These are unprecedented times. It was March 7, 2020 when Alberta recorded its first confirmed case of COVID-19 in an elderly person. Since then, health care providers have been working tirelessly to keep COVID-19 away from their buildings, mainly known as Long Term Care facilities.
According to Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, those who are 80 plus years of age, living in long term care facilities, account for 79 per cent of the Coronavirus deaths. As the number of cases increase, families with loved ones are particularly fearful due to reports in the media about deplorable conditions and increased risks of death. Unfortunately, it appears to the public that all senior living communities have been lumped together. Many senior’s facilities exist across Alberta that provide varying levels of care for seniors, including long term care, without COVID deaths.
Some facilities offer residential care for people who have long term health concerns. This is referred to as Long-Term Care. The goals of Long-Term Care are to maintain and promote independence and health; prevent illness; ensure dignity and individual self-worth. It is important to note that not all seniors’ facilities are for long term care. It is important to note that most if not all Long-Term care facilities are publicly funded.
As one ages, so much about life changes. If you or a loved one find yourselves in a position where you cannot fully take care of yourself or a loved-one, there are a number of quality senior supportive centres available offering a number of programs, based solely on your needs.
The goals for many senior living communities is to support seniors with programs to provide a lifestyle that fits the level of mobility and health of the resident. One option is Assisted Living. These living communities provide elegant living, five-star hospitality services, compassionate and caring wellness services. Everything about these senior living communities promotes a quality lifestyle in terms of activities that focus on the prevention of memory loss, maintaining active living, socialization and entertainment programming. Assisted Living is both publicly and privately funded.
In addition, there are some seniors who require more services related to memory loss and enhanced care. This option is called Memory Care. These communities are secured communities where professional staff assist with medications and treatments for prevailing health conditions and social activities appropriate for those experiencing lapses in memory. These communities provide a home-like atmosphere that promotes mobility and prevents social isolation which can change the trajectory of the memory loss.
Many families find themselves caring for both children and parents while managing professional obligations. It is important to research and understand your options that will provide the services required and the costs associated with the various levels of supportive living. This may be the best decision you and your parent(s) undertake.
Seniors throughout Alberta should enjoy a carefree, supportive life whether it be residing as Independent Living — Assisted Living — Enhanced Care and even Memory Care. What you want to know from your loved ones is, they are happier and socially engaged with the move to a senior community. With this brings peace of mind knowing that a health care professional is steps away to respond if anything changes.