Knowing when to move to assisted living or long-term care is something many individuals and families are struggling with today. People want to stay at home where things are familiar and comfortable. As we get older it is so important to pan ahead. When discussing a move with a parent or loved one, it is important to get their input, get the input of family members and siblings and get outside help if you need it.

Your choice of residence will depend upon your needs or the needs of your family member.

Living Assistance: For someone staying in a living assisted residence, this generally means that they are well enough to look after themselves, but that it would be beneficial to live in a safe environment where care is immediately available should the need arise. Residents have their own room or small apartment, but they can go down to the dining room for meals with fellow residents. There are also many planned activities in which they can participate – or not – and often escorted outings to Museums, concerts and so on. Staff at these residences are well trained to keep their eye on things. There is always a nurse full-time on site who monitors medication and takes care of things of a medical nature.

Long-term care is for people who have had a stroke or they have Alzheimer’s or some other illness that makes it impossible for them to look after themselves. Alzheimer’s patients often wander and need to live in a secure place. Long-term care facilities provides every kind of assistance such as personal hygiene, moving the patient, getting the patient dressed and into a wheelchair, down to the dining room and so on. Often clients have a private caregiver to give their loved one a bit of extra attention and flexibility.

Some residences are planned so that the bedrooms are built in a circle around a central kitchen, eating and living room area. This creates a sense of community where people can go and cook, eat or visit with friends, or – if they want to be alone they can go back to the privacy of their room.

Serving the Westmount/NDG/Centre Ville area are a number of fine public long-term care homes – they include St. Margaret’s Home, Father Dowd, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Home, the Fulford Residence (women only); the Julius Richardson complex on Cote St. Luc Road – just to name a few. These homes all have waiting lists – in the case of St. Margaret’s, the current waiting list (Oct. ’18) is 58 people, or two to three years. The cost to stay at one of these public homes is about $1,800 per month.

Chateau Westmount on de Maisonneuve Blvd. W. is an example of a private/public CHSLD. The approximate cost for a stroke patient who needs assistance with everything is approximately $7,000 per month. (About $4,600 after tax credits). For people who can afford this option, this smaller kind of facility provides excellent services and more personalized care and support from staff.

Alzheimer’s patients, who may have some agression or wandering isues, require a special level of care. One of our clients with Alzheimer’s lived for seven (7) years at the Henri Bradet home on Chester Street, where she was lovingly cared for.  The Henri Bradet residence has a marvellous team of compassionate nurses, PABs and doctors who are all well-trained in Alzheimer’s care. We were so very lucky to get our client into that home.

Due to the shortage of long-term care beds in Quebec, it is important to plan ahead when you have the time to study what is available, and what options suit your needs.