As we celebrate Seniors Month in Ontario, Solva is shedding some light on what Long Term Care (LTC) in the province is really like. 

Long Term Care in Ontario gets a lot of bad press; some of it is absolutely deserved whereas it’s equally important to understand that not all LTC facilities are the same. Although the overall governance is, site level management plays a tremendous part in how the homes are run on a day-to-day basis.

If you’ve not had any need to look at Long Term Care for yourself or a loved one, your opinions on them may be rooted in past experiences when a grandparent or older relative was a resident many years ago. And certainly, with LTC being in the news much more in the past year, you may be getting a glimpse at what living in a LTC home looks like. We spend a lot of time talking with our clients about LTC and what that might look like for themselves or their elders. Much of it is strategizing and also educating on some common misconceptions. Here we highlight five myths that we hear most often, and the truths being those myths:

1. They are free. Ahh, the long standing belief that once you reach a certain age everything will be paid for by the government. Now we can keep this on our advocacy and dream lists but the reality as it stands today is that residents do have to pay to live in Long Term Care. The amount is less than a retirement home but it is nowhere close to free. The fee pays for room and board; care and services are covered by the government. The price will depend on whether you’re in a private room or share with others and what class of building your LTC is.  Shared accommodations are from $1891 a month. You can read more about pricing and subsidies here as if you can’t afford $1891, the government will help further.

2. Five year waitlist.  Yes, the waitlist for some homes can be extensive and overwhelming but not everywhere. And there isn’t just one giant waitlist. It’s important to understand that there are lists within lists and each Long Term Care home also has its own waitlist. Equally, each person on the list can be waiting for a different type of accommodation. As well, there is another list for crises that you can be on waiting for an immediate bed. As your situation changes, so too will you place on a list. How do you get on the waitlist? Contact your local LHIN

3. Residents go to Long Term Care to die. Long Term Care is not the same as a hospice or palliative care. What it is, is right in the title, “Long Term”. What this means is that people living at Long Term Care homes have a variety of care needs and illnesses that require care. These illnesses can cover a huge range and so can life expectancy. Some people may live in a Long Term Care home for 20 years, and others may only live there for a few months. It all depends on their individual situation.

4. All poorly run. We have certainly heard over the years and more so in recent months that Long Term Care is failing. As a collective there are certainly improvements to be made across the sector, but as we mentioned in our intro, each individual site manages itself. We’d also love to see journalists write about the good happening in LTC, but that won’t grab any headlines! Even so, it DOES happen and LTC is not poorly run across the board. For every poorly run home there are ten well run homes. Want to know how a home is doing? Check out their reports here! 

5. It will be nurses doing all the care. Like any well oiled machine, Long Term Care homes rely on a variety of different disciplines to provide care to residents. On a typical day you will see anyone from Personal Support Workers (PSW), nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and many more providing care to residents. Private care givers are also welcome to attend to a resident and give them dedicated 1:1 support. If you’ve had LHIN support in the community, this will stop as the residence is a sort of an extension of the LHIN but the care support – and more – will still be provided.

With all these myths around Long Term Care it is no wonder trying to navigate the system can be challenging. Need a hand with this? Chat with one of Solva Senior Living’s knowledgeable advisors free of charge. Learn about the different options, how to apply for Long Term Care and important strategies to ensure a smooth transition.