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How to get the right mix of home care services with the resources you have

When the benefits of helping seniors stay at home are so clear, maximizing the home care services you can get with the resources you have makes perfect sense. 

Seniors who age-in-place hold onto their autonomy and independence longer because they’re in a familiar environment and maintain ties to their community. With the appropriate support, seniors can downsize at their own pace rather than being forced to move due to a crisis.

But navigating Ontario’s home care system isn’t as simple as picking up the phone and asking for help. That’s why Gaye Moffett, owner and operator of GEM Health Care Services, often hears from people who are just trying to figure out where to start. 

“This morning someone called and said her father is on a limited income, but needs help doing his housekeeping and laundry,” said Moffett. “I pointed her to the City of Ottawa’s Home Support Services so they can determine if he was eligible for the services they offer.”

Navigating a complex system to get the right mix of services

Moffett has been working in the home care sector long enough to know the ins and outs of navigating a complex system that’s always changing.

Whether you start in the public system or with family-funded home care services, you’ll probably need a bit of help to make sure you’ve got the right mix of services at the right time.

Moffett’s experience running GEM Health Care Services — which currently has a contract with the Ontario government to provide publicly funded, privately delivered services — is why she’s a master at this. 

“I often get people started with family-funded nursing care,” said Moffett. “But if they become eligible for public services, we can adjust their hours to make sure they have the right mix.”

Moffett leverages her nursing background to help her clients maximize their resources. “I once helped a client’s mother get her nursing care covered by writing their insurer a letter,” she said. “Her coverage said the services had to be medically necessary — as a nurse I was able to explain that a PSW can’t manage tube feeding and other care needs that she had.” 

So where should you start if you or your loved one needs home care to “age-in-place”? 

Asking yourself these questions will help point you in the right direction

  1. Are you eligible for publicly funded home-care services? Call Home and community services with the Ontario government to find out.
  2. Do your benefits cover homemaking, nursing or both? You need to ask your insurer how they define “medically necessary.” 
  3. How many family–funded hours do you really to supplement your public services? Talk to a veteran health professional like Moffett to find the right balance, and explain the difference between what’s medically necessary and what isn’t.

Whether you’re on a fixed income, have some benefits for private nursing through your employer, or have enough resources for family-funded nursing care, talking to someone who knows the system like Moffett can give you the confidence that you’re accessing the services you really need with the resources you have.