Good morning everyone I'm Amy Friesen and this is Artful aging with a me as many of you already know I run a business called tea and toast where my team and I assist families and navigating their senior living options.
This is a huge job for most families when they're doing it all on their own for a research to tutoring and everything in between,
many families still feel as though they are unsure that they actually chose the correct home for or with their loved one.
My guest today is one of my Canadian Retirement Home Advisor colleagues and specializes in the province of British Columbia Stephanie Chan is the founder of home to home which helps seniors and Families
with care planning Transitions and Care Management as well as Mike Air Base which offers an online Marketplace
of pre-screened Senior Living Services to help seniors remain safely in their home for as long as possible welcome Stephanie thanks so much for joining me today.
Thanks Amy thanks so much for having me I'm so happy to have you on could you maybe tell us a little bit more about you and both of your businesses to give us a bit more context.
Yeah so I've been in a senior living industry for about 14 years I actually used to be a lawyer and I practice for 10 years and found it wasn't.
It's rewarding anymore as it was when I first started and I really wanted to focus on something different that really helped people directly rather than helping you know doing corporate law so.
In around 2007 and idea came about to help seniors with Healthcare navigation and making informed choices,
when it comes time to look at different living environments and all the decisions that come around that decision to move or not to move or
how viable is it to stay at home Etc so I started home to home in 2007 and then a few years ago I started my care base my second business because I saw a need for.
Families to have maybe a different slightly different Home Care delivery model and so we focus in my care based on helping families find pre-screened Caregivers for hire.
Wonderful well and both services are so important because also not everyone decision makes the same right so not everybody situations is same and not everybody
makes a decision the same some people want more help some people want more to do more research on their own so it's perfect to have kind of both and ends for that.
Stiff as you and I both know navigating the healthcare system to find the perfect blend of private and public resources can be quite a challenge
many people are on a budget were whereas others may be living in a remote area
and still others may have so much choice that it's overwhelming. Maybe let's first look at the private and senior living systems for those who are unfamiliar I'm referring to both retirement homes as well as private home care.
Stephanie could you elaborate on what a retirement home is what types of care they offer and what private home care is as well.
Sure so retirement home generally speaking is a residence where seniors can live.
In a group setting where every person has their own sweet and so these some of these sweets are just like any other condo that you are I might buy,
you can get them in different sizes ranging from Studios to two bedroom and den so they range from Maybe.
400 square feet and you can get some that are 1500 square feet so there's really something for everyone.
And these residences have typically a range of. In-house services and amenities to make your life easier because that's what retirement living is all about so some retirement residences are compared to like Perpetual cruise ships.
So typically what you'll find is housekeeping meals Recreation,
emergency alert buttons 24-hour concierge outings hair salon and so it makes your lifestyle really easy
some residences offer an additional level of care that we call assisted living and
Assisted Living covers more personal care so when people start needing help with things like medication administration.
Help us sharing either Hands-On or standby assistance typically you know getting up in the morning getting dressed all the personal hygiene tasks that are done in the morning,
I'm things like that so many retirement residences will have the basic supports that I talked about as well as in some cases that second tier of Assisted Living.
So then home care private home care. Takes everything that I just talked about and basically you can replicate all those services in the comfort of your own home so.
Let's say you have someone who doesn't want to live in a group setting for whatever reason they prefer to stay at home you can,
these studies hire a caregiver for whatever you'd like housekeeping and house chores cooking
taking you to appointments recreational activities as well as personal care ranging from Assisted Living tasks such as helping with sharing and dressing.
All the way up to higher levels of complex care that you might find in say a long-term care residents.
Well in many people confuse private and public resources and not only that but they have trouble finding out very much about either one so maybe let's go over what a public home is,
also called a nursing home or a long-term care or short form LTC and what types of care they offer and what public Home Care is can you give us an idea
sure so to start off with I would say generally the if you remember nothing else the basic differences between the private and the public system really
have to do with scope and cost so a public long-term care home is often associated with people who need.
