In every phase of life, you needhealth-care support to maintain goodhealth.
Take Ada Emard, 89, who has livedalone in her Lethbridge home sinceher husband passed away eight yearsago. Emard doesn’t think of herselfas a regular health-care user as she’smanaged to mostly keep up her goodhealth. But a major reason for this isher regular visits to her family doctor,a key to staying healthy.
“My doctor is very good to me,”
Emard says. “The care I receive is
Emard also eats healthy food,
getting her daily requirements of
meat, fruits, vegetables and milk. “I’m
not a toast and tea sort of person,”
she says. Plus, she goes out every
week to her local seniors centre for
coffee and socializing.
She has had incidents over the pastfew years, such as when she had aracing heart and was admitted tohospital. But after seeing specialists,Emard is controlling the conditionwith medication.
At the time of Emard’s hearttrouble, her daughter, ClaireMcCrank, asked for a review to seeif her mother needed home care. “Ahome care case manager visited her,did a brief assessment and then keptin contact over the phone for the nextfew months,” McCrank explains.
The visit helped reassure Emard’s
In every phase of life,you need health-care supportto maintain good health
The support you need
family she was still able to look afterherself at home, and Emard wascomforted in knowing about theservices available to her. Anyone mayrequest such an assessment with noreferral. “And, we can call at any timeand have them come back,” McCrankadds.
Axsel Iversen in Calgary is wellacquainted with seniors’ health-carefor both of his elderly parents. Muchof it was made easier because he andhis siblings had discussed end-of-lifecare with his parents when they werewell, making use of advance careplanning.
“We had written out personal
directives years ago,” Iversen recalls.
“[Our parents] made it very clear
to us that they never wanted to be
kept alive by machines. They didn’t
just want to be alive; there had to be
So, in 2008, when his father Paul
was in the hospital with terminal
cancer, the family decided to move
him to hospice care.
“Just knowing the options really
helps. They took wonderful care of
him, and it was a great experience as
far as dying can be.”
Shortly after, Iversen’s mother Bella
moved into supportive living because
she couldn’t manage on her own. She
later suffered a stroke, and a number
of other illnesses and injuries over
the next three years.
Bella’s dementia worseneddramatically and in the summer of2013, she had a heart attack. Iversenand several of his six siblings rushedto the hospital where Dr. Harbir Gillexplained her condition to the family.
“We talked about her goals of care.
(Gill) was very good, and explained
what we could do. He made
everybody feel comfortable so we
could agree about what we wanted
Bella’s wishes were respected and
she was kept comfortable until she
passed away four days later.
Advance care planning made
all the difference for the Iversen
family. “It’s important to have those
conversations because otherwise how
do you know?” Iversen emphasizes.
“You need to feel confident that
you’re doing what they want. There
was no distress in our family for
how we cared for Mom. We all knew
that in the end, we knew what she
Ultimately, aging doesn’t have
to be a negative experience for you
or your loved ones, especially if
you’re proactive about health-care
knowledge and decision-making.
“Feeling old is often thought of asfeeling tired, slow, in pain, lonely,bored, useless; but feeling old is alsofeeling wise, satisfied with a life welllived, and engaged in contributingto today’s issues from a lifetime ofexperience,” Silvius says.