Health & Wellness

Advice needed on how to take care of an elderly parent needing caregiving?

  • Last Updated:
  • Jul 26th, 2019 6:33 pm
[OP]
Member
Aug 12, 2016
218 posts
30 upvotes

Advice needed on how to take care of an elderly parent needing caregiving?

It is really nerve wracking to see one's parents become extremely unwell and deteriorating rapidly with each and every passing second.

My mother was an extremely proud, ambitious, determined, steadfast woman who rose to the top of her career, profession and single handedly looked after us as a father when my father was travelling outside for work 3 weeks every month. She rose to the top of her gynaecology dept in the govt department she used to work in back home in Pakistan and also did 3-4 private clinics and a few teaching positions as well as keeping an eye on us at home. Working in a Pakistani govt hospital is really hard especially dealing with corrupt PPP politicians who have taken over all govt institutions in Sindh and totally destroyed everything.

While Me and my dad moved to Canada 6-7 years ago, my mother and my baby sister didn't move because she wanted her to do medicine in one of the top medical schools in Pakistan as she believed it would be a much better option rather than doing medicine in medical school in Canada or the US. But trust me, living a split family life has huge ramifications between spouses and no matter how loving and understanding they are, it takes a toll where both spouses feel the other doesn't understand each other or communicate or show patience with each other. Heck the one consequence of me living all by myself mostly on my own in the last 7 years is that I myself don't have the patience to live with people and prefer solitude most of the times. 

My mother finally had enough and retired for good a year ago once my sister finished medical school in Pakistan and she finally wanted all of us to start living as a family again. She was unhappy about living in Canada knowing that living in the West will be a totally different ball game to living in the comforts of Pakistan but she was like its not an option.

Unfortunately things have just gotten worse, a year and a half ago my mother was diagnosed with Parkinson's but it is incredibly shocking to see how rapidly the whole symptoms have spread. It's gotten so bad now, she can no longer eat properly, she can't walk unassisted, she feels dizzy and hazy a lot, can't move her neck and her speech has become slurred. 

My dad travels a lot, three weeks in a month for work, I work for an accounting firm and my hours are very brutal where I am either working 10-12 hours a day or studying for exams. My baby sister quite her job recently so that she could focus on her USMLE exams in the US and while she is at home most of the times to take care of our mom, she is getting married by the summer of next year and will not be around for ever.

It is just frightening to see how much help my mother needs. My daadi is 86 years old where she has health issues of her own but even she commented that atleast I can lift things and eat properly and efficiently if I want too.

We have been pressing mom to agree to let us hire a helper who can help her out with doing house chores and a caregiver but she is so far refusing. Although something like this should not be said for ones parents but it is proving to be very impossible having to live in the West and to take care of someone who needs full time care and both me and my dad can't quit our jobs either. 

Last night my dad told my mom pointblank that she has got to accept help from a full time care giver. My mom is still refusing and even emotionally blackmailed that if we impose a caregiver on her then she would rather go back home to Pakistan where the cost of hiring help is much cheaper. 

Anyways I thought I would ask people over here if they have had any experience or issues with this especially in the West. Me and my dad have tried our best, but practically speaking we can only be able to watch her full time over the weekends but it is not possible forever. 

My dad was in favour of telling the rest of the family members about her deteriorating condition so that people would have a better understanding and would try to help make her comfortable as much as possible but my mom was against it saying that people will spread things and any future parent or girl they try to pursue for me will be put off by an unwell mother in law. 

Looking forward to people sharing their opinions, experiences and practical suggestions
13 replies
Deal Fanatic
May 14, 2009
5654 posts
767 upvotes
Are you in Ontario? If so, have you tried contacting the CCAC? Perhaps your mom would be eligible for a few home care visits per week. Sorry, I don't have more advice to give :( That's a lot to deal with and I hope your family finds the support it needs.
[OP]
Member
Aug 12, 2016
218 posts
30 upvotes
amz155 wrote:
Dec 25th, 2018 8:45 pm
Are you in Ontario? If so, have you tried contacting the CCAC? Perhaps your mom would be eligible for a few home care visits per week. Sorry, I don't have more advice to give :( That's a lot to deal with and I hope your family finds the support it needs.
Yes. Living in Toronto. Any possible recommendations with respect to Toronto. I wonder if there are any govt funded or Ohip funded programs which help seniors deal with the costs of caregiving. Having someone visit home will definately help.

We can definately look into getting someone to help with cooking, housekeeping, general cleaning, ironing, making the bed but a caregiver is a specialized position and someone with great experience will definitely help
Deal Fanatic
May 14, 2009
5654 posts
767 upvotes
Savak2015 wrote:
Dec 25th, 2018 9:36 pm
Yes. Living in Toronto. Any possible recommendations with respect to Toronto. I wonder if there are any govt funded or Ohip funded programs which help seniors deal with the costs of caregiving. Having someone visit home will definately help.

