Q) Who will help me drive my brother to the doctor? He’s missing appointments because there is no one to take him.
A) Depending on the type of appointment, you might be able to draw assistance from federal or provincial organizations such as the Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Red Cross, Seniors for Seniors, the Patient Transfer Network or Ontario Works. Municipal organizations like para-transport in Ottawa and DARTS (Disabled and Aged Regional Transport System) in Hamilton also exist. Your brother’s general practitioner might be able to assist you in finding methods of transportation for his healthcare appointments as well.
Q) What does homecare cost and does the government pay for it?
A) Governments may offer financial assistance for homecare services. A conversation with your family practitioner can help you understand the process and how the system works; alternatively, he or she could give you a number to call for more information. Eligible candidates will receive a visit from a registered staff member of the homecare organization (in most cases called a case manager or care coordinator), who will discuss the individual’s needs and conduct an assessment of their abilities. From the information gathered, a plan of care will be developed to coordinate a range of services. If the individual qualifies for homecare, they would not have to pay for a certain number of hours. If you feel more assistance is needed than what will be provided, you can pay privately for more. Many insurance providers will also help cover the costs of homecare.
Q) Where can my mom go to meet new friends? She’s lonely but doesn’t have a car or much money.
A) There are many ways for your mother to meet new people without spending a lot of money, if you help her. The daily newspaper might be a way for her to check for church events, social groups or associations. Many of these communities schedule regular trips such as lunches and seminars for seniors. Cultural events are another way for her to meet friends. Watch the media for book signings, art openings and other similar activities. Help her to find things that might interest her. Community centres and shopping malls often have seniors’ groups that meet regularly for various activities—from tea time to walking clubs and swimming lessons. Last but not least, volunteering is another great option. Even during pandemic times senior volunteers are always needed. Your local government agency (community care) might be able to arrange for a volunteer to visit your mom too.
You could also call the local community care centre to see what they can arrange for transit. Some have other seniors who volunteer and visit older adults at home to keep them company and play cards, etc.
The questions in this issue of Caregiver Solutions were answered by the experts at the Canadian Abilities Foundation and Canada Cares (www.canadianabilities.org).