complex was temporary. Trusting her
son, the new resident refused to unpack
and instead lived among a warren of
boxes and luggage, recalls Choo. In his
desire to shelter his mother from the
truth, her son compromised her dignity
and her safety.
Far better to discuss a parent’s chang-
ing care needs early, often and honestly,
say caregivers and staff with AHS’s
Seniors Health. “The worst-case scenario
is a parent feeling forced into a facility,”
Choo says. “It wouldn’t sit well with the
children either, in the long run.”
Where to live, while crucial, is just one
piece of the puzzle. Solving the puzzle
begins with exploring options and
resources that could delay a move, or at
least make it less traumatic. Home care,
finances, equipment, home modifications
and help from family, friends and neigh-
bours are all considerations.
Getting beyond “no”
As often happens when adults age,
Annelies Knoppers’ parents resisted
moving from their Edmonton home, or
even having anyone but family look
after them. Yet her father’s escalating
care needs were more than his wife and
one nearby son could handle. Knoppers,
who lives in the Netherlands, says it
took many conversations, both on the
phone and in person, to nurture the
idea of asking for help.
Knowing her parents needed time to
work through the emotions underlying
their resistance, Knoppers pointed out
that exploring the options wouldn’t
commit them to any one course of action.
“Let’s just request an assessment, and
then we’ll see,” she said.
As Knoppers hoped, a visit by a home
care nurse to assess her father’s health
and living situation let her parents know
that such supports as help with bathing
or meal delivery would enhance rather
than take away from their independence.
Home care assessments can help fami-
• home care. Services that support seniors to live independently and
meet a senior’s needs in their own home.
• Comprehensive care at home. integrated care that provides
medical, social and supportive services so seniors with complex
needs can continue living at home. Such care includes the CHoiCE
(Edmonton), Bridges (Lethbridge) and C3 (Calgary) programs.
• Supportive living. Homelike settings offering room, board, personal care and other amenities. Some sites include secure environments
for seniors with dementia. Personal care homes are also available.
• long-term care. Settings with round-the-clock scheduled and
unscheduled care by visiting physicians, onsite registered nurses,
licensed practical nurses and health care aides. Best suited for for
seniors with complex, chronic, end-of-life and/or unpredictable health
needs, including behaviour that puts the resident and others at risk.
• request an in-home assessment. To start arrangements,
call Health Link Alberta at 1-866-408-LiNK (5465).
• Work together. Keep in close contact with the case manager who
co-ordinates the care team and makes sure a family doctor is involved.
Ask questions, learn all you can, advocate without being adversarial.
• discuss cost. Ask your case manager or social worker about
subsidies, or call your nearest seniors benefit office.
• Get beyond a hospital. if your elderly parent enters a hospital,
begin working with its social worker on a discharge plan. Additional
equipment and support at home, or time in a rehab facility, can avoid
a move to a higher level of care.
• Choose a place to live. For most seniors, the best option is to live
at home, but if a different setting is needed, ask your case manager
to help identify suitable facilities. Visit each one and ask about amenities, services, social activities and costs.