When you reach your old age, do you want to be suddenly uprooted, perhaps when you are already feeling vulnerable due to a neurodegenerative disease or reduced mobility, or would you rather live your golden years in the place you call home? When you have a conversation with an older relative about their future, it’s important to put yourself in their shoes and listen to their anxieties and concerns. As many as 90 percent of seniors in Canada admit that they want to grow older in the residence of their choosing, which for many means a decades-old family home, though for others it could mean their children’s family home or an in-law suite.
For many, home care can mean daily visits from a caregiver that last a few hours, in which time the caregiver will perform some light house work, prepare meals, or help your older relative run errands, get to appointments, or just enjoy the park. However, if your loved one is suffering from a chronic medical condition that impedes their mobility, vision, or cognitive ability, you may need more hours of attention. If your older relative lives in a larger home, live in care may be a sensible option for making sure that they can age at home safely.
Live in care requires that you have enough room to adequately house a caregiver and it is not the same as 24-hour care; the caregiver requires time off and their presence in the home at night is more of a reassurance in case of emergency. If, for example, a loved one living with Alzheimer’s is prone to wandering and has been found outside of the house, disoriented, late at night, or your loved is undergoing palliative care, an agency like Toronto-based Mavencare can arrange for two or three personal support workers to attend to your loved one in shifts, without interruption. When a live incaregiver has time off, you may want to bring in a second PSW or, if you’re able, assist your loved one yourself.
A live in caregiver is responsible for a number of things, including cooking and light housework to assisting your loved one with activities of daily living (such essential tasks as eating, bathing, and dressing). They also provide your loved one with companionship, an important aspect to all home care services in Toronto, especially as the benefits of socialization and game playing in Alzheimer’s treatment comes to light with further research. Mental stimulation is an important part of reducing discomfort and stimulating your loved one’s long-term memories (early Alzheimer’s affects short term memory the most, and only later are episodic and procedural memory affected).
A caregiver can also help manage your loved one’s medication, a process you can keep an eye on thanks to tools like the app developed by Mavencare, which allows you to update through the app your loved one’s medication schedule as required and receive notification when it’s been completed. Smartphone apps mean that you can manage live in care with just a few taps and always stay connected to your loved one living with dementia.