Originally published in allaboutestates on August 26, 2014:
I have always stated that the Power of Attorney for Finances needs to be able to support the decisions made by the Power of Attorney for Personal Care. In other words, care needs should dictate where monies should be spent. The first part of the equation is understanding what the person requires today and what they likely will require tomorrow. How much care do they require and for what activities of daily living? As we age and our abilities generally decline, we will require greater amounts of assistance. We need to plan knowing that our care needs will most likely increase with age. The Heart and Stroke study indicated that the majority of us live the last ten years of life in poor health. As we don’t know our expiry dates, we don’t know when the ‘last’ ten years starts! The obits and Stats Can tells us that we are living longer. More and more of us are seeing our 90th and 100th birthdays.
Many of those I work with started receiving assistance with some of their activities of daily living while in their 70’s and 80’s. Having 20 or 30 more years of paid care is likely not affordable for most of us. While this article is about paid care, it is critical to acknowledge the many hours of un paid care provided by family and friends. There is also income lost by many family caregivers as a result of time spent away from work either by providing hands on care or other instrumental assistance such as driving to and accompanying a senior to the doctor’s appointment, shopping for groceries, cleaning or cooking for someone else.
While most of us want to live out our days in our own homes, it often takes a family and a community to provide enough support so that this hope/wish/desire can become a reality. Many seniors don’t feel they need any assistance. This can be both as a result of wanting to fiercely hold on to their independence and not wanting to spend their money. However for those who need and accept paid care, it can be costly. Personal support workers can be a real lifesaver. They truly can make the difference for an individual, who with support is able to thrive and live well and without assistance, would fail.
Personal support workers are not regulated and the Home Care Association is working hard to ensure standards are in place. I have attached a video on How Do I Hire A Caregiver? and
as well as a publication from the Home Care
Lessons Learned: Buyer Beware- Do your due diligence.