Canada’s Shortage of Personal Support Workers

It has become clear over the past few years that personal support workers are a dying breed. There are less and less care workers in an industry that is growing due to aging populations. The Baby Boomer Generation, which has the largest amount of people in any generation, is aging and are just starting to need Personal Support Workers. Over the next 20 years, as Baby Boomers retire and begin to need more support, the need for personal support workers is going to increase drastically.

This is a growing issue that needs to be solved sooner rather than later because already personal support workers are facing longer hours in what can be considered an extremely tough job. The job can be physically rigorous, but can also have an emotional toll as well. Personal support workers truly connect with their clients and watching them struggle or having to deal with sickness and health can be extremely difficult. It’s a hard job that receives little thanks, which is part of the reason that the amount of personal support workers available is decreasing.

More workers are leaving the industry than are being trained and qualified per year. This is a dangerous truth for our country because without the proper amount of workers in the industry, a lot of people will not receive the care they need and in the years to come it is only going to get worse. It seems that part of the reason this decrease in workers is occurring is in fact the nature of the job. It doesn’t offer a very high salary and requires long and hard hours. The people who become personal support workers do it because they want to help others and this is their passion. Unfortunately, a low paying salary will discourage many from entering a position despite their level of passion.

Personal support workers who work for institutions such as hospitals or nursing homes and generally have a more steady, balanced schedule. For home care workers, a much different schedule is necessary. Oftentimes these workers start in the very early morning and work until the late hours of the night. These home care workers will have multiple patients per day that they must try to administer medication, prepare meals, clean the house, etc. With the decrease of these personal support workers, hospitals and nursing homes will be more understaffed than they already are and many patients who require home care, won’t be able to receive it because home care workers will have too many clients already. The workers are being stretched too thin.

Although this shortage has increasingly negative connotations on our society and the care of our people, it is important that we brace ourselves and try to fix the issue before its way too late. Not only do personal support workers deserve higher wages, but support systems should be put into place for those interested in working in this field. Incentivising learning programs and trying to get the younger generation interested in this industry has become increasingly important. No person should ever feel that they or their loved ones are at risk of not receiving care and it should be one of our highest priorities as a country to ensure this never happens.

How to Find the Right Caregiver for your Elderly Loved Ones

A caregiver can be an extremely important person in the life of your parents and by extension an important person in your life. Caregivers can support your elderly loved ones in any number of tasks including meal preparation or medical support. This all depends upon the needs of your parent, the budget you have established for hiring a caregiver and the skill set your chosen caregiver possesses.

Qualifications/Credentials

The most important part in beginning the process of hiring a caregiver is to find someone qualified to look out your parent. The best option would be to have a personal referral from someone you trust; however, this is unlikely to happen and many times it is best to look at resumes. How many seniors has this caregiver worked with in the past? What tasks were they in charge of to ensure the safety and care of these seniors? How much time will this caregiver be able to dedicate to your parent? Does their experience reflect what your parent needs? All of these questions are important to answer when looking at candidates for this position.

Run a Background Check

One of the most important aspects in hiring a caregiver for your parent is to find out about your candidates past. When working with children or seniors, it’s important for you to request a police check and to call listed references. Past employers are a wealth of knowledge and will be able to give you an honest referral. When it comes to your loved ones, you want a caregiver who works hard and is empathetic and truly likes your parent. Talking to the people who have worked with candidates before will be the best indicator in knowing if a caregiver will be a good fit for your parent.

Responsibilities and Tasks

Does your parent need a part time caretaker? Do they need someone with a medical background to administer medication or someone to help with cleaning, meal preparation and transportation? These are questions that you need to consider when looking at hiring a caretaker. A candidates abilities have to match your loved ones needs for a caregiver/patient relationship to succeed.

Personal Connection

Even though a caregiver can look great on paper and come with excellent references, that doesn’t mean that they will be the right fit for your parent. Having a personal connection is important because this caregiver will be a support system for you and your loved one. Fostering a good relationship between a caregiver and your parent can really change your parent’s life for the better. This person will not only be caring for your parent, but will become their companion. If your parent and their caregiver get along, you will feel more assured in the safety and happiness of your loved one.

