Although in general health care programs and options are very similar across communities in Ontario, there can be slight differences depending on where you live. One place where this is true is Burlington Ontario. And thanks to the fact that we have lots of home care clients that we visit in Burlington, we’ve learned a few of these tips and tricks over the last several years and want to take the next few paragraphs to share some with you.
As an introduction, as many of you probably know Census Canada data shows that Burlington has one of the oldest age demographics of any city in Canada. The median age in Burlington is over 40 years old (vs 39 in Canada) and although that doesn’t sound like much it’s enough to make Burlington rank as one of Canada’s older cities. According to a social profile of Burlington from March 2009, Seniors over 80 years of age are the fastest growing group of seniors. Between 2001 and 2006, their number increased by 58%. They represented over 30% of the senior population in 2001 and 28% in 2006. This has benefits in you live in the community because many businesses and public services cater to these demographics (like yours truly!). It also makes Burlington a great retirement community.
Another important fact to know if you live in Burlington is that Burlington falls under a different CCAC jurisdiction from Oakville. This can create complications for people who are receiving CCAC care and then for some reason or another decide to move between Burlington and Oakville. For instance if you receive CCAC home care at your home in Oakville, and then decide to move in with your family in Burlington you will have to work with a new CCAC care coordinator and new caregivers since the people you were working with before only work in the Oakville area. (If the term CCAC is new to you, check out this intro article on what the CCAC is and how it works).
Another important topic is a few facts about Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital.
Located in downtown Burlington, Jo Brant is the hospital where most people who live in Burlington go if they require medical attention. As an ER nurse who worked at Jo Brant for a few years I have great respect for the talented and caring nurses and physicians who work there. At the same time Jo Brant (like many hospitals) suffers from overcrowding and long wait times. These systemic issues are the most problematic for seniors who are at higher risk for complications as a result of ER visits and long hospital stays.
One very important issue is the fact that many people who are admitted to Jo Brant hospital may find themselves waiting on stretchers in the ER (rather than hospital beds). Stretchers are not great for seniors who may not move very easily and as such are at high risk of pressure ulcers if they stay in the same position for long periods of time, especially on a an unforgiving surface like a stretcher. Stretchers have thinner mattresses than a hospital bed and are intended for short term use. So if you find yourself or a family member in the ER at Jo Brant, make sure to get help moving around and changing position at least every 2 hours to prevent this common injury. Using lots of pillows for comfort and positioning can be helpful (you may even want to bring some from home).
Lastly Jo Brant has several Geriatric Nurse Practitioners who are specifically focused on caring for older adults in the hospital. If you’re interested in learning more about all these different health care professionals check out this article.
Another great service in Burlington for seniors is a day program for people living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia that Acclaim Health runs downtown Burlington from Monday-Friday. This program provides recreational and social programs that are specially tailored to those with memory impairments, and also provides much needed respite for family caregivers. If you’d like to find out more, give us a call!
Overall Burlington is a great city to live in (speaking from experience!) and offers many great services to families and seniors.
If you have any questions about this or are wondering if there might be other services that we didn’t mention here (hint: there’s lots we didn’t have time to cover!) please reach out to us, we’d love to help!