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Is Assisted Living Right For You?

For many of us, growing older means more freedom. And while we all value our independence, there may come a time when we can no longer be our sole caretakers. But is assisted living the answer? Today, Buddy Services shares a post that may help you decide on your future living arrangements.

When Is Assisted Living The Right Choice?

There are many reasons that you might consider assisted living. Key of these is your health. Assisted living may be a good fit if you just need a helping hand with things like transportation and housekeeping. If you are at risk of serious mobility issues, Alzheimer’s, or other issues that might cause you to need 24/7 care, look for an independent living community that will allow you to segue into skilled nursing care, if needed.

Before you make any type of a decision, look at assisted living centers in your area. There are probably many options to choose from, and plenty of resources for helping you determine the cost, quality, and potential quality of living. Make a point to tour multiple facilities before you sign an agreement.

A few reasons to consider assisted living now include feelings of social isolation, the need for compassionate care, and a desire for independence without the need to cook and clean for yourself.

And if you’re a business owner, you might be concerned about how to sell this business you’ve probably built from the ground up, and experiencing some anxiety about what will happen to it. On the other hand, you might also be looking forward to retiring – especially if you can leave your business in good hands, and in so doing, generate enough from the sale to more than cover your living expenses.


Senior care facilities are typically not covered by insurance. For this reason, most individuals can expect to spend anywhere from a low base rate of $800 per month up to $7700 per month or more, according to Brookdale Senior Living. Because the cost is so high, it’s also not uncommon to have to sell a home to afford assisted-living care. If you choose to go this route, spend some time looking at your local real estate market to see how much you can expect to pull in equity from your existing home.

What To Look For

When it’s time to begin vetting independent living campuses, start by identifying your top three needs. For most, this is location, cost, and services. U.S. News & World Report also lists the culture and, of special importance since the dawn of the pandemic, infection control protocols. You may also look for a facility with access to transportation on demand, that has an on-site barbershop, or, if you are still interested in nightlife, an in-house bar.

Importantly, you’ll also need to ask about visitation policies. If your children and grandchildren live close by, you’ll want to know that they can visit often and with few restrictions. If your facility must restrict indoor visitors for any reason, confirm that there are plenty of outdoor spaces where you can picnic or simply enjoy an afternoon stroll.

Watch For Red Flags

For-profit assisted living centers will do anything to get new people through the doors. Unfortunately, you can’t always rely on clever marketing. No matter how good it looks “on paper,” don’t overlook red flags, such as residents that show signs of poor hygiene or that appear to be malnourished. Ultimately, the decision to move into assisted living is a deeply personal choice that must be made by all individuals facing the situation. There is no right answer or wrong answer for anyone. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools that can help you read reviews before you tour your preferred facilities.

Buddy Services is a safety net for seniors and people with medical conditions or anyone in need of companionship. Questions? We’d love to hear from you!

Written by: Hazel Bridges

Image via Pexels

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Staying Socially Connected In a New Physically Distanced World

The world’s new normal is physical and social distancing, which means staying at home as much as possible. Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has overcome the world spreading viciously and faster than any virus or disease our modern world has experienced. Physical distancing is necessary right now, but it’s increased anxiety, social isolation, depression.

It is especially difficult for those who are struggling with physical and mental health disorders. “As social beings, we are biologically hardwired to connect. Research shows supportive networks can decrease our heart rate and help us process difficult emotions,” says couples and family counsellor Carole Sandy.

My grandma was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, which quickly left her unable to care for herself and live independently with my eighty-six-year-old grandfather anymore. She moved into a nursing home in February after living with my grandpa for over sixty-two years, and my grandpa temporarily moved into Princess Margaret hospital to undergo radiation treatment for head cancer. All nursing homes and hospitals are closed for visits, leaving my grandparents separated and isolated while battling health conditions. I am sure my grandma is unable to understand or remember why no one is allowed to visit her and probably thinks we have abandoned her. To help myself and my grandparents disrupt the thoughts associated with social isolation while still practicing physical distancing, here are eight tips I came up with along with Carole to help us successfully adapt to our changing society.

  1. It may seem obvious, but call or video call your friends and family. Before physical and social distancing, we had the excuse of being too busy to call and catch up regularly with friends and family. Most people relied heavily on social media to stay up to date with friends and family’s lives. With social and physical distancing in strict effect, use your extra time to call and have a conversation with a loved one. Avoid texting and get back to the old school method of communicating. Many older adults appreciate and enjoy receiving phone calls and don’t like texts and emails. Schedule weekly family video, phone or three-ways calls to stay connected to your loved ones. Include your favorite snacks, drinks and most comfortable outfit. Now is the time to create new social traditions, connect with your loved ones on a deeper level and create lasting memories.
  2. Write a letter or send greeting cards. I recently began handwriting letters to my grandma at her nursing home. Canada Post is considered an essential service and is still picking up and delivering mail across Canada. My grandma doesn’t have a phone in her room at the nursing home and does not have a cell phone so connecting with her has proved difficult. I write her letters updating her on the Coronavirus. I also include photographs and my son’s drawings in our letters as a special touch. Writing letters allows our family and friends to experience physical contact while still adhering to the physical distancing rules.
  3. Window visits. We are all encouraged to stay at home, but if you live alone and have a family or friend who lives nearby, try planning a window or distant visit. I have watched touching videos where people are socializing from a distance to celebrate milestone occasions or bring comfort to a loved one. My son and I recently saw some school friends while on a walk. To adhere to the physical distancing rules, we gave each other air hugs from a distance and talked to each other from a range of six feet. With all social gatherings cancelled until June 30th, 2020, people have become creative in developing tactics to follow the physical distancing rule but still stay connected to their community. Window and distant visits disrupt the thoughts of loneliness and “I am the only one going through this.” Negative thoughts thrive in isolation; the key is physical distancing but not social isolation.
  4. Attend online classes, meetings and parties. Many personal trainers, yoga teachers, DJs and influencers are offering online socializing to cope with the physical distancing. DJ Nice threw a successful online party where even Michelle Obama showed up! Ani O Yoga studio is offering free online kids yoga and meditation from April 9th-30th as well as virtual yoga and Pilates classes. Tray Arts is also hosting free virtual paint nights for families to spend time together. Many therapists have transitioned their services online as well as support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. Set dates with friends and family to attend virtual classes or parties together.
  5. Help the elderly with online transactions. Many seniors are accustomed to going into the bank to pay their bills and check their accounts. Setting up and paying bills, ordering groceries and supplies for seniors online will relieve the burden of the changes and chaos our society is facing. Seniors are very vulnerable to the Coronavirus and need the most assistance and protection at this time.
  6. “Be intentional about your self- care. This might include spending time connecting and healing yourself, reducing your time on social media, doing something creative, reading affirmations, accepting your emotions, taking a bath or listening to your favorite artist; and asking yourself “have I been protecting myself from things that are increasing my anxiety or panic?” Now is a wonderful time to self-reflect on how you have treated yourself so far in 2020. What have you learned about yourself? What have you noticed is still getting in the way of your progress? And since you have been given the gift of time, be gentle and empathic toward yourself during this exercise” says Carole.
  7. It is also a great time to dig into your family history and honor your elders. “There is a great family tree exercise that I incorporate into my family therapy practice. I encourage family members to work together to uncover family secrets, values, strengths and future goals to create a strong, unified identity. It also allows time for family members to share important memories that can be passed on to the next generation,” shares Carole.
  8. Social distancing may have an emotional toll on you or your loved ones that can go undetected. Including online or phone therapy into your new social distancing schedule can help you and your family ensure open communication is developed or maintained during this time. Many people have said that they didn’t have the time for therapy or healing before. With all social activities shut down across the globe, there is no time better than the present to begin your healing journey. Therapy does not always have to be in person at an office. You can schedule one on one phone calls, video calls, and three-way calls for therapy sessions. Feel free to use the extra time in your schedule to better yourself and gain self-awareness.

This isn’t a competition of how much you can accomplish in quarantine. But it is a slight pause of life as we know it, and a chance to work on self-awareness and healing.

If you or a loved one is in need of elderly in-home services email [email protected]. Stay safe, stay home and help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

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To Mom With Love

My Mom was and still is the quiet type. Her thoughts were never expressed, they were hers and hers alone, and never to be shared with anyone, not even with her husband.  It always bothered me why my Mom was a woman of few words. I wondered if she thought that her opinion didn’t matter or was it instilled in her that women ought to be silent.  She never complained about anything; she was always content; she avoided contentious issues, never argued with anyone, and got along well with most. 

