What are the best elderly care options for a parent?

With so many options available for senior care, finding the right kind of support for your aging parent can be overwhelming.

We’ve created this guide to help you understand the different types of elderly care you’ll come across in your search, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Government Subsidized Home Care

Government-subsidized home care providers work closely with your family on a part-time, full time, or live-in basis to ensure that your elderly loved one receives the optimal level of care for their unique needs. The obvious benefit of subsidized in-home support is that the care is paid in part or in full by the government. The downside is that the level of senior care your loved one receives is ultimately decided by your care coordinator, and may differ from what you feel is needed.

Private Home Care

Private home care services are provided by two types of agencies: medical agencies and non-medical agencies. Most private home care agencies are advertised as non-medical services. this means that the owner of the service does not have medical credentials, and there are no medical professionals on staff. This means that the level of care provided to your loved one is limited to what a Personal Support Worker (PSW) is trained for. If you choose private home care for elderly parents, be sure to research the agency; legitimate services carry insurance, pay staff on time, and work to maintain a good reputation.

Live-in Caregivers

When done properly, live-in caregiving arrangements can be more affordable than hiring a private home care service. Unfortunately, many of these arrangements are made “under the table” and payments made in cash, putting both your elderly parent and the caregiver at risk. It’s important to be thorough in your screening process when hiring an in-home caregiver. Many applicants will be foreign-trained nurses whose credentials aren’t recognized in Canada. Nursing standards vary around the world, so you want to be sure you’re entering into a “legal” arrangement with the person you’re hiring.

Assisted Living Communities

Assisted living communities provide supportive care and housing to seniors who are mostly independent, but who need assistance with day-to day living. Assisted living communities are found in most Canadian cities and can take various forms: they can be sprawling gated communities in the suburbs or sky-scraping condominium towers in bustling urban neighbourhoods. Typical services provided in an assisted living community are meal service, laundry, assistance with bathing and grooming, exercise programs, and recreational activities. The downside to assisted living its high cost: residents can expect to pay $1,500 to $5,000 per month depending on the community’s location, amenities, and services. If cost is an issue, consider a subsidized community or a community that offers services on an individual basis.

Long-Term Care Homes

If your parent is no longer able to live independently or with moderate assistance, it may be time to consider a long-term option, such as a residential care home or a long-term care home. Long-term care homes are subsidized by the government and provide residents with a range of services, including meals, medication management, housekeeping, laundry, and social activities. As with other government-subsidized services, however, the level of care provided will be decided by the care coordinator. Private residential care homes offer the same services for a smaller group of residents (usually no more than 15). Residential care homes are a more affordable option than assisted living, with costs ranging from $1,500 to $4,500 per month, and can offer care comparable to that in a long-term care facility.