We have a great public health care system in Ontario. But the truth is that the growing home care needs of seniors are fast outpacing the care budgets of the CCAC. And for better or for worse the burden often falls on families.
As a result many families are searching for creative ways to make the most of their resources, both time and money.
If you find yourself in that situation, hopefully this article helps! The next few paragraphs outline some interesting but less well known options for caring for loved ones without putting too much strain on your personal finances.
- Seniors Day Programs
A great cost effective care option is to seek out one of the local day programs in your area. These programs typically cost about $20/day and provide seniors a chance to interact with peers and be involved in activities while under the watchful eye of attentive caregivers.
These day programs are great but unfortunately, you do need to be referred by your CCAC case manager (not sure how to get started there? Check out this article). And of course with great programs like this there is much more demand than there is supply so the wait lists can be long.
If you think a day program might be the answer for you, have a look here to learn more about the programs in the Oakville/Halton area.
- Caregiver Recharge Program
Another program you could try is the Caregiver Recharge program. This is a not-for-profit program run by the LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) in Oakville, and Mississauga. The program is to connect resources to people that are providing care to loved ones so that they can take some needed respite time. This can be for a little as one hour up to a full week. However, it’s important to note that the Recharge program is temporary respite help, not a permanent solution. So although they can help for a weekend or a few days, after that you are back on your own.
Also, their services are focused primarily on personal care services and lighter housekeeping services – if you need help with complicated medical issues they probably cannot help you. For more info have a look at their website. Of course with such a great program, there are wait lists (up to 9 months) in order to gain access.
- Support for Daily Living Program
There is also a ‘sibling’ program to the Recharge program called the Support for Daily Living Program that offers seniors a few short visits per day (up to 1.5 hours daily) to help them with their daily routine along with access to a 24-hour hotline in case of emergency. This is a great option if you are just getting out of the hospital and would like to convalesce at home rather than in a long-term care facility.
- Volunteer Visiting
A fourth option is that there are many organizations that offer different types of volunteer visiting programs (some examples are the Alzheimer’s society and Acclaim Health in Oakville), where you can apply to have a volunteer (typically not a medical professional) visit a few times a month to provide companionship services.
These services are great but are usually limited to companionship services and if you need help with your personal routine (dressing/bathing) they may not be the best answer.
- Red Cross Transportation
Lastly, many seniors are looking for help with transportation and getting to and from appointments.
The best option we’ve found for transportation is a Red Cross driver. Red Cross offers a service whereby a volunteer driver will offer direct transportation to and from appointments for a small fee. We find this service to be more convenient for most people than services like Handivan (Burlington) or Wheeltrans (Toronto) which are more of a ‘bus style’ service and as such cannot guarantee pickup or drop-off times (which Red Cross can do).
Think you might be interested in learning more? You can find out more about Red Cross transportation services here.
I hope some of those options were new to you and turn out to be useful!
One final note before we finish up…many people dismiss home care services like CalaCare because they believe it to be out of reach financially. But we know that most of our clients need just a little bit of help around the house and that getting that help can be very affordable!
Before you dismiss home care as ‘too expensive’ give one of our RN Care Managers a call. They are experts at helping the families to use a combination of local services, the CCAC, and CalaCare Home Care to create a realistic and sustainable care plan. We believe that the ‘right’ plan is attainable for everyone and we’d love to help you find yours!