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Canada - Elderly Care

In Canada, care and retirement homes are run by both private companies and the province, but there are many different types and standards of care. As a result the resources available may vary a great deal from province to province. There have been calls in recent years to standardize the services that are being offered and have a one-stop shop for information on the services that are available.

The government of Canada has developed Seniors Canada On-line which gives information via a website and co-ordinates resources from several different government departments. It is aimed at those seniors who are aged 55 and over, as well as families of those who need access to care facilities.

In order to pay for long term residential care there is a specific insurance that you can take out before the care is needed. Insurance for long term care is fairly new in Canada, but it is becoming popular. Long term care insurance can also cover the policy holder for care at home, as many people do not want to go into a residential home and some of the best homes rarely have places available and there are usually long waiting lists. This type of insurance is available to all those who are aged 30 and over and when benefits are paid out from the policy this is tax free.

The policy will pay out a monthly benefit and this is calculated on a daily rate. You can often choose between a policy which will pay out $10 a day or up to $300 a day. This depends on the type of care you are planning for your old age. You can also choose the length of time over which the policy pays out. There are policies which last for a year, five years or even for the rest of the policy holder’s life. This is decided when you apply for the policy and you pay premiums for a set amount of time. In order to get this policy you must be in fairly good health when you make the application.

Canada offers a wide range of facilities for the elderly. Those who have an active lifestyle and simply want a home for their retirement years can opt for sheltered accommodation. These are usually apartments or bungalows which are managed by a company. The accommodation will have self contained accommodation although there will also be communal areas for socialising. This allows independent living with the security of management facilities. In Canada there are also similar facilities where dining is also communal, and this is known as ‘congregate living’.

Assisted living accommodation arrangements are also available in Canada. This gives the elderly assistance with some basic functions such as dressing and bathing but who do not require continuous care. The accommodation here still allows for independence but has fully qualified nursing staff. Most accommodation is still self-contained for privacy and some establishments have specialist units for residents suffering from Alzheimer’s. The buildings are staffed around the clock.

24 hour services are also available for those who need a greater level of care. Fully trained and experienced medical staff are on hand at all times. In some homes that offer continuing care residents may have to share a room. Meals are served in rooms for those who are unable to join others in the dining room. This type of accommodation is more likely to be covered by long term care insurance although some may be covered by Medicare.

The next stage is a facility that is managed by medical staff and residents are cared for around the clock. This is categorised as ‘nursing care’ and can also be applied to patients who need physical therapy and treatment for those who need help to recover from an illness or injury in order to live an independence life again.

In order to find a suitable home in your province your first port of call should be the health department of the local government in your province or your local doctor. They will be able to provide you with a list of registered homes in your area and the doctor will be able to clarify the level of care that you should be looking for.

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Expat Health Insurance Partners


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.

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