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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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How Long is Too Long to Have to Wait for Subsidized Long Term Care?

20 Jun

According to Central Toronto CCAC, the nursing home my mother most wants to go to is still filling applications from 2003-04. Yes, that’s right. The wait time for Baycrest’s Apotex Centre Jewish Home for the Aged is TEN YEARS! Sad to say, but with all my mother’s ailments, she has a better chance of landing a spot in a cemetery than she does a bed in the place most-likely to meet her cultural and spiritual needs.

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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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Seniors Moments

27 Apr

Back for a visit with my mom. Retirement homes like hers in are marketed as lifestyle properties for “mature adults”. It is one of several  in Canada owned by Sunrise Senior Living, a publicly traded U.S. based company.

This residence has nine floors of luxury apartments for residents who need little or no assistance with activities of daily living. There is also a floor for people who need constant care and another for individuals with dementia-related illnesses.
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This gentleman lives on the assisted living floor. Right now he’s sitting in the gym with a caregiver and watching my son and his cousin go wild and crazy in the water. The smile on his face makes me wonder if he’s thinking about his own youth.

Insights Into Aging 101

22 Mar

Insights into Aging 101. Register now!

Residents of Toronto are fortunate to have Baycrest, a world leader in aging and brain health. Its “Insights Into Aging 101” is a one of a kind program for anyone who wants to learn more about the aging process.  Held annually,it will run on Thursday evenings between May 2 and June 6. These classes are very popular and fill up quickly.  Baycrest – Education at Baycrest – Insights Into Aging 101.

If you don’t live in Toronto, but you do live near a major city, it’s possible your local Alzheimer Society or health center offers classes or support groups for people who want to learn more about the aging process.

The New Sandwich Generation

18 Mar

I know of a woman who lived in a nursing home here in Toronto. This woman was 106 and had dementia. Her adult daughter come to feed her mother lunch and dinner every day for almost 20 years. One day, the visits stopped and the daughter was never seen at the home again. She was simply too tired to continue her daily routine.  The daughter was 88.

The label “sandwich generation” may be relatively new, but the concept of families caring for young children and aging parents at the same time has been around for centuries. What sets this sandwich generation apart is it is  the first generation in which a large majority of women work full-time outside the home. This is significant because women are far more likely than men to assume care giving responsibilities. Also noteworthy is our parents have a much higher life expectancy than their parents. And with advanced age comes the likelihood of more complicated health issues.

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Crimes Against the Elderly

15 Mar

The other day I awoke to a phone call from a stranger wanting the phone number for my late uncle’s private caregiver. My caller was desperate. Her 86-year-old father’s most recent caregiver had swindled him out of a large sum of money  involving tens of thousands of dollars. And then she left, leaving the man depressed and unwilling to eat or drink until he became so dehydrated he had to be hospitalized. Her story was sad, but what was most shocking to me was this woman had no idea her father’s caregiver was engaging in elder abuse. In fact, she had no idea there even was such a thing as elder abuse.

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