Headliner: New Rates For Nursing Homes
On October 8th, the Minster of Health announced new rates for residential care, beginning in January, 2010. While they emphasized that some rates will go down, those paying the higher rates will be paying close to 25% more. Rates will now range from $29.40 up to $96.40 per day. This is based on income, and no one who is eligible for housing in B.C. will be paying more than their income. What the changes do is significantly increase the cost for care for those with higher incomes, lowering the government’s portion.While the press release emphasizes 25% will pay less, it ignores the fact that 75% will now be paying more.
British Columbians are lucky in a sense that the costs of care are based only on income, not on income plus assets, as happens in several provinces and in the U.S. for those needing financial assistance through Medicaid.
At present, the costs of private residential care range from about $4500.00 per month up to over $7,000.00, based on size of suites, location, services provided, and the market being targeted.
Click here to read the press release from the Ministry of Health
Seniors Housing: Looking Before Leaping
Finding the right housing choice can be a daunting and anxiety producing task. Here are some pointers we’ve learned from working with Seniors, Caregivers, and housing for over thirty years.
- Take some time and figure out what you need help with, or what will you need help with in the future. For example, personal care tasks such as bathing; or practical help such as housekeeping; or help with the deficits that happen because of dementia or other memory loss.
- Ask yourself what you want. A large place, or a small place? Elegance or simplicity? Gardens and open space, or next door to a mall and shopping?
- Understand the types of housing–do you want Nursing homes (residential or complex care)? Assisted Living? Independent (supportive) housing?
- Understand the public system and what it can provide–the housing, home support, adult day programmes.
- Make up an imaginary day in your life–what you do, where you go, what you need. Write down what you imagine, and use it as a basis for when you are visiting housing.
Click here for our guide on Wants and Needs for Housing.
When visiting housing:
- Pay attention to how the residence FEELS to you.
- Look at distances, elevators, lighting.
- Go for a meal and an activity or two. Maybe try the guest suite for a week.
- A residence is a reflection of its managers, especially the administrator, and director of care. Try to meet them. Find out how they put their philosophy and mission into action.
- Look at menus and recreation schedules.
- Find out about staffing and ratios: Numbers of Nurses, Care Aides, Recreation staff, Social Work, Rehabilitation.
- Ask about costs, contracts, and how they may increase.
- Ask what would trigger a discharge.
- Ask for some references.
- Find out about their admission criteria and process–what happens before they accept someone, and why might they turn someone down.
- Who owns and who operates the residence? Local, national, or international chain? Go to the web and do some research on the owners and the operators.
- Ask for inspections and accreditation reports.
- Ask about their mission or philosphy, and then for some examples on how they put it into action.
Click here for our Housing Viewing Guide
The professional Care Managers with Diamond Geriatrics are available to help Seniors, Caregivers, and Family members with issues around housing and moving. Our fees may be covered through Extended Health Plans and Employee Assistance Programmes.
Housing in the Public Sector:
As we wrote in our last newsletter, Nursing Home (Comlex Care) placement in British Columbia and most provinces is on a “first bed available” basis. To apply, contact your local health authority.An assessor will be assigned who will come to see you and determine eligibility.If you are eligible, you will be given a list residences and you can designate your preference, but there is a good chance you will first have to accept placement wherever a space becomes available if it is considered appropriate to needs. When that space is available, you may have very little time, only a day or two until the transfer happens. In some cases, family members have had no time to go and see the facility before discharge. You much be willing to accept placement in three months at the latest. You are not allowed to pass, or have your name put at the bottom of the list. Fees in B.C. and many provinces are based on income, not assests.
A limited number of Assisted Living residences are available in British Columbia. One also applies through the local Health Authority, but you may place your name on a specific list. Waits can be up to two years. Costs are 70% of income.
Supportive Housing is available through B.C. Housing, not through the health authorities. There is both housing with no services, and a very few residences which have some meals, and practical help. Costs are also based on income. Residents may be elgible for rent subsidies through SAFER (Shelter Aid For Elderly Renters).
Housing in the Public Sector:
Contact Numbers for Local Authorities:
Fraser Health, Vancouver Coastal, Island Health:
- Interior and Northern Health
- Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters
- About Assisted Living (Elder Voice, July, 2009)
I’m Still Here: “The Experience of Alzheimer’s Disease Through Theatre”:
Diamond Geriatrics and Elderpost.com are pleased to sponsor a production of “I’m Still Here,” a fifty minute research based play on the experiences of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and those of their family members, friends and professional care providers. The play, which has been presented at gerontology conferences throughout North America, will be performed by the Target Theatre group of Victoria as part of workshop at the British Columbia Association of Social Workers Fall Conference on November 8th and 9th, 2009 .