Higher levels of care and that might be because they need dementia care or maybe they're really Mobility challenged.
And so they offer the highest level of care which sometimes people call nursing care or just full care and long-term care homes are funded by the province's health authority
so every province has its own system. For how they qualify each individual how they place them in order of priority
and what each individual pays for example in b.c. and individual placed into a public long-term care home would pay eighty percent of their net income.
And then there's a cap and so every Province will have its own formula and their own cap.
Public Home Care is also funded by each province has health authority and that's where the health authority sends community care workers into your home
to provide certain home care services so that you can continue living in your home without having to move
and typically the scope of what the public home care system can give you versus the private home care system is much more limited so the public system often is focused on helping with personal care
but the public system won't take your mom or dad to appointments they won't do housekeeping they're not going to provide companionship Services it's really much more focused on,
personal care and medications perfect and the other thing a lot of people ask as well and
I can answer from Ontario but I love your answer as well for BC you know can I if I have the public
Home Care can I bring that into a private retirement home with me as well here the answer is yes they won't duplicate the carer by any means
but if the home is we'll work with them or if they have an A La Carte style of
cure then you can actually bring in private sorry public care into a private home is that the same in BC.
Absolutely it is actually the same so if you're moving into a private retirement residents especially one that doesn't even offer in-house Assisted Living Services you can access the public home care services
and those community care workers will come into your retirement residence to help you.
Perfect perfect so in from my own personal and professional experience I have found that there are a lot of misconceptions around Saran,
surrounding and around Senior Living Stephanie have you found this as well do you find that there's a lot of misconceptions a lot of wrong information and if you have what type of misconceptions have you come across.
I find a lot of misconceptions also I would say in the years that I've been doing this business they seem to fall into different camps so the most common misconception because I think there's a little bit of sticker shock when you start researching the prices of some of these retirement residences is that it's very it's too expensive or it's
unaffordable or that it's you know much more expensive than me staying at home
and I think it's because people who have owned their own home it's for a long time and just aren't used to paying rent
and so there's a little bit of a shock when you start looking into it but when you really start doing a comparison of all the costs,
I'm staying at home and I don't mean just food and utilities that factoring things like Insurance homemade tenants property taxes
yard maintenance everything to do with maintaining a house and then you compare that to
the cumulative cost of the rent that you might. Incur at a retirement residence in many cases you'll find that there's not much of a difference at all and you have all the benefits of.
A retirement residence. If you choose that kind of Lifestyle where you have socialization and someone kind of watching and.
I'm being there in case of emergency and all the security so I think the first misconception is is the cost Factor it seems expensive but it's really not especially if you're going to be selling a house.
The second type of misconception is around people assume it's depressing.
People assume retirement residences are depressing gloomy you lose your Independence you know that kind of feeling and.
For those that are thinking that I would suggest you know do your research going some chores and don't.
Don't mix all the different categories of retirement residences and Care Homes into one bucket but really focus on researching the.
Level of care and the type of residents that you need and touring some of them if you
often if you are make your torpor going around lunch these places will invite you to stay for lunch and you can try the food and so just really educate yourself on what they're really like and don't
go off of what you hear in the news or what others have told you.
I think that's one of the big ones for that I hear as well as a lot of people take their friends suggestions or so and so is there and therefore that one is good or bad or whatnot and a lot of
independent seniors who don't need a lot of care look at retirement living as you know a place to go and die sometimes right and it's unfortunate because,
you know they don't have the full scope and that's kind of what you and I offer as well as really just educate people the other.
When we were talking about cost a minute ago to stuff is the other thing that I find and I love buta way and as well as that people don't take into account the mental cost of staying at home.
Longer than they should perhaps or in lieu of a move because they think something you know something about her terminal that's not true but people don't realize that.
Sure you can stay in your home but if you're in that situation where you're isolated there's a mental cost to staying in your home and that,
that's going to be quite Steep and it's not something that's super tangible so people don't actually usually take that into consideration if you come across this.
