Government of British Columbia
This resource contains information on home and community care services.
Alberta Health Services Community Care Access
Determine which community resources and services are right for you with the help of this site.
Continuing & Long Term Care
These care facilities are operated by Alberta Health Services.
Continuing Care System
Alberta’s continuing care system provides health, personal care
and accommodation services to support independence and quality of life.
Health Link Alberta
This telephone support line provides health advice and information by telephone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Anyone in Alberta can access this service, which is staffed by registered nurses and other health care professionals.
Alberta Ministry of Seniors
This website lists provincial support services for seniors in Alberta.
Alberta Seniors Benefit Program
This is a monthly income supplement to federal income sources,
including Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement.
Greater Edmonton Foundation
Discover this not-for-profit seniors’ housing organization in Edmonton.
The Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton (SAGE)
This website includes many resources for older adults in Edmonton and area. Pick up a free copy of the Seniors Housing Guide at SAGE and other agencies serving seniors.
Government of Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
This site provides links to information on various housing resources.
Government of Canada Veterans Affairs Canada Long-Term Care
Access this brief overview of intermediate and chronic care
programs for qualified veterans and certain civilians.
Veterans Independence Program
Qualified veterans and certain civilians can remain independent
in their own homes and communities with the help of this resource.
Family members who provide care also deserve consideration. Caregivers face time pressures and financial concerns. Some are caring for children as well as their parents. Support allows caregivers to meet other obligations and look after their own wellbeing.
Any type of support should be based on respect. Ideally seniors should continue to make choices and control their own lives. Making the decision to accept help can ease the transition.
Accepting that you need help is not always easy. However, you (or your caregiver) may realize that you face challenges in your current situation. Consider your daily routines. How are you managing personal care? Is dressing, making meals, bathing, or taking medication becoming difficult? Does transportation, grocery shopping, managing money, or maintaining your home tire or concern you? Is it time to get some help?
It is wise to seek supports and resources before they are needed, and certainly before the situation becomes urgent. This way, you have time to consider all of the available options. Start by asking questions. Information can be accessed online, via telephone, by referral, or in person. The availability of some supports may depend on where you live.
You may have many questions, but look for one answer at a time. Your list of supports and resources may narrow as your needs become clearer.
When deciding which options are right for you, your need for support is one of the most important factors. Different home and community support services and residential settings offer varying levels and types of care. Ask yourself the following questions.
Preferences – What is important to me? What do I value? Each care option has advantages and disadvantages. Something that is an advantage to one person may be a disadvantage to another. For instance, do you enjoy social activities or prefer to be on your own? Is it important to you to be close to certain amenities like shopping or a library? If you are looking for residential care, would you enjoy being part of the hustle and bustle of a busy urban place? Would you prefer a more rural setting? Understanding your personal preferences is a key part in making decisions.
Support network – What help can my family and friends provide? For many people, family and friends are an important source of support. You may be able to meet some or all of your needs with this help alone. As you age, you may rely more on those you know, combined with support from service providers or agencies.
Eligibility – What services can I access? Resources are directed to those who need them most. For this reason, you must follow a process to determine your eligibility for service. The government sets guidelines and rules for various services. They identify how decisions are made and which people the resource is designed to serve. Other types of organizations also have eligibility guidelines. To learn more, ask your health care provider or contact the organization directly.
Availability – What services are available in my community? Your location can affect the services available to you. Some are available all over the province. Others may be offered only in a particular area or region. Specialized services are more likely to be available in cities. Your province may have a system where people who know the community make the funding decisions. They are in a position to understand what the community needs most.
Finances – What can I afford? Many community services are free or lower in cost to those who are eligible. Your financial situation may affect your choice of service. If cost is an issue, there are ways to make services more affordable. Using a combination of family, community, government, and private agency services can help. Financial subsidies may also be available for the services you are considering.
Timing – How much time do I have to make a decision? It is never too early to learn about different types of housing and to begin planning for the future. Make an appointment to visit places where you would consider living. Your situation will affect the type of place that will work for you. Some residences have waiting lists. Planning ahead may help to avoid making a decision in a crisis, giving you more control over where you will live.
Community supports are available to help older adults to make the most of their situation. With this assistance, people can function in their home environment for as long as possible. Community supports are diverse, and include:
The cost of community supports can vary. Some services, such as equipment loans, rentals, and homemaking assistance, may be free.
These resources are typically more formal and structured than community supports. A referral is usually required. Health care resources may have a cost, and include:
When you can no longer manage on your own, different levels of care are available. They are based on the type and amount of care you need. If you must move, it is important that you are fully involved in the decision. Again, planning for this situation before it occurs makes the change easier. The continuing care system provides various types and levels of care to support independence and quality of life. The three settings offering assistance include:
Home living services care for older adults in their own home, apartment, or another independent setting. Professional in-home services include nursing and rehabilitation, personal support, and equipment. Personal support services include assistance with medications, bathing, and grooming. Home care services are publicly funded.
Supportive living involves a residence that can provide other supports and care. It may include meals, housekeeping, and social activities. Seniors’ lodges, group or personal care homes, and private supportive living (with various levels of care provided) are all examples.
Supportive living settings vary by size and type of service. Residents pay a fee to cover the cost of accommodation and the services. They can also receive professional and personal support services through home care. Supported living settings may be private for profit, private non-profit, or run by public operators.
Facility living includes long-term care facilities like nursing homes and auxiliary hospitals. Care and accommodation services are provided for people who have complex health needs. These people cannot stay at home or in a supportive living setting. Resident fees cover the cost of accommodation and services like meals, housekeeping, and building maintenance. Health services in long-term care settings are publicly funded. Facility living must be arranged through Community Care Access.
Each situation is different and has its own realities. Researching support services long before you need them can make the process easier. It’s never too early to begin planning for a time when you will need care from others.