Choosing the right home

CARE: 10 Myths about Long Term Care

long term care copy
Life House Care Homes realizes there are many misconceptions in regards to long term care that many people need to be aware of. The following are a just a few of them.

“Myth 1: I won’t need it
About 70 percent of Americans over 65 will need some kind of help with the activities of daily living for months or years as they age. It may be due to an illness, chronic disease, or disability. But often, the care is required because of the natural decline due to aging of one’s eyesight, hearing, strength, balance, or mobility.

Myth 2: It means an insurance policy
Many people confuse “long-term care planning” with “long-term care insurance plans,” but they are not the same. Insurance is just one of many options people consider for covering the costs of long-term care. Long-term care planning means developing your personal strategy and making decisions now for how you want a range of things to be handled later when you or a loved one is in need of long-term care services.

Myth 3: Medicare, Medicaid, or another government program will pay for it
A number of public programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, may help pay for some long-term care services under certain circumstances. However, each program has specific rules about what services are covered, how long you can receive benefits, whether or not you qualify for benefits, and how much you have to pay in out-of-pocket costs. It is best not to assume that a government program will pay. In Alberta a new model of patient care based funding is being used and this determines how much funds are paid.

Myth 4: It’s too soon or too late for me to plan
The best time to create your long-term care strategy is before you actually need long-term care. If you’re over 50, there’s no time like now to begin. But, even if you are in the midst of receiving services for yourself or a loved one, it’s still helpful to go through the planning steps. That way, you can be better informed, prepared, and in control of decisions ahead

Myth 5: It doesn’t cost that much
Long-term care is more expensive than most people think, and you will likely be responsible for paying out of your own pocket for the care you need. Because there are many kinds of long-term care services and supports, there is a wide range of costs depending on the type of care, where it is given, and by whom.

Myth 6: My family will take care of me
Unpaid family members are the most common source of long-term care help. But, they may not be able to provide all the care you need, or be there every hour of the day. As part of your long-term care strategy, look into caregiving services in your area, including in-home care providers and elder daycare centers. Find out about elder shuttles, meals on wheels, and other low-cost services offered in your community here.

Myth 7: Falls just happen, there’s no sense worrying
Did you know that one in three older Americans falls every year? Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people aged 65+, and can result in hip fractures, broken bones, head injuries, and significant loss of independence. The good news about falls is that most of them can be prevented.

Myth 8: Alzheimer’s can’t be cured, so there’s no reason to think about it
While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, you can plan ahead to make a difficult situation better for everyone. In general, planning for long-term care is like planning for dementias like Alzheimer’s disease. While many of the same planning steps apply, certain steps take on added importance. The loss of executive function associated with dementia can create hardships for caregivers in arranging or paying for care.

Myth 9: Long-term care means nursing homes, and I don’t want that
Long-term care is a lot more than nursing homes, and getting care where you want may require thinking ahead. In thinking about long-term care, it is important to consider where you will live as you age and whether your place of residence can accommodate your needs should you become unable to fully care for yourself.

Myth 10: I don’t need to worry about how to pay for care, I can save enough on my own
Long-term care can be very expensive and represents a huge financial risk to retirement savings. While some people may qualify for a public program to help pay for these expenses,most people use a variety of options, including long-term care insurance, personal income and savings, life insurance, annuities and reverse mortgages to ensure they can pay for the care they require.”



CARE GIVER SUPPORT: What would you do if you were banned from seeing your Loved One?

senior and family member

“Families of seniors in some care homes in Alberta have been banned from seeing their loved ones and say – short of going to court – which some are now doing, there is no way to appeal decisions made by staff at those homes.
Huguette Hebert visited her husband in an Alberta nursing home and asked to watch while his diaper was changed. She was concerned about bedsores. Not only was she told she couldn’t watch — she was made to leave.

In Alberta, senior care centres can ban family members if they feel there is a threat to their staff or patients. That power can have a devastating impact on families.

Bill Moore-Kilgannon has taken up the cases of Shauna McHarg and Huguette Hebert and others like them.He is executive director of Public Interest Alberta. The group is campaigning to change the laws surrounding conflicts between family members and seniors’ care centres in Alberta.”

This segment was produced by CBC’s Gillian Rutherford and Michael O’Halloran.


ALBERTA HEALTH: Alberta needs a long term care policy

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The way Alberta is placing or not placing seniors needing long term care, is neither transparent or meeting the demand. In an article written by Mariam Ibrahim in the Edmonton Journal the recommendations from two separate Health Quality reports is revealed.

“A review into how Albertans are moved into long- term care facilities has found a patchwork of policies across the province that are applied inconsistently and without adequate input from patients and their families.

The Health Quality Council of Alberta investigation into the now-suspended “first available bed” policy showed the province’s health-care system is “consistently incapable of completing the transition in a transparent way” and that the process has proven difficult and confusing for patients and families.

