• Sharon King Todd

Why choose to Age-in-home?

The #1 priority for seniors today? Is to remain independent - Sheridan Centre for Elder research. In fact, when surveyed 9 – 10 older adults plan to stay in their home during their vintage years.

This is actually a great idea and timely because the public system in Ontario is promoting people to Age-in-Home. Why? Primarily because it transitions the liability and expertise onto the older adults and their families because the government is unable to provide sustainable, wrap-around care to each individual. This fact can have a huge financial impact on many seniors or their children.

What does this mean for older adults and their families? First and foremost, as a family unit you will need to create a plan. The rule of thumb in successful eldercare planning is it takes a village. The village is now your parents and the extended family unit. Within that unit you need to assess the current situation, identify the gaps and research and create a plan of action to ensure your success in all areas of your parents’ life. There are a number of trends that are altering the playing field from when their original retirement plans were put in motion. One example, life expectancy has increased by 9 years since the 1970’s creating several sub issues (including financial) associated that also need to be considered when planning. You also need to understand the playing field from the viewpoint of how our healthcare system is currently failing our older adults.

A few key areas are;

• Under staffed public facilities (Doctors, Nurses, Personal support workers)

• This creates a very real higher risk of error to older adults

• Lack of funding – over 4000 older adults are on waiting for personal support services in home

• Average wait list for Long Term Care is 5-7 years

Culturally, we the children may feel obligated to care for our parents. However, to be successful in this process we need to take into consideration where our heath care system current challenges so we can build it into our new plan. In preparation for this you need to yourself the right questions.

Questions like:

  • Do I have the skills to take on this role? In many family situations due to feeling of obligation the children will step up without understand the complexity and all of the elements of aging in home over time.

  • Do I have the time to coordinate all of the day to day activities?

  • Do I understand all of the financial pieces that will need to be taken into consideration with an age in home plan?

  • How does not having a plan impact my health, time, objectivity, mental resources?

  • Is our family dynamic a factor that needs to be considered to ensure the best results?

There are many elements to Aging-in-home and each plan going forward is as unique to the individual and their needs as a whole person. The cost to family caregiving is so much more than monetary. It takes a village, because it is not just the parents impacted by the success of this decision, it’s the entire family unit. Give us a call and let us know what you think - we would love to hear from you at 905-251-6661 or email us at info@theeldersadvocate.ca

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