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Moving

When is the right time to move to a residence?
This whole process is so hard and overwhelming. Where do I start?
What about downsizing?

Selling the house

Sell the house first or find a residence first?
Who can help sell the house?

Retirement residences

Private or public residences: What is the difference?
What should we consider first when we start thinking about a retirement residence?
Can Mom bring her beloved cat?
What about waiting lists?
Are there places where a short term stay is available?
My Dad feels he will lose his autonomy if he moves to a residence. Is he right?
What types of services are found or offered in residences?
Is there flexibility in the services residences offer?

Helping Seniors’ services

Who has been helped by Helping Seniors in the past?
How long can the whole process of finding a residence take?
How quickly can Helping Seniors begin assisting us?

How to talk to parents about moving and understanding some lingo

How should I talk to my parents about moving to a residence?
Mom is now at the hospital, she may not be able to go back home. What next?

Needing Care

What do they mean by “He is deemed at 1.5 hours of care?”

How do I talk about this?

Not sure how to speak with your parents about their changing needs?
How should you address a loved one’s loss of autonomy?
Your parents refuse to discuss relocating. What can you do?
Feeling lost and alone when it comes to helping your ageing parents?
Fear for a senior’s wellbeing and feel something needs to change? What are your options? Hire help? Plan a move?
Why the Elephant that is found in the book Stay or Move?


Moving

When is the right time to move to a residence?

Do you feel safe at home? Are you becoming scared of going out? On a daily basis, are your everyday tasks getting harder or not getting done at all? There is an ideal window of opportunity that is the best time to relocate–when one has enough energy and when things are not too overwhelming. Once that window passes it simply gets more difficult and more overwhelming.

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This whole process is so hard and overwhelming. Where do I start?

Think of it as walking across a room–take it one step at a time. Try not to get overwhelmed by throwing everything into to the whole picture. Write down the big steps on paper then break them down. Prioritize them and then cross them off as you go along.

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What about downsizing?

Go one step at a time. First and foremost, determine where you will be moving to. Once you have a floor plan in hand, measure furniture to scale and see what fits. Remember that less is more! You do not want an overcrowded place. Helping Seniors does assist by creating a floor plan and helps determine what to move.

Should there be things to sell, give or throw out, Helping Seniors can help by referring professionals that can assist you.

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Selling the house

Sell the house first or find a residence first?

It’s wiser to research residences first to have an idea of where you will be moving. This will alleviate a lot of stress, too. Then put the house on the market.

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Who can help sell the house?

Helping Seniors can assist. We want to make sure the paperwork to be signed is clearly explained to you and that your timeframe is respected.

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Retirement residences

Private or public residences: What is the difference?

To have access to public residences, one must work with a social worker at the local CSSS or hospital. Public facilities are subsidized by the government, and one can expect a private or a semi-private (shared) room in these facilities.

Private facilities offer a variety of living spaces (from semi-private rooms to 4 1/2 apartments). Services found within these residences range from fully autonomous to full care. These facilities are not subsidized.

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What should we consider first when we start thinking about a retirement residence?

First, sit down and determine what you want and what your needs are. Do you need meals provided? An on-site nurse? What about the living space–how big would you like it? What is your budget? Do a complete overview of the situation. Once the overview is done you are ready to start researching to see what would be appropriate. Remember there are many residences out there, they are all very similar and at the same time all very different. You’ll see that once you start. Click here for our free guide to help you.

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Can Mom bring her beloved cat?

Not all residence allow pets. If your parent would like their pet to accompany them to the new residence, be sure to ask if pets are allowed when you first contact or visit the residence.

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What about waiting lists?

The usual rule of thumb is the larger the apartment, the longer the waiting list. Though on one given day, we visited five residences and all of them had apartments available. So you never know.

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Are there places where a short term stay is available?

