rational conversation can make things easier for everyone.
If you are the person that your parent wishes to take over their affairs, you will need to have the right documentation in place. Having the account and pin numbers or even having a joint account with your parent isn’t enough; Powers of Attorney are required to give you control.
Your parent cannot sign Powers of Attorney if they lose their mental capacity. A lawyer can request a medical assessment before allowing them to sign any document if they feel your parent’s understanding of the documents is diminished.
Having the conversation
It’s not unreasonable for you to ask your parents how things are going financially and this is a good way to start the conversation. To make it easier, look for cues to bring it up. For instance, when your parent talks about home repairs or another potentially costly event or when a commercial comes on about financial services, retirement, or elderly care services.
If you’ve already noticed signs of a problem, use the following tips to help you talk to your parent about taking control of their finances:
Lead with loving intentions – Start by letting your parent know that you care and just want what’s best for them.
Express your concerns – Be specific about your concerns, such as a change in their health or other signs of a problem.
Ask permission to help – By asking permission you are being respectful and less likely to offend them or make them feel helpless or powerless.
Be reassuring – Reassure your parent that you are not attempting to take over their life or control them, but rather just trying to help out of love.
Listen – Hear them out and encourage them to be open and honest about what they want and how they’re feeling.
David Porter, CPCA
Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care
Don’t be fooled by fraudsters posing as CRA this tax season. http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/news/2019/be-fooled-fraudsters-posing-cra-tax-season
Joint accounts. https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/banking/bank-accounts/joint-bank-account.html
Powers of Attorney: rights and responsibilities. https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/rights-responsibilities/rights-banking/rights-power-attorney.html
A 2012 report by the Health Council of Canada on senior home care reported that 93 percent of seniors in Canada live at home and want to stay there as long as possible. The report also highlighted the importance of excellent home care, which is something we pride ourselves on providing for our clients.
Transparency and Accountability – Our Promise to You
When choosing a home care agency, trust is key. When you pay for home care services, you are inviting a home care provider into the home to care for your vulnerable loved one and trusting them around their valuable assets. We understand the magnitude of the responsibility you’re entrusting us with and to honour that we take every step to ensure transparency and accountability—something we pride ourselves on.
Many home health care agencies and assisted living companies hide their principals from their clients. A fancy website and creating the illusion of a great image can be very appealing, but also misleading. This is why Living Assistance Services doesn’t hide our principles and put it all out there.
We encourage open and honest communication with our clients. Some of the ways we do this is by posting the names, business addresses, and other pertinent information about our directors on our website so you can reach them directly with any questions or concerns. We also make communication with us available 24 hours each day, so you can reach us day or night.
How We Help You Protect Your Loved Ones
Along with offering flexible and affordable quality home care services to suit your aging loved one’s ever-changing needs, Living Assistance Services also help you protect your loved one by:
Hiring only qualified and experienced caregivers who possess a college Personal Support Worker certificate or equivalent.
Conducting extensive background and reference checks and thoroughly screening all of our candidates to ensure we only hire trustworthy, competent, and personal caregivers.
Continuously monitoring our caregivers to stay on top of any issues that may arise and deal with them immediately.
Having liability and honesty insurance for our caregivers to protect the care recipient and their family. Our insurance certificate is readily available to clients.
Having caregivers who are fully insured and covered under the Worker’s Compensation Board, with a copy of the Workers Compensation Clearance Certificate available to you as proof of coverage.
Encouraging the recipient of our home care services to choose their own caregiver to ensure the best possible match and comfort level.
There should be no secrets or guessing when it comes to entrusting the care of your loved one to a home health care agency.
David Porter, CPCA
Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care
Health Council of Canada. (2012). Seniors in need, caregivers in distress: What are the home care priorities for seniors in Canada? http://www.carp.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/HCC_HomeCare_2d.pdf
Retirement is evolving and how retirement in Canada looks has changed drastically in the past few years. This is mainly because people are living longer – a whopping 28 years past retirement for most.
Living longer and remaining active for longer than ever before also means people are living at home longer and well past retirement. That’s just fine with most Canadian seniors based on a number of surveys that found that the majority of Canadian seniors prefer to remain at home for as long as possible.
Aging in place isn’t just the preference, but also the answer given the changing needs of seniors and retirement plans that don’t afford most the ability to pay for quality long-term care facilities. And even those that can afford assisted living facilities don’t feel they can justify the cost of these facilities when they’re still reasonably active and don’t require ‘round-the-clock care.
To make this work, people are thinking outside the box and utilizing in-home care services and some other creative arrangements to make aging in the comfort of home possible.
Multigenerational housing isn’t a new idea. Adult children taking in and looking after their aging parents is fairly common and in some cultures it’s expected. What has changed is that it’s no longer just seniors who are unable to live on their own that move in with their children. Many active and independent retirees choose this alternative because it’s more affordable than a mortgage or rent, or the high cost of a retirement community. This frees up funds that can be used to supplement the cost of in-home care services to take some of the burden off of adult children who are also juggling work and kids.
Student renters from other parts of the country/overseas
Many seniors are renting rooms to students from out of town or even the country. This mutually beneficial arrangement is appealing to students who are offered low rent in exchange for help with chores like minor home maintenance and repairs and taking out the garbage.
Not only can this provide extra income during retirement, it also makes in-home care services more affordable because chores can split between the student and a professional caregiver.
Young Professional Renters
Many young professionals find themselves having to move to a new city or town for jobs and unable to afford the high cost of rentals—if they can even find one. With so many empty nesters having empty rooms collecting dust, renting to a young professional offers mutual benefits. It provides the an affordable housing solution that helps a young person get on their feet while providing a senior with supplementary income that can contribute to in-home care services when the need arises.
The Golden Girls were onto something! Taking in other seniors as roommates is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to retirement homes and helping seniors age more comfortably. Seniors who live together can share the cost of hiring a caregiver to assist with the tasks of daily living, basic housekeeping, and other in-home care services.
For those who want to age in place, these alternatives make retirement affordable so you can continue to live on your terms. These options are also wonderful ways to stave-off senior loneliness and remain social, which can help keep you healthier and happier, according to various studies.