There were 6.2 million adults aged over 65 years living in Canada in 2017, and this number is only growing.
Because of this, many individuals are having to take on the role of caregiver for their loved ones. Caring for senior adults requires a high level of attention, time, and love.
If you're not an experienced caregiver, caring for a senior adult for the first time is overwhelming and stressful, especially if you are the child of an ageing parent. You'll need some help and trusted resources.
We're here to be one of those resources. We've provided a guide below containing the information you'll need for taking care of aging parents.
Understand What Provincial Health Insurance Covers
When caring for aging parents in Canada, it's imperative you understand how healthcare operates within the country.
Many healthcare and medical needs are addressed through publicly funded provincial systems. While Canada is known universally for free healthcare, those living in Canada know things that are 'free' in one province may not be in another.
For example, ambulance fees are covered by the public government in Manitoba while they aren't covered in Alberta. However, some nursing care services are covered in Alberta while not being covered in Manitoba.
Because power is divided up between the federal and provincial governments, double-check what services are included in your province's public insurance.
It's recommended to purchase private insurance, if able, no matter the territory you and your parents reside in. It's better to be safe than sorry, especially with your elderly parents' growing medical needs.
Do you and your parents live in Ontario? If so then you are familiar with the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). Funded services under OHIP include ambulance, prescription, optometry, GP, and physiotherapy services.
Make Sure They Have Travel Insurance
Now that you have health insurance covered, it's time to get settled with travel insurance. As we know, travel is very popular among seniors.
Many places around the world are slowly opening up again so it's important to guarantee your loved ones are covered in the case of an injury, sickness, or medical emergency. Elderly adults can get the travel bug too!
Using Insurdinary to get travel insurance quotes is quick and easy, especially if you're in need of travel insurance for seniors with pre-existing conditions. Pre-existing conditions may include, but aren't limited to, heart disease or diabetes.
If your parents are planning an upcoming trip, read through the requirements of the insurance coverage ahead of time. Many insurance plans require a stability period. Always be transparent with insurance companies about the pre-existing conditions your parents are experiencing.
Depending on your plan, most travel insurance plans cover emergency medical visits, emergency ambulance rides, the expenses required to bring a loved one to your bedside, and emergency dental treatments.
Break out the suitcase! It's time to start travelling.
Discuss Retirement Options
When dealing with aging parents, set aside time to discuss retirement options. Some parents may dread the conversation while others have been waiting years for the time to come. They might already be packing their golf shirts.
Ask your parents if they plan to stay where they are or if they want to move to a new location. No matter where they go, guarantee they have nearby medical, emotional, and social support. Create a list of contacts to keep handy if you aren't able to go with them.
Encourage your parents to find new hobbies or try new things after they retire. They might want to give painting another shot, start visiting local parks, or get into baking. There's something for everyone to enjoy.
If they move away from you, help them establish a connection with a local physician. Knowing a trusted professional in their area will give you peace of mind while you're away.
Are they struggling with retirement and their old age? Many senior citizens develop depression due to losing mobility, independence, etc. Connect your parents with a therapist to address their mental health.
Where to Live
Luckily, Canada has plenty of beautiful and exciting areas to live in for senior adults. Spend time with your parents checking out the list of possibilities.
Lovers of nature and slow days spent walking the town should check out Vancouver, British Columbia. Residents are near mountains and the beach and have plenty of opportunities to try delicious local bites and brews.
Those searching for a great place at a lower cost need to look into Calgary, Alberta. There are plenty of hobbies and events for senior citizens, and your parents will love the mix of city life and nature.
Do your parents want to live life by a lake? Look no further than Greater Sudbury, Ontario. There's no shortage of scenic views and things to do in this town.
Sports lovers rejoice in the city of Toronto, Ontario. Encourage your parents to explore the city life as they cheer on the abundance of sports teams in the area. They'll never be a dull moment.
For a small-town charm, look into Golden or Ucluelet, British Columbia. These towns are great for those looking for a peaceful and quiet retirement. Nothing beats a hot cup of tea or coffee on a silent, sunny morning.
Understanding Caregiving Options
Taking on the responsibility of being a caregiver places a large weight on your back. It's an honourable role that isn't recognized enough. Reach out for the help and recognition you deserve if you're taking care of aging parents.
The Canadian Caregiver Credit
This new tax credit replaces the Amount for Infirm Dependents, the Caregiver Amount, and the Family Caregiver Amount. It merges it all into one, allowing you to forget the stress of applying for 3 separate tax credits.
Before applying for the CCC, double-check the requirements. You're typically able to claim it if your spouse is mentally or physically disabled, if you're caring for your disabled spouse's child, or if you're supporting a parent or grandparent.