We can definately look into getting someone to help with cooking, housekeeping, general cleaning, ironing, making the bed but a caregiver is a specialized position and someone with great experience will definitely help
If she's eligilble for support via the CCAC, they may cover a few home visits per week. I'm not sure of the process though; she may need to be interviewed/assessed by the CCAC and if she refuses help or doesn't quality, I think you'd have to hire privately and pay out of pocket.
[OP]
Member
Aug 12, 2016
218 posts
30 upvotes
amz155 wrote:
Dec 26th, 2018 8:12 am
If she's eligilble for support via the CCAC, they may cover a few home visits per week. I'm not sure of the process though; she may need to be interviewed/assessed by the CCAC and if she refuses help or doesn't quality, I think you'd have to hire privately and pay out of pocket.
If she qualifies, is the cost of hiring a caregiver/house keeping help covered by OHIP?

I believe she will qualify because her Parkinson's symptoms are progressing faster than expected
Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 15, 2015
1513 posts
192 upvotes
Markham, ON
Talk to your mother again. It might be better for her to go back to Pakistan. Maybe that is what she really wants. From your post, she lived there all her life, she has more relatives and friends there, she is familiar with life and system there (even though they are not good according to your post).

I might be completely wrong but there may be a reason why she is so against hiring a personal helper in Ontario. She sounds like a woman with a lot of standard so it might be very difficult when someone first start working for her. I don't know if she is in physical pain or something so it might be harder for her to control her temper when she may be in pain. Hired help may sound great but you never know.
Sr. Member
Dec 29, 2012
830 posts
259 upvotes
Scarborough
1. CCAC will usually provide 14 hours a week max if patient is very ill.
2. If you hire a personal support worker or caregiver, be careful to interview to find out if they work in the night (some do this and then come sleep at your home and neglect your parent).
3. Hiring a caregiver from a professional company - you can claim a tax credit for the expenses (also dependent credit, and disability credit if qualifies).
4. Tell your mother, the caregiver is there to help you. Do things for your mother with the caregiver, and slowly phase out (e.g. pop out shopping, etc).
5. If you hire a caregiver, be certain to monitor details as they will perform excellently when new, but slack off (and leave for $1/hour more)
6. A personal caregiver hired by you, will learn your mother's personality and needs. Getting them from a company, they will send whoever they want, but they are bonded in case they hurt themselves.
7. OHIP will not pay for any caregiving services - you may have to use your mother's pension to pay and add your own money (as I did for 5 years). Healthcare is not free in Canada.
8. https://www.care.com/en-ca/
9. Explore senior daycare in your area (usually $30-50/day), cheaper than $18-25/hr for a private caregiver and $45/hr for a caregiver from a company.

Remember to care for yourself before you say or do something you regret. She is your only mother and can't be replaced. Start saving money for when she will need 7x24 hour care. All the best - it's tough but love must prevail.
[OP]
Member
Aug 12, 2016
218 posts
30 upvotes
Poppwl wrote:
Dec 27th, 2018 10:46 pm
Talk to your mother again. It might be better for her to go back to Pakistan. Maybe that is what she really wants. From your post, she lived there all her life, she has more relatives and friends there, she is familiar with life and system there (even though they are not good according to your post).

I might be completely wrong but there may be a reason why she is so against hiring a personal helper in Ontario. She sounds like a woman with a lot of standard so it might be very difficult when someone first start working for her. I don't know if she is in physical pain or something so it might be harder for her to control her temper when she may be in pain. Hired help may sound great but you never know.
In the long run, my parents wish to spend the summers ie. May to October in Canada and the winters ie November to April in Pakistan.
Deal Addict
Oct 27, 2009
4192 posts
6426 upvotes
Ontario
Savak2015 wrote:
Dec 25th, 2018 9:36 pm
Yes. Living in Toronto. Any possible recommendations with respect to Toronto. I wonder if there are any govt funded or Ohip funded programs which help seniors deal with the costs of caregiving. Having someone visit home will definately help.

We can definately look into getting someone to help with cooking, housekeeping, general cleaning, ironing, making the bed but a caregiver is a specialized position and someone with great experience will definitely help
I know from making inquiries and not getting anywhere (key requirement is there is a family doctor involved with your mother's healthcare), if you contact a palliative care outreach team or the LHIN for Toronto, any assessment or care plan report will be shared with the family doctor. I also know that if your mother is still capable of consent, she can outright refuse any care or help. But if your mother is walking and talking, LHIN is very unlikely to offer any paid homekeeping services. I know a person who just retired from work to care for her husband whose memory is going but he is refusing care too and LHIN saw him walk and talk and refused to provide ANY caregiving support or help.

But if any family member has power of attorney for your mother's health care, that person can make some decisions. But private care costs $$$.

