In many caregiving situations, there comes a time when providing care at home is no longer the best option. It may be that your loved one’s health has deteriorated to a point where he or she needs more care than can be provided at home, even with assistance from home support services. Or it may be that the family caregivers are burnt out or circumstances have changed in their lives where they are no longer able to meet the demands of caring.
Deciding to move into a care facility can be a difficult decision for both the person who is moving and other family members. Many emotions can arise including guilt, grief and anger. As a family caregiver, you may feel you have failed or let your loved one down. But the reality may be that the person needing care will be safer and better cared for in a situation where staff is available 24 hours a day and trained to provide the personal care now needed.
Two options are available for subsidized housing through the local health authority - Assisted Living and Residential Care.
The Vancouver Island Health Authority website states that Assisted Living is “for seniors and people with physical disabilities who need a safe environment to live, and help with daily tasks.” It includes accommodation, meals, housekeeping and personal-care assistance. In order to be eligible for Assisted Living, the resident needs to be able to make decisions on his or her own behalf or be living with a spouse who can make those decisions. Other prerequisites for tenancy include the ability to communicate with others and stable health. On Vancouver Island, visit www.viha.ca/hcc/assisted/eligibility.htm for the eligibility criteria to determine if your loved one meets the requirements.On the Lower Mainland, visit www.vch.ca and type Assisted Living into the search bar to find the eligibility criteria to determine if your loved one meets the requirements.
Alternatively, Residential Care facilities are “available to adults with complex medical and cognitive care needs and an assessed and urgent need for 24-hour care.” Services include accommodation, 24-hour nursing care, meals, housekeeping, personal care assistance and end-of-life care.
In order to access these options and determine your loved one’s eligibility for subsidy, speak with your Home and Community Care case manager. If you do not have one, contact the Home and Community Care division of your local health authority.
Both Assisted Living and Residential Care are also available through private-pay facilities. The Senior Living Housing Directory at www.seniorlivingmag.com/housingdirectory has information on both subsidized and private residential options.
Caregiving does not end when the person you care for moves into a residence. Although no longer solely responsible for personal care, you will still need to make legal and financial decisions, visit, run errands and participate in care decisions. But you will also have the opportunity to revive your old relationship and once again focus on being a spouse, son or daughter and not only a caregiver.
Next month: Balancing Caregiving and Employment
FEBRUARY 2011 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER ISLAND
FEBRUARY 2011 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND