Residential care for elderly parents: an overview

October 13, 2015

The children of elderly parents with deteriorating physical or mental health may be ill-equipped to provide the care they require. If you are in this situation, you may want to consider residential care as an option.

Residential care for elderly parents: an overview

Advantages of residential care

Residential care facilities for ailing, elderly people have well-established systems in place for providing the necessary care. Even the most organized families may not be able to establish such systems as quickly as an ailing parent requires. Care facilities provide patients with nourishing, therapeutic meals and there is always someone around to spoon- or tube-feed patients when required, as well as administer the proper medication at the right time. Furthermore, should the need arise, medical assistance is just the push of a button away.

Eligibility for residential care

For residential care in Canada, the general eligibility criteria require patients to be a Canadian citizen or carry a resident permit issued by the federal ministry for immigration. Patients must also have a life-threatening illness or have just been discharged from an intensive care hospital.

When do parents need residential care?

Sometimes, ageing individuals lose their cognitive abilities, develop behavioural problems and need physical assistance for even their basic personal care routine. In such situations, it can be challenging to provide the necessary care at home. Other health conditions such as disabilities or a recent ailment with a set recovery plan to improve functionality may also call for specialized professional care and skilled patient nursing.

Social and emotional needs

One of the biggest advantages of taking care of ailing parents in residential facilities is that they can get together with other residents who share similar interests and participate in supervised physical exercise, crafting, games, music and other activities. Of course, participation in these activities depends on a patient's health and personality. This community aspect of residential care plays an important role in meeting the social and emotional needs of patients.

Payment for residential care

The monthly rate for residential care generally covers rent, food, adequate heat, required medication and any health care services that may be necessary. For additional monthly fees, optional services may be available, including a personal telephone, cable TV, transportation, branded drugs in place of the standard ones provided, personal hygiene products, laundry services and companion services. When the financial resources of the patient's family are lower than the assessed monthly rate, there may be subsidized payment options in some cases.

The decision to place elderly parents in residential care is rarely an easy one, but it often turns out to be the best choice given their needs.

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