It may be best to let Mom go back to her country of origin (if she can travel and be accompanied) and most of it will be familiar to her during her decline.
2019-roll out the gold carpet! Wins to date: a t-shirt, too many Spotify playlists (not claimed), $25 Indigo gc, $5 Starbucks e-gc
Newbie
May 3, 2004
15 posts
8 upvotes
Calgary
I am sorry to hear about your elderly parent and the concerns you have. My mom has passed away 5 years ago for Parkinson’s and dementia . We live in Alberta and we’re lucky to get free home care come help her with household chores & cell care until she could no longer live at home. My mom went into long term care based on her pension income . It was a burden lifted knowing she had nurses & medical staff making sure she took her meds . Family did our best to bring her home for visits and spend lots time with her. Caring for sick parents is draining & stressful. I ended up getting ill myself and got high blood pressure and breast cancer . Take care of yourself & try not to let guilt take over your life. Do the best you can for your parent & any extra help will help her and yourself as well. Good luck... it’s not easy...
Deal Addict
Jun 7, 2005
1361 posts
116 upvotes
Toronto
Sorry to hear about your situation. I can only imagine how stressful and difficult it is to be in your shoes. I work in rehab and want to share some ideas with you.

Have you looked into long term care? It might be a good idea to contact LHIN (formerly called CCAC) to put in an application now because the wait list can be several years.

Do you have a neurologist following her? An increase in Parkinson meds can help reduce tremor and symptoms dramatically.

If your mother can walk 10m or more, consider enrolling in the TIME program https://www.marchofdimes.ca/EN/programs ... adult.aspx. It can help maximize physical function. If her level of mobility is too low and she is over 65, look into OHIP physio https://www.ontario.ca/page/physiothera ... hip-funded

Lastly, hiring a private home physiotherapist or occupational therapist can help manage her symptoms and improve mobility. If she doesn't move and walk often enough, her condition can deteriorate rapidly.
[OP]
Member
Aug 12, 2016
218 posts
30 upvotes
We have managed to get the paramed people to send in some help for 3-4 hours a day, 3 days a week. They are paid for by my dad's health insurance provider. However on every day they send a different person, they don't even announce when they are coming i.e. date and time. This makes it harder and pointless. For e.g. my mom wakes up at 9 in the morning, that is the time she will take a shower, have breakfast and need help from a caregiver. But if they send someone unannounced at 12 in the afternoon when my mom woke up at 9, had breakfast and a shower, then its pointless for these people to come as they stick to their outlined list of duties i.e. breakfast/lunch prep, shower and help in changing, assist in walking and to prevent falls and they refuse to do anything else.

Today they send a black woman and her entire attitude from the moment she entered the house was extremely rude and at times obnoxious where she started complaining about how our house was difficult to find, when we told her my mom already had a shower in the morning, she started speaking very rudely to her and even started judging her "What? How? Are you crazy? That is so risky". We requested her to just put a few plates and cups in the sink, she started creating a fuss and saying this is not part of her job description. When my mom requested her to make an ommlette, she couldn't even take initiative to find the ingredients herself from the fridge and literally ordered me to get it for her. There was no way i was going to trust this woman to be with my mother alone. I thanked god that she left after an hour. She was completely unfriendly and carried the attitude that she didn't want to be there.

I really need some good recommendations regarding some great private nursing, caregiving organizations who have caregivers who are friendly, professional, respectful and can be trusted to treat an ailing parent like they would treat their own ailing parents when you are not around.
Deal Fanatic
May 14, 2009
5654 posts
767 upvotes
Savak2015 wrote:
Jul 26th, 2019 5:34 pm
We have managed to get the paramed people to send in some help for 3-4 hours a day, 3 days a week. They are paid for by my dad's health insurance provider. However on every day they send a different person, they don't even announce when they are coming i.e. date and time. This makes it harder and pointless. For e.g. my mom wakes up at 9 in the morning, that is the time she will take a shower, have breakfast and need help from a caregiver. But if they send someone unannounced at 12 in the afternoon when my mom woke up at 9, had breakfast and a shower, then its pointless for these people to come as they stick to their outlined list of duties i.e. breakfast/lunch prep, shower and help in changing, assist in walking and to prevent falls and they refuse to do anything else.

Today they send a black woman and her entire attitude from the moment she entered the house was extremely rude and at times obnoxious where she started complaining about how our house was difficult to find, when we told her my mom already had a shower in the morning, she started speaking very rudely to her and even started judging her "What? How? Are you crazy? That is so risky". We requested her to just put a few plates and cups in the sink, she started creating a fuss and saying this is not part of her job description. When my mom requested her to make an ommlette, she couldn't even take initiative to find the ingredients herself from the fridge and literally ordered me to get it for her. There was no way i was going to trust this woman to be with my mother alone. I thanked god that she left after an hour. She was completely unfriendly and carried the attitude that she didn't want to be there.

I really need some good recommendations regarding some great private nursing, caregiving organizations who have caregivers who are friendly, professional, respectful and can be trusted to treat an ailing parent like they would treat their own ailing parents when you are not around.
Sorry about the poor service you're receiving, that's frustrating for sure.

But please know that the woman's skin colour has NOTHING to do with her attitude.

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