• Providing HELP with Advocacy for Seniors and End of Life Planning
  • Mon-Fri: 8:30a.m. to 5:30p.m.
    Evening & Weekends: By Request


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How and When do I start the conversation with my parents about their future care?

From birth through childhood and even into our own adulthood, our parents have been taking care of us. At some point in our lives these roles may switch. This is part of the natural cycle of life, but many of us are hesitant to acknowledge the reality of this transition and fail to plan accordingly. Conversations around life transitions are difficult for many people, yet they are among the most important conversations we will have within our families. We owe it to our families and ourselves to discuss someone’s wishes in relation to where they will be living as they age; what kinds of therapy and health treatments should be considered if they become ill; what their wishes are regarding resuscitation; and whether or not they wish at end of life to consider Palliative Care, ‘heroic’ interventions, or Medical Assistance in Dying.

So how do we do it?

If time permits, consider a gradual introduction to the topic by referencing credible websites, printed materials, news articles, similar concerns being addressed by relatives and other families, or arrangements you may be considering yourself. The right of individuals to make their own informed choices, and the importance of Advance Care Plans, Powers of Attorney for Property and Personal Care and the drafting of a Last Will and Testament all need to be put in place sooner rather than later.

If time is of the essence and decisions are required on a more urgent basis, be especially open and honest and gather as much current information together as possible. Consider your parent’s age, physical and mental health status, current cognition, their network of care, income sources, current living arrangements and location. Engage the advice of professionals to guide you with their expertise.

So, when do we start the conversation? Today!

Holistic End of Life Planning can HELP with this conversation through assessment and consultation.

I live in a different city to my father and he resides in nursing home. How can I feel confident that he is being taken care of?

Under the Ontario Long-Term Care Homes Act (2007) and the Regulations associated with the Act, each provider of care is to ensure the Resident is afforded, among other things, their rights in relation to the provision of care, freedom from abuse, neglect, and restraints, participation in the decisions concerning their care plan, privacy, visitors, and pursuit of cultural, religious and spiritual activities.

The recent Covid-19 Pandemic heightened awareness of the inadequacies of providing these rights in some Ontario LTCHs. In some facilities where the government called in Canadian Military personnel to provide aid with personal care, the shortage of funding, inadequate staffing & staff training and outdated facilities all contributed to the failures of the system to adequately care for the residents.

As a result of these disastrous events, the Ontario’s health minister has announced new long-term care projects that will add 1157 beds in facilities across the province. Anyone with problems, concerns and/or complaints about a home should call the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s ACTION line at 1-866-434-0144.

Also under the newly revised policy: a ‘caretaker’, who is not necessarily the primary next of kin many attend at the LTCH (See: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/58220/welcoming-caregivers-to-ontarios-long-term-care-homes)

I can be given “Caretaker” status through your application to attend with the resident, reporting back to the next of kin.

What does a Holistic End of Life Doula Do?

‘Holistic’ comes from the root word ‘whole’, referring to various components coming together to create something in its completion. ‘Doula’, is a Greek word meaning ‘to serve’. An end-of-life doula serves a client with information and support to assist in the dying process.

Why ‘Holistic’ is important: All the domains, or aspects of a person’s life fit together to create the ‘whole’ person. Domains, may or may not include the following : physical, practical, emotional, spiritual, legal, social, psychosocial, loss & grief.

HELP will work with your unique individual needs to provide Information relating to: Community and Government Resources; Guidance and Support; Companionship; check-ins; Housing Transitions; How to Choose a Longterm Care Home; How to Thrive in Long Term Care; Living with Dementia; Elder Abuse; Hoarding; Non-pharmacological interventions; Building a Safe Circle of Care; Caregiver Stress; and End of Life Planning, in a non-judgmental and confidential manner.

HELP aims to provide you with Holistic End of Life Services whereby you will receive quality supportive services both in life and in death.

I’m old, my children are busy, and my friends are all dying. What am I supposed to do now?

The loss of purpose is a very real issue with elderly people, especially if they live alone. Re-discovering your purpose and planning to leave a legacy are important activities that help restore meaning, value and hope.

HELP works with seniors and persons at end of life to identify their purpose and contributions to society.

Are the services provided by Holistic End of Life Services covered by health benefits?

Many health benefit plans will provide coverage for registered Social Work Services. Check with your health benefit provider regarding coverage through a health plan or flex-benefit account. I am registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.

My aunt is continually asking the same questions over and over, as if she didn’t listen to the answer the last time we spoke. How can I politely tell her that we have already discussed that?

Persons with short term memory loss may repeat the same questions many times, even in the same conversation. Your aunt may not be able to register or file the recent conversation in her working memory. When responding – meet her where she is at and answer questions as if it is the first time asked, in her level of understanding. The important message for you is to notify your aunt’s power of attorney for personal care and/or health provider to ensure that an assessment is completed to determine her safety and well-being. In the meantime, don’t argue with her or display your frustration, but rather, practice patience and understanding.

HELP can provide resources and guidance for people living with dementia, and their caregivers.

How can I HELP? Click to the right to get in touch.