Elder caregiving: Know your options
In recent years, more Canadians have taken on the role of caregiver for their aging parents or family members. Over 8 million Canadians currently care for an older adult and this number is expected to increase as one in five Canadians pass 65 by 2027.1
Organizing an older loved one’s plans for eldercare can be an emotionally charged process. Not only do you need to assess your aging parent’s needs, you also need to consider your own capacity as a caregiver. Having a realistic eldercare plan will help to ensure that you and your older loved ones have the necessary support to continue leading active lives.
There're a range of eldercare options available and each one offers a different balance of independence and assistance. Let’s look at the different options and who’s best suited for each kind of care.
Did you know that older adults and senior families spend most of their income locally? Keeping older adults in their homes and communities longer is often mutually beneficial.
Aging in place is best for older adults who are independent, active, and mobile. Making a few home modifications to bathrooms, stairs, and hallways can keep seniors in their homes longer while decreasing the risk of injury.
In-home care is a great support for aging parents who already live in a home with modifications but still need more assistance. Knowing when and how to outsource certain aspects of eldercare can make life easier for you and your older loved ones.
Depending on need, you can typically arrange in-home visits for health care, personal care, and homemaking support. Often with a little extra help, older adults can continue to successfully stay in their homes and remain valuable members of their communities.
Moving a family member in with you can be a great alternative for aging parents who need more assistance. Sharing a space can take some getting used to, but there are often many benefits— financial and otherwise—that add up for both sides.
Independent living communities are great for seniors who are active and in good health but are looking for a place tailored to a senior lifestyle. These communities typically leave residents to live largely independently and often offer housekeeping and in-unit services for a fee. Independent living communities reduce strain on you as a caregiver and allows older adults to live their lives at their own pace.
Assisted living is ideal for seniors who are unable to complete daily tasks without assistance. Offering access to 24/7 on-site staff, these communities leave the level of assistance up to the resident and their caregivers while covering daily tasks like meals and medications. Assisted living communities allow for the most comprehensive level of independence in a place that recognizes the necessity of daily personal support.
It’s important to know your options as a prospective caregiver and to make a plan with your older loved one that identifies both your needs. Together you can manage sustainable support that puts independence and dignity first, so you can enjoy your time together.