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Long Term Care, Retirement Homes and Home Care

Adventures in Eldercare May 2011

Last month I reviewed the various choices that aging seniors have when it comes to long-term care, retirement homes and home-care options. This month we are going to take a look at the costs associated with the various options. These figures may come as a bit of a shock to some people as research has shown that the majority of Canadians consistently underestimate the price of senior care.

Long Term Care Facilities (AKA Nursing Homes). You are eligible to live in a nursing home if you are over the age of 18, have a valid OHIP card and have health care needs that cannot be met with any combination of home-based or community-based care. The CCAC (Community Care Access Centre) determines if you meet these requirements. In Ontario, there is no Income/Asset test- anyone that meets the above three criteria can live in a LTC facility regardless of their financial status. The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care provides administration and health care costs for nursing homes. The residents pay the housing portion and it is referred to as a co-payment. The co-payment depends on the type of accommodation. These figures are current as of July 2010. For a basic standard room (usually in a ward with up to three beds), the co-payment is $1620.00/month. A semi-private room (two beds) is $1863.00/month and for a private room the co-payment is $2167.00/month. Depending on availability, wait times for LTC beds in Norfolk County range from 4 months to a year. The wait time varies due to the level of urgency, whether you are a veteran or if your spouse is already in a facility.

Retirement Homes. This type of accommodation provides meals, light housekeeping and 24 hour supervision, but does not provide medical care. Retirement home costs vary tremendously because you basically get what you pay for and they charge accordingly. In Ontario, the median price range for a private room is $2900.00/month. Costs range anywhere from $1329.00/mo. to $7750.00/mo. For a one-bedroom suite, add another $1000.00/month.

Home Care.

Medical: If you have a health problem that can be cared for at home, a CCAC case manager will assess your need and set up home-care for you. The number of hours of home-care you receive is determined by the case manager following provincial guidelines. This can vary from an hour a day, to 24 hours a day. If the health problem is resolved, the home-care will cease or if the condition deteriorates, the usual avenue of care would then be admission into a LTC facility. If you are in a retirement home you also qualify for CCAC funded home-care. As the CCAC receives funding from the Ministry of Health, there is no cost to the senior.

Non-Medical: If your physical limitations/health problems do not meet the CCAC guidelines but you still need assistance with the activities of daily living, you can choose non-medical home-care. Non-medical home-care is usually provided by Personal Support Workers and can range from $21.00 to $25.00 per hour. This is an excellent option for relatively healthy elder seniors that would prefer to stay in their own home as long as possible.

Dr. Bruce Veltri operates Victoria Eldercare, a non-medical home-care agency matching exceptional care-givers with elderly seniors, to help them maintain independence and remain safely in their own home. Victoria Eldercare can be contacted by phone, 519-429-2644 or the web-site,

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