Comfort Life - Your guide to retirement & care

Decisions About Senior Care

Knowing when to move and when to stay put 

When a senior is about to leave hospital it can all seem very confusing-where will she go and who will help? Is long-term care appropriate? Does he need assistance at home?

So it comes as a relief to discover there is a professional-a discharge planner-ready to step in and help.

"We are usually alerted right away," Andrew says. Patients about to be released are put in touch with a Community Care Access Centre if they need home help, long-term care or some other living arrangement.

Beyond that, there are many resources-rental programs for wheelchairs and other equipment, mental health services, meals on wheels, and many more.

The discharge planner, who usually has a social work or nursing background, also guides patients and families through the inevitable paperwork before a doctor signs the discharge order. In the end, though, it is up to the patients and their families to decide which options to accept.

'Not ready for a Nursing Home': Doris Pacek is staying put

Her voice is filled with laughter, disguising the steel that lies beneath. Doris Pacek is 82. She has a soft cloud of silver hair and stands five feet high. Just.

Twelve years ago, she fell coming up the front steps of her downtown Toronto apartment building and hurt her right arm. She still can't lift things. She has bad arthritis in both legs and needs a walker. She has survived several heart attacks. She lives in a cosy, cluttered book and plant-filled apartment - but it's on the second floor of a building with no elevator.

Yet she's not moving.

"I'm not ready for a nursing home," she says. "I still have my brain and my tongue. I've lived here for 20 years. It's home."

Her family wants her to move into a nursing home, she says. She can defy them because she has Blanca, her Personal Support Worker, three mornings a week.

One day Pacek tried to take a shower by herself. She struggled even to get into the bathtub, she says. She ended up lying in it.

"I couldn't get up by myself," she recalls. "We were going to call the fire department, but then I managed to get up on my knees and my worker knew how to hand me the walker. After, we laughed so much. It was funny."

Most days, though, Blanca helps in other, less dramatic, ways.

"She makes sure my clothes are clean and I'm clean," says Pacek. "She does my food shopping. "I don't know what I'd do without her."

Find out more about all your options when it comes to searching for senior care.

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