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Aspects of Aging – Home, Assisted Living or Complex Care?


If a loved one has experienced a traumatic event of illness, accident, stroke, or appears to be losing capacity, the most effective assistance may be to bring companionship or caregiving into the home… at least for a “sorting out” period. In addition to ensuring safety, it has the effect of an extended, detailed assessment of the short and long term expectations of care needs.

The Health Authority will provide an account of what services can be delivered to those requiring subsidized care. Private-pay companies generally are able to provide more flexible services in terms of hours available and levels of service provided.

The questions to be asked of both public and private care providers are:

  1. What are the exact costs, including tax, for the described service?
  2. What is the minimum service time available? Sometimes there is a minimum call-out of 2 hours, sometimes 15 or 30 minutes.
  3. Are services available in evening and overnight?
  4. Can palliative care be delivered at home?
  5. Can stand-alone services such as preparing and serving a nutritious meal be provided?
  6. What credentials do the caregivers carry and what level of nursing care is available?

Assisted living provides accommodation, meals and social activity for those clients who are “self-managed” as far as personal care, activities of daily living, following a dining schedule without reminders and taking medication on time. It is common for residents in assisted living complexes to bring in adjunct services either privately or through the Health Authority. The initial assessment will determine if the client is eligible for residency in this type of accommodation.

When the situation is more serious and a much higher level of care and attention is needed, complex care is available. This is 24 hour care given by qualified Care Aides, LPN, RN staff under medical supervision. Again, this care is available from both public and private-pay organizations.

Any or all of the transitions and activity resulting from a medical event can have dramatic effect; desocialization, loss of confidence, loss of spiritual support, to name a few. Again, the conversations can be difficult but acknowledgement by friends and family will do much to relieve the fear and unrest felt by the affected person.

Written by Anne Duggan, Invited Advisor to Bell Alliance on Aspects of Aging

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