Yeah so I have two comments there I think the socialization that you get in a retirement residence is probably the most understated benefit.
Of being in a retirement residence because you don't actually realize the benefits of socialization until you're actually living there.
So we've helped many clients who have after the move have said but I knew it was going to be this good I would have moved sooner.
Right right because it's her time yeah you start making friends you join a bridge club you have movie nights and
you realize that there's lots of people who are going through the same thing as you or have you know in your start sharing your life experiences and laughter
and so the socialization and the impact on your Wellness is something that is often overlooked because it's so subjective.
The other thing I'll say is I always encourage people to be proactive so whether it's the thinking about.
Getting home care before you need it or moving before you need it the idea is to do it before you feel you need it.
Because if you wait and wait and wait. Sometimes what you'll find is you'll have a health incident and you'll actually LeapFrog over kind of the.
More independent choices that you otherwise could have chosen and then you're really limited so in choices so if you are proactive and you make a move where you get help.
Before you feel it's necessary you're actually.
Doing a lot to prevent an accident yep for sure it is really surprising how many families we both work with probably.
Then don't plan ahead and a lot of the families that come to us are in crisis they.
They've done exactly what you said stuff they've hot their hopped over, what they could have been doing what you know some people could be moving into independent living or independent retirement,
and you know Skip that full or skip whatever because they have you no other supports and they don't realize that you know in a in a retirement setting.
They're kind of taking out some of the extra that could cause a problem and I don't think people really realize how problematic fulls can be just Falls alone.
And a lot of people end up in hospital from a fall that never go home they have to go somewhere else they have to get care because that full that maybe they didn't think was that serious messed up a lot of stuff and so it's really hard to account for that,
and so that's why even planning is difficult but if you can kind of plan even Loosely to start you don't have to do everything at once but just one piece at a time and start going that way.
Everything will hopefully come together a little bit better for that individual so that you're not stuck in crisis because like you said if you get into a crisis you more often than not lose your choices
and you may not even be able to make your choices because it could affect you cognitively as well right.
Yeah yeah yeah and like you say a lot of people get placed out of hospital and then you're really Limited.
And the family is in a panic and you're making emotional decisions instead of rational when I was.
I totally agree with you yeah it's really really tough it's much more stressful on the family right so if you're you're a senior listening perhaps,
you know the planning you know maybe don't even think about it for you sure it is for you but maybe think about it as for your children or for the people who are caring for you because.
There's a lot of caregivers that are going to step in when things change but then they also come with all of their own.
Hurdles their own life their own you know schedules and stuff like that so it's a pylon is much more stressful so the more planning the better in my opinion.
Stephanie what are some of the warning signs that seniors can look for in themselves,
or caregivers can keep an eye out for a when their senior loved one or with their senior loved one that shows that you know things might not be too gray or it might be time to look into getting some extra care.
Yeah so I do have some warning signs to suggest for family caregivers and for those that live close enough to visit their parents,
sometimes it's easier to spot these warning signs but some of these you can spot even if you live far away,
through a zoom call or a regular phone call so you know you no particular order I would say you know.
Think about home safety so these are things that you can monitor over time so home safety is their current living environment still safe for them
do they have stairs in their house or they how are they getting around the house to are they still you know going up and down the stairs safely are they maintaining the home okay still so are they still.
Able to clean the home does it look tidy or is it starting to look a little less tiny than usual.
Also another thing to monitor is just their General cognitive function so and you can you know if you talk to your parents.
On a regular basis you should be able to notice things like cognitive decline memory issues and also like you mentioned earlier.
Be aware of their mental health as well so. During the last three years a lot of seniors have been isolated because they've been scared to go out her told her not to go out.
And so that isolation really takes the toll so mental Wellness cognitive function and then lastly just.
I kind of think about are they eating nutritiously take a look in their fridge and are they still taking care of themselves generally.
So some red flags would be noticing that they're wearing the same clothes all the time and maybe they looked a little disheveled and so warning signs that they're not.
