Dementia Care Toronto
Finding proper care for all types of senile dementia
In this overview of your options for dementia care in Toronto, we focus on helping families of seniors who have been diagnosed with any disorder, including the lesser known vascular dementia, Parkinson's, and frontotemporal dementia, as well as Alzheimer's Disease.
Care available depends on a number of factors, mainly what stage of the dementia your loved one is at, and (in some cases) what kind of dementia you are dealing with. After consulting your Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), you will create a care plan. Care you are searching for at any stage may depend on the type of dementia, with diseases like Lewy Body dementia manifesting differently from Alzheimer's Disease and less common forms like vascular dementia, Parkinsonian, frontotemporal dementia and others.
Dementia care providers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)
Respite care, home care, and day programs in Toronto
During the early stages of most types of dementia you should create a long range care plan. Early on, home care services and adult day programs (some listed above) help family caregivers augment care. Toronto families typically minding a budget will provide their own caregiving as much as possible. While doing so, they should be advised of a number of GTA care services that can augment care they give.
Respite care is an important part of your care plan during the early stages of dementia. Families in Toronto will contact their Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) to find out if and when they qualify for subsidized respite care. In Ontario, the law allows families to take up to 90 days per year of respite from caregiving, in blocks of at least 24 hours, up to 60 days at a time. When you contact your local LHIN and/or health care provider, there will be a process to assess your need. You can access respite care services available from retirement homes (usually those with assisted living or long term care facilities), and you can also use home health care services under this provision. The advantages to this are many, but all of those add up to improved care for your loved one, and making you a better caregiver.
Home care services throughout Toronto help families enhance the care they give to their loved ones. Hiring a Toronto home care service can be a worthwhile help to many seniors and families throughout the GTA. The LHIN will assess your needs and tells you about services, including home care services. Contacting and hiring private home care services outside of the auspices of the LHIN empowers you to get the care you need when you need it, as long as you are able to afford this.
Adult day care programs offer many benefits for Toronto seniors, and families caregiving for them in early to middle stages of dementia. Seniors get out of the home and meet others in their community, form bonds with them, learn from their experiences, and (most importantly) participate in activities that can help with symptoms of dementia.
There are also publicly funded seniors' centres with programs throughout Toronto, but these may not have services tailored to the specialized care needs of those suffering from dementia.
Using Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs)
Aside from the main office for Central Toronto, there are regional offices covering other regions within the GTA, including LHIN offices for Mississauga Halton, Central West, Central (meaning Central Ontario), and Central East. These offices each cover a large area; they are a public health service of the government of Ontario. Services recommended by or associated with the LHIN may suffer space shortages, so people may have to wait for proper care. Private care services (like those listed on this page) bypass this problem. While private health care services cost money, families can use these in a targeted fashion, to get help when they need it.
Dementia care is not exactly the same as Alzheimer's care
While Alzheimer's Disease accounts for 60-80% of senile dementia, other forms of senile dementia manifest with different symptoms and can have very different pathologies. By and large, care facilities treat these different kinds of dementia the same as Alzheimer's. This is changing over time, with some of the subtleties of different kinds of dementia requiring some variations in care. Certain kinds of dementia, for example Lewy Body dementia, may be dealt with very differently in some contexts. We provide an overview of care for different dementias and how they may be treated differently in different environments on our fuller look at dementia care.
Here are some things to consider:
- Seniors suffering from Lewy Body dementia may be more aggressive than those with other kinds of dementia, and this form of dementia may be more unpredictable.
- Some care homes may not be ready to deal with Parkinsonian dementia, even though they might be well-prepared to deal with Parkinson's Disease. Typically, dementia may (or may not) manifest in later stages of the disease.
- Pick's Disease has more behavioral and personality changes including disinhibition, anxiety and irrational behaviour. Changes in personality mark it especially distinct from Alzheimer's Disease. However, Alzheimer's can also manifest as irrational and aggressive behaviour, so memory care facilities in Toronto will likely accommodate those with Pick's and frontotemporal dementia.
Corticobasal degeneration, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and other still rarer forms of dementia are often difficult to distinguish from Alzheimer's in symptoms, and in how they are treated. This may be under review as we learn more, and as health care sciences make continued advances. Consult with homes and home care service providers to learn how their services can help with the specific form of dementia your family member is facing. Learn more about the specifics of Alzheimer's care in Toronto.
The benefits of care
Families who feel they are 'yielding' to care may find difficulty in this decision but in the end this move forward is valuable both to themselves and their ailing loved one. Families should in fact feel entitled to a double sense of relief: on one hand, they no longer need to tend to personal needs of an ailing parent or loved one; on another, there is the relief of giving their loved one proper professional care that will excel in meeting needs in an objective, professionally caring manner. This will be the best answer to the complicated needs of someone who is nearing or living in the later stages of dementia.