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Have You Had the Talk?

20 Aug

The best time to talk to the older people in your life about end of life matters is when they are still able to make decisions for themselves.

If the elderly people in your life haven’t had “the talk” with you and aren’t likely to do so, then you need to have the talk with them. And it’s best to do it sooner than later.  Believe me, carrying out a person’s wishes is much easier than having to decide for them.

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Watch Out for Well-Attired Caregivers

21 Jul

Sadly, elder abuse is far more common than most of us realize. It’s certainly not an unfamiliar concept to me. Both my mother and my late uncle were victimized by paid caregivers.

A few years ago,  my brother and I were given three hours notice that my mother was to be released from hospital but would require around-the-clock care for several months. We didn’t have a clue how to hire a care giver. All we knew was my mother really wanted to go home and the hospital wanted its bed back.  Lorna was the only applicant I spoke with and I hired her immediately. She seemed trustworthy and competent. And she was immediately available.

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Tribute to an Excellent Caregiver: Yes They Really Do Exist

18 Jul

Having written about Lorna, one of two caregivers I had to fire for cause, I think it’s only fair I devote time to Lea, the best PSW I hired. In case you’re curious, between my uncle and my mother, there were nine.

Lea was my Uncle Benny’s caregiver during the last years of his life. She was hired after I let four others go when he moved into Cummer Lodge, a long-term care home.  I didn’t think he would need private caregivers in a nursing home, but I was very wrong.  After two weeks of daily calls about frequent falls and aggressive behavior, it was  becoming clear my uncle wasn’t getting as much care as he needed. But by then the people I let go had all found new jobs.

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My Little Black Book

17 Jul

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If someone you love is living in a long term care home, chances are you have a version of my little black book. I have another one for my mother, but I kept this one next to my bedside phone so I could scribble down notes for the many calls I took relating to my uncle.

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ADLs & IADLs

1 Jun

If you have an elderly person in your life, you’re going to hear a lot about ADLs and IADLs.

Basically they are all the things we do for ourselves every day that we take for granted.

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Does the CCAC Really Work for You?

22 Apr

If you live in Ontario and are responsible for overseeing the personal affairs of an aging relative, chances are you’re already familiar with the CCAC.

The CCAC received $2 billion from the province in 2012 which amounts to slightly less than 4.6 per cent of Ontario’s total health care spending. It is a centralized body created to connect individuals with health care services, some of which are subsidized and some of which are not.  The acronym stands for Community Care Access Centre.  Although CCAC exists to coordinate health-related services for all Ontarians, almost half of its clients are over 65.

If you were to read the CCAC website, you might think it is a wonderful organization staffed by highly qualified individuals who are committed to making the life of every Ontario citizen that much better.  I’m sure there are some excellent professionals employed by CCAC . I am just not convinced there are enough of them, or enough services, to properly meet the needs of an already increasingly aging population. Additionally, I find it alarming that postings for CCAC case managers ask for only one year of work experience.

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Money Meant for Patient Care Not Going to Patients

18 Oct

I recently read an excellent article detailing one man’s attempts to get answers about how much of Ontario’s health spending dollars that are earmarked for community and home care actually go to patient care.

According to Dave Williams’ investigation, of every dollar from the province to the CCAC, only 50 cents goes directly to patient care.

Crusading for truth in health spending.

What is even more alarming is that  Deborah Matthews, Minister of Health and Long Term Care for Ontario dismissed Mr. Williams’ complaints with a terse letter.

I don’t know about you but I think our seniors need more people like David Williams watching out for them. If you’re unhappy with the CCAC’s lack of transparency and  Minister Matthews’ response to Mr. Williams’ audit, pleaselet her know that issues relating to long term care require always require a second look. Ms. Matthews email address is dmatthews.mpp@liberal.ola.org

And please let me know what you think about what Mr. Williams uncovered?

 

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