I'm showering or taking care of themselves so all of these things the more red flags you see is going to lead you to the conclusion that maybe it's time to start that conversation.
One of the other things that often comes up is that there are a lot of ladies in their 80s right now that have always been super put together and they always wear the makeup they always dress nice and then all of a sudden they stop.
And you know sometimes families that go okay well that's you know maybe she's just you know done doing that or what not generally it's not though generally it's because there's something in the background preventing.
This woman for instance to get dressed up or to do her makeup or something like that so.
I would say also don't just assume that you know maybe they changed their mind and they don't want to do something anymore maybe ask a couple of questions to figure out what's going on.
And try to dig a little bit deeper and, with covid in the isolation and covid it's made it so much more difficult but something that's happened during covid as well as that there have been a lot more cognitive issues,
coming to light you know covid with the isolation has really caused a lot of. Cognitive issues and so now more than ever check in with your loved ones because things have definitely changed and it might have not been there
regular trajectory like what we what was happening or what you would think to happen but now with the extra isolation you know maybe have a look in and see if things have really changed and have a really good go through everything I would suggest.
One of the things that I notice sometimes is another thing to look for if you're the family caregiver is.
The person who loses some ability to make key decisions so the decision making process in their mind just seems a little bit different and if you're talking to your parent regularly again you might be able to notice this overtime and,
I'm sure you've seen this a lot where there's a little bit of a role reversal where the adult child becomes kind of like.
The parent in that you have to really guide your parents into making the right decisions Yeah It's Tricky and then there's always the don't parent the parent scenario they have talked a lot about right and it's it's you have to just be careful it's not to not do it you want to have the conversations you want to do it and they can be really tough.
But you just need to be aware that there's other things that are going to be at play and things that might come out of the woodwork because of it.
A question on many caregivers Minds is usually how do I convince my parent who's in denial that they have to make some sort of change Seth maybe you could give her audience some talking points or some directions around this.
The key I think is to start the conversation much earlier than you need to and start the conversation when there's no need to make a decision so you're just talking.
You're not asking your parent to make any decision so I think the wrong thing to do for example would be like your very first conversation you open with Mom I think it's time for you to move
like that that's not I could open a do that is not too bad but
you know there's certain things that are kind of less.
All right so maybe you know think about you know bringing over takeout
so they don't have to cook as much so little little things hey mom maybe we can bring you food once in a while so you don't have to,
cook every day maybe we'll bring over groceries so you don't have to go to the grocery stores often maybe we can hire a gardener so to take care of your lawn.
Maybe let's bring in a cleaner every couple of weeks so you don't have to do everything around here so small things.
If you really are at the stage where you really want your parents to start thinking about different living environments if you happen to know anybody.
Who lives in a retirement residence that is similar to what kind of you see your parent going to go visit them.
Have lunch with them and so it's more like a social visit it's not really a mom let's take a look at this retirement residence.
Absolutely and I love that you're on the same page as me is that you know don't just jump into this conversation I always I always tell people you know go over have a coffee have a tea you know by also if you want to talk about you know directly and you want to have a conversation if you're at that point
then you know maybe mention to your loved one you know hey let's do this let's have a lunch or whatnot I'm going to come over but you know while I'm there I have some concerns I really would like to address that with you would that be okay
and that way they also have some time to put their thoughts around,
so if you kind of lay it out there's no need to surprise anyone right it's going to make things worse so you know if you can just lay it I have some concerns about X,
could you mind if we chat about it I always say ask for permission right get them get the buy-in,
so that they are open to a conversation and maybe even have some notes that they want to talk about because maybe they've been thinking about it and you don't know.
And you know if it's a move to a retirement home for instance maybe they're like. They're thinking about it like you know whenever I move I want to go to somewhere that has a pool or something you know what I mean maybe there's some kind of thing on their mind,
but they just haven't got there yet so give them some time to you know think about some of that stuff perhaps.