Yes. Some residences offer short term stays, either respite (family going away on vacation but do not want to leave Mom alone during their absence), or convalescence (after a hospital stay, to help the person regain strength before they go back home).

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My Dad feels he will lose his autonomy if he moves to a residence. Is he right?

No. Retirement residences basically move the community closer to your Dad. They also encourage him to be as autonomous as possible. When he is in his apartment he can come and go as he pleases–it is his place. (The exception being if he needs supervision for his safety.)

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What types of services are found or offered in residences?

Residences where assistance is provided offer these types of services: personal care services such as the distribution of medication, bathing, dressing, personal hygiene, laundry, accompaniment to the dining room and so on. Other services such as bank, hairdresser, nail care, activity room, convenience store, library, computer corner are often found within the residences.

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Is there flexibility in the services residences offer?

Different residences go about it in different ways when it comes to offering services. Some offer ’package deals’ where all the services are included as soon as you move in. Others offer ’à la carte’ services where you add or remove services as needed.

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Helping Seniors’ services

Who has been helped by Helping Seniors in the past?

With a business name like Helping Seniors our phone rings and we never know what to expect from the person at the other end of the line. We strive to answer or guide the senior to help them solve their issue at hand.

So we have had people call to see if we can help them find a date, translate text, help them reach out to a dairy company as they could open their milk carton, to transportation for appointments, to home care, to ‘what is a retirement residence exactly’, to ‘please help me figure out this situation’.

Every request, every situation, every phone call is extremely different. We specialize in the broad question of to Stay or Move? which touches upon many different factors, family situations, health issues as well as the set-up of the house and the current support that is in place.

Here are situations where we have come in to help: Mr Smith, 86, selling her house and needs to downsize, husband has Parkinson’s; widowed seniors living in an apartment and willing to move to a residence to have access to services/care; seniors who are admitted to the hospital and cannot go back home to the current set-up they have; people living with Alzheimer’s, alcoholism, blind, malnourished……

It all sounds awful doesn’t it? Not to us.

Every life no matter the age deserves the best environment and the best quality of life. Not everyone is open to seeing how change can help. Through conversation and discussion we help see the situation as is and help the client know what exists as options and solutions so that the they feel comfortable moving forward and with confidence.

Our goose bumps come when we know we have helped a senior implement changes to their environment and where we know they will flourish.

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How long can the whole process of finding a residence take?

It is all about your timeframe. If there is a rush, we rush. If there is no rush then we go at a speed that is convenient for all involved. You are in control of how long the process of finding a residence and moving will take. We do our best to lighten your load along the way by handling all the legwork for you.

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How quickly can Helping Seniors begin assisting us?

Your timeframe is our timeframe. We have found a residence as quickly as in half a day (yes that included the visits, and the client called that same morning), yet another situation took two years because the client was on the fence about moving.

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How to talk to parents about moving and understanding some lingo

How should I talk to my parents about moving to a residence?

First, understand that this is a very hard move and often hard to accept. The best way to discuss it is to avoid heated discussions. Often your parents do not see their own situation as they are too close to it. Invite a professional to discuss the situation at hand with you. This will provide an objective point of view.

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Mom is now at the hospital, she may not be able to go back home. What next?

Talk with the social worker at the hospital to explore the different options. The social worker’s role is to come up with a plan to help the person go back home or refer her to specific services to help her go back home safely or to recommend a move.

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Needing Care

What do they mean by “He is deemed at 1.5 hours of care?”

Hours of care: the amount of one-on-one time spent to assist a person. For example, if a person needs bathing, which takes half an hour, plus medication distributed, say 15 minutes per day = 45 minutes of care per day. One and a half hours of care usually includes meals, distribution of medication, bathing, dressing and housekeeping. The time allotted for care is always considered case by case, as each situation is different and the services required differ for each individual.

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How do I talk about this?

Not sure how to speak with your parents about their changing needs?