Support, while it looks different for every family situation, is defined by an individual relying on you for basic physical and medical needs. These needs include getting dressed, using the restroom, making food, or taking the proper medication.
There are several factors that affect how much tax credit you're able to claim. Factors include how you're related to the individual and their net income.
Make sure you have all the necessary documents in line to apply for the CCC. Documents needed include a signed note from a doctor and proof of income documents from your parent's bank.
Seek Support for Your Needs
Caregivers should also take the time to understand their own needs throughout the process beyond the financial. Caregiving is mentally draining and physically exhausting for most.
If you're caring for senior parents, develop self-care routines and self-soothing techniques to support you. This may look like getting to bed at a decent time, requesting your spouse help out with your kids more, or regularly seeing a mental health counsellor.
Reach out to your siblings and other relatives about helping care for your parents. No single family member should carry the responsibilities on their own. Create a rotating schedule of care if you see fit for your family's situation.
Research Long Term Care Facilities
Many times, the responsibilities of caring for aging parents become too much for a child to handle. The medical needs may be outside of the child's skillset or the child may be struggling to find enough time to care for their own children. In these cases, it's time to research long-term care facilities.
Depending on the needs of the parent, there are plenty of healthcare facilities available. You might even be able to hire an in-home caregiver for your parent(s).
If you're having trouble finding an appropriate long-term care solution, work with a brokerage firm that aids in finding senior care for families.
Assisted Living Facilities
Are your parents able to carry out basic functions with little help? Are they becoming bored due to not having many friends of the same age? Check out assisted living facilities.
These facilities allow elderly adults to maintain a sense of independence. They also promote socialization. Your parents will meet plenty of people their age while they participate in an array of activities.
Before enrolling and moving into an assisted living facility, work out a budget and financial plan with your parents. These facilities can rack up in costs so be prepared.
Bring medical attention to the safety and comfort of your parent's home by hiring an in-home care agency. This type of long-term care is especially beneficial for those living with dementia.
In-home care allows for your parents to stay in the home they love while getting the assistance they need. Develop a clear list of tasks to give the caregiver, and check in to make sure all needs are being met.
Chat with the caregiver's agency to guarantee they've received proper training and certification. This is even more important for elderly individuals with extreme physical illnesses and injuries.
Even if you're able to be around the home with your parents, hiring in-home care takes the weight off your back. You'll have the time and energy to complete other tasks while the caregiver is with your loved one.
Dealing with Resistance
As they age, many elderly adults become more resistant to long-term care. They feel as if they must prove they're still able to independently carry out their daily tasks, or they don't want to move from the home they've lived in for many years.
Prepare yourself for possible resistance when exploring long-term care options, and have an honest talk with your parents about why it's the best option. Make a list to show them all the benefits of living in a retirement community or assisted living facility.
Explain that you're unable to address their important medical and physical needs. They deserve around-the-clock care, but you're not able to meet those expectations.
Allow room for them to express their concerns about long-term care. Show them their voice is heard.
Chat About a Will and Assets
Don't let the talk of a will and assets strike fear in your family. Even if your parents are healthy and well, it's best to go ahead and start sorting things out ahead of time. Life favours the prepared.
Deciding how to split assets is imperative for any family. It saves a family from fighting over how things are going to be split up, and it honours the wishes of the one who has passed.
If you're fearful of difficult family members becoming greedy over the estate and assets, chat with your parents' lawyer about how to mitigate potential issues. Guarantee the lawyer will be fair in respecting and upholding the wishes of your parents.
You Aren't Alone
Seeing the effects aging has on your senior parents can be discouraging or frightening for many children. Remember you aren't alone in this process.
Reach out to family members and other siblings for the help you deserve as a caregiver. Show your children how to perform simple tasks to help out if they're old enough. Delegate tasks around your own home to your spouse.
Lean on the community resources around you. Many community centres or religious organizations offer senior programs or help with food, money, and shelter. Chat with your local or provincial government about any financial grants to cover the costs of medical bills and long-term care.
Seek emotional support groups in your areas to connect with those who are also grieving the old age or passing of a loved one. Finding people who understand will give you the encouragement you need.
Help in Taking Care of Aging Parents
Taking care of aging parents isn't easy for anyone. Caregivers take on a large amount of physical, mental, and emotional weight to help the ones they love.
Educate and support yourself and your elderly parents by understanding healthcare insurance plans, travel insurance, long-term care options, and possible areas for them to retire to. Make sure you're receiving the support you need throughout the process.
Save yourself time and trouble by using Insurdinary to compare insurance quotes and banking options. We have the tools you need to guarantee your loved ones are protected. Get an insurance quote today.