Friday, June 29, 2012

Retirement home or LTC - choose wisely, with long-term in mind

Searching for a suitable residence for seniors, especially for those with dementia, is imp
Dolly at my late father's retirement home. She looked after him.
He would run the TV loudly at night.
Get lost in the hallway, lose his room,
wander about in the wee hours in his underwear.
ortant to family members.
Stories, like this one (see below), make me cry.
The family has placed her mother in a for-profit Revera Retirement home.
Now most of the long-term care homes in Ontario are for-profit (500+  out of 600+), retirement homes abound, too. And it is the same situation. Many are run for-profit.
Manta tells us that Revera earns $995,013,120 in annual sales. 
There is money in retirement homes, but shareholder demand profits. This isn't a government-run organization and the wise consumer looks to this. Non-profits don't have spare cash, either.

This mom has dementia. 
When looking long-term, you must look to the future. Most of us know what dementia looks like at the end of its course. You require highly-trained PSWs, and nursing care.
As a resident of a retirement home, you are a tenant, and governed by the Landlord Tenant Act.
In July 2010, the provincial government passed the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 Long-term care has more regulations, and more specific supports and a higher staff ratio.
Of course, it costs more.

Services in LTC - specialty lifts
This family has found that their mother's increasing dementia symptoms have required more physical and human resources.
Her pension, they tell us is $43,000, isn't going to cover the higher costs with added services in the Retirement Home. No wonder.
People with dementia require vigilance, TLC, and people with specialized training.

Amazing how easy it is for a journalist to confuse what is 'fair' with the actual costs of care.
Mind you, what would my clients do with a pension of $43,000? They'd be in heaven.
The costs of the retirement home have increased, with a pay-for-services policy. And rightly so.

There are differences in staffing, staffing requirements, and government funding for long-term care (LTC) vs. a retirement home. Theoretically, a retirement home gives a senior some freedom and privacy, with minimal support or intervention. Dad began falling, falling with his walker, then falling out of his wheelchair. The stately appearance, and dignity of a retirement home wasn't what he needed when his brain tumour caused him to demonstrate many of the As of dementia. Fist-banging, getting lost in the hallways, communication issues, losing the ability to make the TV or phone function, and losing many executive functions in the thinking part of the brain.
Long-term care

I work with many when I volunteer in LTC, and have found that you need a certain something. They can be challenging clients, and may demonstrate the Four As of Dementia : Agitation, Anxiety, Apathy, Anger, but also Agression, agnosia, anosagnosia, aphasia, and many other symptoms.

There are a great many PSWs who can handle people like this. Well-trained, capable, calm people who have taken courses likeGentle Persuasive Approaches in Dementia Care'. 

A need for affordable care

OTTAWA — Carolyn Daniels says a revised fee system for special-care services imposed by the operator of an Ottawa retirement home will force her mother out of her room.

Daniels says her mother has a decent pension, but it will no longer be enough to cover the additional costs of $1,793 a month or $21,526 annually. Daniels’ relationship with the home soured about a month ago, when she found out her mother was going to be hit with new fees for services such as continence toileting or being escorted to the dining room.
Retirement Home

Those services have been costing $478 a month on top of the $2,774 she pays for accommodation and food. The same care services will rise to $2,271 in September for a total monthly charge of $5,045. She now pays $3,252 in total.

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