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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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Dementia and Aging Aren’t Synonomous

25 Jun

I had my introduction to dementia on my uncle’s 91st birthday. He had been hospitalized and it was the first time I heard the term Lewy Body disease. Prior to his late 80s my uncle’s retirement years were anything but typical: at 65 he started a business and ran it quite successfully for well over 20 years. He read voraciously and could converse about complicated subjects with utter confidence.  He lived independently and his only health complaints were poor hearing and arthritic knees.

Looking back, signs of my uncle having dementia appeared long before that visit to the hospital. But I mistakenly believed those indicators were part and parcel with aging. I naively thought his increasing habit of repeating the same story over and over again was funny. It was only after he had several falls and started swearing at me that I suspected something more than normal aging was at play.

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Except for the Memories,We Fade Away

26 May

It has  been a year since we unveiled my uncle’s monument.  I am certain that both his life and his death following a four year struggle with Lewy Body disease have made me a better person. This is a look back at the time shortly after his passing in December, 2012.

My uncle before Lewy Body got to him.

My uncle before Lewy Body got to him.

Earlier today I got really emotional when I saw my uncle’s hand-writing on a document I had just been given. Why I could get so choked up over a set of initials in blue ink got me thinking about how quickly an ordinary person’s mark on this earth fades away after death. No matter how extraordinary that individual might be to us, the signs of their presence within the context of the greater world will inevitably become fainter and fainter with each passing day. So much so, that even the smallest reminders of a time before my uncle’s descent into dementia are reason to rejoice. Or in my case, tear up.

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More on Montessori for Seniors

20 Mar

In my earlier post today about the similarities between people with dementia and very young children, I briefly mentioned Montessori methods as being good for both age groups. The following video shows how one retirement home in Toronto uses Montessori techniques as part of its dementia care programming.

When my son was two, he was given the same clothes pin exercise while attending a Montessori. It helped with his fine motor skills

The L’Chaim Retirement Home is on Sheppard Ave. west of Bathurst St. I’m not familiar with it, but might have to check it out for my mother.

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Recommended Reading for Anyone Who Cares About Dementia Care

24 Sep

“4 Countries With the Right Approach to Dementia Care | Care2 Healthy Living” http://feedly.com/k/16y3ERy

Fees for Long Term Care in Ontario

15 May

In Ontario, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care pays for the care an individual recieves while living in a long term care home. But residents are responsible for accommodation costs which are standard across the province. This means the cost of a bed in a well-run or newer home is exactly the same as the cost for a bed in a poorly run or delapadated older home.

As of  July 1, 2012 the rates for subidized beds in Ontario are:

Type of Accommodation Daily Rate Monthly Rate
Long-Stay Basic $55.04 $1,674.14
Long-Stay Semi-Private
Residents admitted to a newer LTC home
$64.04 $1,947.89
Long-Stay Semi-Private
Residents admitted to an older LTC home
$63.04 $1,917.47
Long-Stay Private
Residents admitted to a newer LTC home
$74.79 $2,274.86
Long-Stay Private
Residents admitted to an older LTC home
$73.04 $2,221.64
Short-Stay $35.63 N/A

If  the person you are concerned about is deemed eligible for a long-term care home, they can not be refused regardless of whether they can afford the fees. If you are considering long term care for a loved one and have not started the process already, you will need to start by contacting your local  CCAC.

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