Yeah the other tip I would have is if you are starting the conversation really early and many adult children are also Powers of Attorney.
As I'm sure you've experienced so if you happen to be the power of attorney your kind of steer the conversation from the perspective of.
A mom or dad since I'm your power of attorney there's some questions that I just time I want to know in case I ever need to act.
On an unexpected basis so I think most people can rationalize that the whole reason you've granted a power of attorney is there might be Wednesday,
that you can't make all your decisions yourself I think people know this and that's why they've done the power of attorney so if you're the adult child.
You say you know Mom if something were to happen I just want to know what would you want in these scenarios and that gets them thinking but they think that you're asking.
As a power of attorney in case something happens in the future. And that's another way you can kind of get at what their intentions are the kind of Lifestyle they would want and they might say yeah I want to be kept as most comfortable as possible.
Money is no issue just keep me comfortable right so then you know.
Well and might I add as well if you happen to be watching our show today and you are a senior make it a little bit easier on your family and open the conversation because a lot of people,
I don't want a conversation like this but the thing at the at the end of the day the thing of it is is that something is going to have to change eventually at some point in your life.
And so either we get there through crisis or we get there through planning and so if you happen to be watching this show in your senior take that into consideration and try to take off some of the stress because I can tell you,
as you know as a daughter it can be very stressful you know not knowing the pieces that I want to know to make decisions in my life so that I can support,
my family for instance right so. Maybe before we end stuff we could shift into prevention tips what can we tell our audience that will help them to limit the potential of ending up in.
I would say we've talked about some of this already but I would say start the conversation early and get help before you feel like you need it and involve other family members as well because.
No one wants to be left out of that conversation and so if you started early everyone gets to have their say.
And just keep be mindful of those red flags or those warning signs that I mentioned get help in the home.
Consider kind of home safety make home safety improvements one of the other preventive tips I would say is if you're worried about your parents
living alone one very very small change to make that's not intrusive at all is to get one of those emergency alert pendants,
Lifeline is kind of a common brand but there's others as well but if you're worried about your parent being alone,
one of those monitoring systems can help your parent if they happen to fall and they need help and so that gives
you as the family peace of mind that your mom's not going to be lying on the floor for hours yeah and that's what
unfortunately like I said Falls is a big risk factor and that is one of the things there's a lot of people unfortunately that come to URI or their colleagues.
That we hear these stories at all mom was on the floor for eight hours or whatnot and the longer people are on the floor,
is you know the worse it gets and that's why I was saying even in the retirement homes you know there's more likely going to be someone
much quicker to get to someone who is full so you don't have that elongated period as an example and that's one of the ways that things can be helped in the retirement living but again you know retirement living long-term care
Home Care it is your choice just make it make a choice actually you know make that your choice and don't just let the choice be made for you because you decided to stick your head in the sand I guess it's one of my
big tips you agree I would agree I agree it is a hard topic to discuss in it's often a hard topic to.
Wrap your mind around and most people I would say procrastinate yes and then it becomes too late your range of choices are limited.
So just kind of grasp the issue and make a decision.
You'll be much better off and in fact by making a proactive decision that's actually how you maintain control over your lifestyle yet a lot of people are worried about losing their independence because they've.
Made a decision or brought Karen or moving somewhere but in fact what I found is that you regain like you keep your Independence and sometimes people become even more independent because it didn't know things were weighing them down.
Yeah. Yeah yeah yeah yeah I'm getting the right help actually can open up the options and opportunities for you to do other things that you couldn't do before absolutely.
Absolutely yeah well our time has come to an end Stephanie thank you so much for coming on and helping me explain how Senior Housing Industry works and whole care industry thanks again I really appreciate it.
Thanks Amy thanks for having me perfect for more information on Stephanie head over to Artful aging with a me.com for her bio and her links,
and there you have it if you've enjoyed Today's Show please like and share with your network so that other families can find us more easily.
Thanks for joining us on Earthly aging with Amy for me to all of you I hope that you have a wonderful one.