I told you that my Mom was never one to complain, nor shared her thoughts or talked about any pain or discomfort she was feeling except for this one thing.  I do remember my mom saying on more than one occasion, “I’m having trouble walking straight.”  She said it in such a nonchalant manner and tone that no one, not even I, took the time to respond to her cry, until “The Fall.”

After the fall in December of 2017, my Mom was diagnosed with neurosyphilis.  I’ve heard the word syphilis before but not neurosyphilis. I had no idea what it was.  The doctor told me and my father that it is an infection of the nervous system, specifically of the brain and the spinal cord.  There are different types of neurosyphilis and their symptoms vary depending on the type.  Symptoms of neurosyphilis are the weakening of the muscles, trouble balancing, loss of coordination and an altered walk.  The hardening of the arteries in the brain is known to contribute and progress to dementia.  After receiving detailed information from the doctor, my family and I were able to conclude the symptoms of neurosyphilis were what my Mom was referring to when she complained that she was unable to walk straight.

I cannot turn back the clock; I know that but oh, how I wish I could.  If I had the opportunity to turn back the hands of time, I would have paid closer attention to my Mom’s silent suffering; I should have insisted that she see a doctor, I should have been there for her – but I wasn’t.  Dementia has taken a whole of my Mom’s mind and robbed her of her ability to think, her short-term memory, and left her in utter silence and lacking any form of motivation. 

I visit my Mom almost daily in hopes of redeeming the time or making the most of every opportunity, but instead, she sits in her favorite chair, staring into the abyss. Silence and stillness have become her only companions.  I try to engage her by asking, “Do you want to watch TV, Mom?” She replied, “No”.  “Wanna play a game?”, the answer is the same, “No”. “What would you like to do, Mom?”, “Nothing”, she says.  So I sit with her in solitude, silently sending her my love and wishing that she would desire to want to do more with the end days of her life. But, solitude is what she wants.  She is my Mom and I love her dearly.

Many thanks to Andrea Fickert from the Alzheimer Society Peel, Andrea has been a rock to my family in these difficult times.

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Alzheimer’s Awareness

Dementia is affecting the lives of one in four Canadians daily. January is Alzheimer’s awareness month, and the Greater Toronto Area is filled with walks, workshops, activities, and tons of cool events, spreading awareness about Alzheimer’s. Our Buddy Services supports the elderly community and those living with Alzheimer’s, live with dignity and respect. We encourage the elderly population, the terminally ill, and persons with dementia to engage in the community and discover a new lease on life.

To contribute to spreading awareness, we have created a list of events, workshops, and resources taking place this month in the Greater Toronto Area. Buddy Services is here to support you, a family member or friend attend any of these events in the city.

We look forward to working with you and supporting our community through our services.

Active Minds Social Club
January 13, @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm EST
Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities

Dementia 101
January 14, @ 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM EST
Humberwood Library

Finding Joy and Humour in Dementia Care
January 16, @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm EST
North York Seniors Centre

First Steps
January 17, @ 8:30 – 12:00 pm
Recurring Events (See all) at Alzheimer Societ;y of Hamilton Halton-Hamilton Office

Living Well with Dementia
January 17th, @ 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church

Recreation For Dementia
January 21, @ 9:30 – 12:30 pm at Burlington Public Library

Alzheimer Awareness Workshop
January 25, @ 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM EST
Milton Seniors Activity Centre

Alzheimer Awareness Workshop
January 29, @ 5:00 PM – 7:30 PM EST
Indus Community Services
306 – 3038 Hurontario Street

Frailty, Aging and Dementia: Considerations for the Dementia Journey
January 30, @ 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM EST
The Jubilee Banquet Hall and Conference Centre

Alzheimer Society York Region – Caregivers Support Group
February 5, @ 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM EST
Markham Village Library

Written by: Kezia Royer Burkett a creative freelance writer with a degree in communications and multimedia from McMaster University. When she is not writing she is finding inspiration living life, raising her son and spending time with friends and family.