Thursday, 19 December 2013

How important are hearing issues?

Hearing issues are an ongoing challenge for seniors. In severe cases, if a senior denies they have issues or refuses to wear hearing aids, people may think that they have cognitive issues when indeed its only that they didn’t hear a question or statement properly that might lead to an incorrect response. If you or someone you know is struggling with hearing impairment consider other options to assist if hearing aids are not a desired solution. Besides traditional hearing aids, there are many different types of devices that can help a person with hearing impairment stay connected to their world and maintain their independence. Contact your local Hearing Society to ask about amplifiers, special visual or vibrating alarms for doors, and tips for communication. Consider showing them how to text message on a cell phone, or find out about TTY phone lines or Relay services for the hearing impaired.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

How do I know if a place is good?

If you or someone you care about is moving to a retirement or long-term care home, consider the following tip. The most important factor in determining quality of care in any residence or care situation is that of the staff. You can determine this easily if you take the time to watch and listen during your visits. Watch other residents when you visit; get to know them, their families/regular visitors and talk to them. Developing relationships with both staff and residents in the home is important and will ensure that if there are issues, you are notified of them. Focus on the food quality, cleanliness and staff attitude. Join a Family Council if there is one or encourage your loved one to join a Residents’ Council if they are able to participate. If you have the time, join in activities in the residence. This is a way to help your loved on adjust while creating opportunities for you to get to know other residents and staff by observing and interacting.

Friday, 13 December 2013

More on Downsizing Tips....

Yet another downsizing suggestion which we absolutely love! Even though we found it a long time ago, we like sharing it with people (still) since it can apply to just about everyone. And you don’t have to be moving or downsizing to try it. When you are looking to pare down your clothes closet a bit do the following: “Reverse Coat Hanger Trick: We wear 20 percent of our clothes 80 percent of the time. Turn all coat hangers in your closet back to front. In the next six months, when you wear something, put it back in your closet the correct way. At the end of six months, you'll see what you've worn and what you haven't. Give away what you haven't worn.” Seems like such a simple idea but I've never read or heard about it anywhere else but in this one article quoted below.

Quoted from: “Culling Your “Stuff” Can Be Painful Task” by Ellie Kahn, November 3, 2005, The Jewish Journal


Monday, 9 December 2013

What is the RHRA?

In follow up to our last post about the new Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA), we thought we should tell you a bit about them…. So the first thing you should know is that they are not a government agency. They are an independent, not-for-profit corporation set up by the government through something called a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ and through this there is accountability to the government. There is a Board of Directors consisting of 9 members and a Stakeholders Advisory Council. The RHRA administers the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 and has as its objectives, licensing homes, inspecting homes, keeping a public register of information on homes and informing/educating both the public and the retirement homes in Ontario. In the first couple of years the province did contribute funds to get the Authority off the ground but moving forward, the RHRA will sustain itself through fees provided by the homes.
The Fundamental Principle of the RHRA is “that a retirement home is to be operated so that it is a place where residents live with dignity, respect, privacy and autonomy, in security, safety and comfort and can make informed choices about their care options” (from: RHRA Plain-Language Guide, page 4 ). There is also a clear definition of what a retirement home is for the purposes of homes applying for licenses and following regulations. In order to be considered a retirement home under the governing legislation most residents must be 65 or more, there must be 6 or more resident spaces for people unrelated to the owner and, there must be a minimum of 2 care services available (the Act defines what a care service is specifically). So if a home doesn’t offer ‘care services’, they do not fall into this classification and are not subject to regulation.
Licensing has been phased in over a nearly 2 year period starting in April 2012. The final phase will occur as of January 1, 2014 when all homes will be expected to fulfill all the requirements set out in the legislation. At this point there are almost 700 retirement homes registered with the RHRA and we know that there are always new ones under construction. People in homes or considering moving to one, should educate themselves on the rules and regulations and resident rights. Visit the website for the RHRA to find out this important information – More on the RHRA in future posts…. But do let us know if there is something you would like to know about them or the legislation as well……..

For additional information on this topic see the article entitled What is the RHRA?

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Retirement Home Regulation in Ontario

Several years ago, there were ‘consultations’ held in Ontario, to discuss the need for regulation of the retirement home sector. Retirement homes are part of the ‘private sector’ while there are a few not-for-profits out there, most are for profit and many owned by small to large companies though there are still a few independent owners out there. For the most part the homes that have existed are good and treat people well, but over time there were enough reports of problems and a recognition that seniors are very much a vulnerable population so there needs to be some form of regulation. Fast forward a couple of years and we now have the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) in Ontario. Some other provinces have some similar organizations, but it is by no means standard across Canada. Anyway, the RHRA has a set of standards homes must abide by and has the ability to regulate, inspect and educate homes. We think this is a very positive thing for Ontario seniors and so, we will spend some time in our upcoming posts sharing information about the RHRA and the regulations for retirement homes in Ontario. You can look up the license status of all retirement homes on their website