In its report — one of two released Thursday looking at continuing care in the province, — the council recommends Alberta Health Services develop a provincewide policy for transitioning people to long-term care. It should include input from patients and families and eliminate any “threatening or punitive” elements such as the existing policy that charges patients $100 per day if they refuse a first available bed, the report says.
It also recommends an appeal process be created.

In April 2013, Alberta Health Services formalized a policy saying the first available long-term bed could be within 100 kilometres of a patient’s first-choice facility, in an attempt to clear a backlog in acute care hospital beds.

The policy, suspended a year ago, has been slammed by critics as “divorce by nursing home” because some couples were placed in separate, far-flung facilities.
The report also recommended the health authority develop better methods for measuring the demand and capacity for available beds.
Public Interest Alberta seniors task force chairman Noel Somerville said the report failed to address the underlying lack of public long-term care beds in the province.

“The government needs to invest in building enough capacity in a public seniors care system rather than giving millions of dollars to corporations to build lower care assisted-living facilities,” he said in a statement.”

Perhaps with transparency and an honest appraisal of Alberta’s seniors needs, a fair and adequate placement procedure for long term care can be implemented.


SENIOR ABUSE: Young Women Dies making an attempt to Escape


Care needs to be an individualized service. Not all people can be cared for in the same way. The story of Diane is a reminder that no matter what the disability,

injury, or disease – people need to be cared for based on their specific needs.
“On June 21, 2011, Diane Linder finished breakfast at her Calgary long-term care home. Alone on her balcony, she pulled a plastic patio table to the railing and climbed on it. Then she fell, landing about 4.5 meters on the ground below. Linder died in a hospital several hours later.


The 42-year-old woman had been living with a traumatic brain injury since she was 17. In 2005, she moved to Bethany Care Centre, a long-term care home populated mainly by elderly residents who need ‘round the clock care.” – BY JAMIE KOMARNICKI, CALGARY HERALD MAY 7, 2014

It is evident that environment plays a huge role in the care of someone, safety must always come first. The standards board need to take a look at some of the living conditions of our populations fragile and ensure that the individual is being properly cared for. The Bethany Care Centre is not the only party accountable for this preventable accident. In a setting where the majority of people are receiving “round the clock care” a fall of this magnitude should have never have taken place. Change is needed to prevent these shocking incidents from happening.


DEMENTIA: A Healthy Diet TODAY could prevent Dementia TOMORROW

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A healthy diet is extremely important for preventing illnesses later on. It has been proven that many diseases are caused by the food consumed.Read the article below on Healthy dietary choices in midlife and how it may prevent dementia in later years, according a doctoral thesis published at the University of Eastern Finland.The results showed that those who ate the healthiest diet at the average age of 50 had an almost 90 per cent lower risk of dementia in a 14-year follow-up study than those whose diet was the least healthy. The study was the first in the world to investigate the relationship between a healthy diet as early as in midlife and the risk of developing dementia later on.

“Eating a variety of foods low in saturated fats, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, predicted lower risk of cognitive decline later in life, a study of Finnish researchers found.

Eating right in midlife may prevent dementia later on, according to a new study published by the University of Eastern Finland. Results indicated those who consistently consumed healthy foods at the average age of 50 had a nearly 90% lower risk of dementia in a 14-year follow-up study compared to those who did not eat healthfully.

Researchers used a healthy diet index based on eating a variety of foods. “Healthy” foods included vegetables, berries/fruits, fish and unsaturated fats from milk products and spreads. “Unhealthy” foods included sausages, eggs, salty fish, sugary drinks, desserts/candy and saturated fats from milk products and spreads. Participants were between 39 and 64 years old, and 65 to 79 years old at the study baseline and follow-up, respectively. While 2,000 participants were involved in the initial study, 1,449 completed the follow-up.

Eating a large amount of saturated fats was linked to decreased cognitive function and increased dementia risk. Those who eat a diet high in saturated fats and carry the epsilon 4 variant of the apolipoprotein E (ApoE) gene are also at risk. This gene is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.

“Even those who are genetically susceptible can at least delay the onset of the disease by favoring vegetable oils, oil-based spreads and fatty fish in their diet,” says doctoral thesis author Margo Eskelinen, MSc. The thesis was based on the population-based Finnish Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Incidence of Dementia (CAIDE) study.

The Alzheimer’s Association recommends increasing intake of “protective foods” to maintain a healthy brain. These include dark-skinned fruits and vegetables such as prunes, raisins, red grapes, plums, blueberries, cherries, broccoli, spinach, kale, onion, red bell pepper, beets and eggplant. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts and pecans are also recommended, as are cold-water fish such as trout, salmon, tuna, mackerel and halibut. Increasing intake of vitamins such as C, E, folate and B12 is also considered helpful.

Study results were published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders and Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.”

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The importance of eating a healthy diet goes far beyond aesthetics. A healthy diet creates a healthy future. Dark red fruits and vegetables, and dark green vegetables are recommended. Increasing the intake of vitamins and minerals will also help to prevent disease and illness later on in life. Take care of today, and tomorrow will take care of itself.