Do you have increasingly persistent thoughts and feelings that things might be starting to slip a little at your parents’ home? It’s important to raise the issue with them, but remember that, like most people, they probably do not feel their age, so your approach may need a delicate hand. For example: if you notice that the mail has been piling up, ask them – without accusing them or pointing a finger – if they need help setting up a new system, or if they would consider having someone else start taking care of this task. This may apply to any number of different tasks around their home; try to point them out in a friendly and non-belittling way and without lumping everything together at once (which may feel threatening or overwhelming to them). Or perhaps they are simply ageing and you would like to encourage them to start planning for their future.

Recommendations

Bring up the topic outside of the home, where it is perceived as less threatening. Use a light tone filled with respect and positive energy.

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How should you address a loved one’s loss of autonomy?

If the loss of autonomy is progressive, it is a delicate topic that will require more of your time and patience. Approach it slowly but steadily. If the loss of autonomy is sudden, more immediate action will be required in order to address the multiple changes taking place at the same time. In any case, always try to put yourself in their shoes.

Do not be afraid of saying how you feel or what you see. Accept that your feelings and thoughts may differ from your loved one’s. If you are too close to the situation, is there someone who might be more objective? Do not hesitate to reach out for support and share your feelings with others.

Recommendations

Patience is a huge part of this process.

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Your parents refuse to discuss relocating. What can you do?

As opposed to widowed or unmarried seniors, couples often have their own way of approaching situations and may not ask for help as often. However, you may still want to raise the issue of whether their remaining at home is a feasible option. Does one of your parents require more assistance, thus relegating the other to the role of caregiver? How is he or she coping in this role? Do they perhaps feel overwhelmed, angry, and/or isolated socially? The thought of a move may seem unfathomable and can often prompt thoughts of the end of life and a fear that the two are closely associated. Understand that this step in life can take years.

Recommendations

Discuss it with them in stages, slowly and with a listening ear.

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Feeling lost and alone when it comes to helping your ageing parents?

You are far from alone. Take some time to yourself and try to put things in perspective. Who can you share your feelings with? Perhaps a family member, friend, professional, or support group.

Recommendations

Know that there is help and hope out there, and don’t be afraid to reach out.

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Fear for a senior’s wellbeing and feel something needs to change? What are your options? Hire help? Plan a move?

Speak with others who know the senior and ask if they share similar feelings. Explore the option of the senior staying home: the social aspect, the physical set-up, the specific assistance required and the financial situation. Perhaps hired help may be required for certain tasks. If so, interview carefully, ask for referrals and listen to your instincts. If hiring staff or staying home does not seem like a viable option, think about what facilities might be suitable. Consider area of town, budget and services provided. Visit them and revisit them. Once you have found the best option move forward with confidence.

Recommendations

Ask many questions, and evaluate every aspect thoroughly. Every option will have its compromises, chose the one with the fewest.

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Why the Elephant that is found in the book Stay or Move?

In case you were wondering, here is the story about how the picture of the elephant gained importance in this guide.

There is a short paragraph in the book that says ‘should you want to eat an elephant for dinner, do it one bite at a time’. My graphic artist received all the content and started to do the layout with images that supported the text. Once I received the draft back I thought it was ingenious of her to have put an elephant at the bottom of that page, but where did she get that image from? Why that particular elephant? I thought I had seen them somewhere before, but where? I asked her. Look at the image on the front cover, the elephants are on the mantle. I thought that was totally cool, because the elephants have been there from the start, one of the first things we did was choose that cover image! So the elephant stayed there until the end, he found his place.

Once the draft was nearing the final stages, before print, I felt that once the reader had finished reading this book that they have taken a bite out of the elephant so I asked my graphic artist to take a bite out of the elephant. And then my editor suggested a wallpaper of elephants. So there you have it!

Furthermore, speaking about a loss of autonomy or the ageing process is often like the elephant in the room. Putting all of that together makes it perfect for the elephant to provide support to this document.

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