It is also important that you have a good relationship with your parent’s caregiver. This is the person you will be able to get in touch with to make sure that your loved one is getting the best possible care. If you hire a caregiver that you have a good personal connection with, it will be easy for you to keep in touch and get updates on your loved one’s well-being. This will keep your mind at ease and it will make for an open line of communication, which is vital when hiring a caregiver.

How BookJane Can Help You

Using BookJane is ultimately going to save you a lot of time in the process of finding a caregiver. All the caregivers you’ll find on the app have already been screened and interviewed to ensure that they are the best of the best in their chosen field. Their qualifications and experience are listed on their profiles, so you will have access to a more reader-friendly resume without all the extra information that might not be relevant. BookJane offers an extremely streamlined processed for all your caregiver hiring needs. BookJane profiles are also a lot more personal than reading a piece of paper with qualifications and experience listed. We want you to feel like you can get to know our caregivers before meeting them so you’ll feel comfortable leaving your parents in their hands.

What We Need to Know About the Sandwich Generation

The Sandwich Generation is just that – a group of people sandwiched between two generations – stuck in the position of caregiver for both their children and their parents. This is a generation that is feeling the pressure to take care of everyone, but are having less help than they once did.

Many in this generation are finding the strain of being a caregiver for both their children and aging parents is causing stress, anxiety and even depression. All of this is due to a general lack of understanding and support. It’s important for everyone to realize who this generation is and how it’s possible that they will become a part of it. Here are some important details about the Sandwich Generation and the struggles they face:

It’s Growing

The amount of people considered a part of the Sandwich generation is increasing. This growth can be attributed in part to a higher mortality rate as well the rising average age before having children. The numbers make sense – we have much better medicine and care and frankly, people are living to an older age. This can put a strain on the children of seniors because they are looking after their loved ones a lot longer than they used to. Family sizes are now also a lot smaller and with less siblings around to shoulder the burden, it can fall to just one or two people who may not have the financial means or time to contribute to their parents well-being. This generation is also having children later in life than they used to which can be attributed to both our longer lifespans as well as post-secondary educations and careers. A single income used to provide for the whole family, but now, most families rely on double income in order to support themselves. All of this leads to a larger gap. The longer a person waits to have children, the older their parents get, which is leading to this overlap in supporting parents in old age and children in their growth.

It Effects Everyone

The problems facing the Sandwich Generation aren’t just effecting its own generation or their parents and children. These issues are also affecting the economy and businesses. Many members of the Sandwich Generation are feeling they have to leave the workforce to provide full time care for their loved ones. This is sometimes one of the best or only options available when considering the financial strain on this generation. If people are having to leave their jobs or consider career changes (to positions that require less time or commitment), businesses are losing highly skilled and qualified employees.

It’s a Financial Strain

A lot of parents would love to help their children with university costs, but also find themselves feeling fiscally responsible for their aging parents who may also require care. Millennials are already facing a turbulent job market right now and once leaving school a large amount are moving back in with their parents, unable to find work in their chosen field. These situations can put a large financial strain on a family who may already not have much extra money to be spending on extra expenses to begin with.

There is also the issue of pensions and retirements savings running out. With the raising levels of higher life expectancy for seniors over the last few years, it seems that seniors are running out of the money that they worked hard to save. This puts additional financial strain on their children who are still able to work, but who will now have to work a lot later into their life before retiring.

Available Transportation for Seniors

Starting in their 80th year, Ontario law requires seniors to renew their G license every two years. For a lot of seniors this causes issues, if they are deemed unable to drive, it becomes difficult for them to get to appointments, run errands, meet with friends or any other activity that requires them to leave the house. For a lot of seniors, losing their license is representative of losing their freedom and independence. It’s important for seniors to do their research and discover what other methods of transportation are available to them. This way they can continue to live their lives in almost the same manner as they are used to.

Friends/Family

It’s nice to be able to rely on friends and often times seniors are going places with their friends or family members. Carpooling is a great way to for seniors to get where they need to go. Although its not always possible to rely on friends and family members for transportation, its important to know that they are always an option in helping the seniors in their lives to get the places they need or want to go.

Public Transport/Shuttle Buses

Its important for seniors to do some research on their local transit systems. In big cities like Toronto, TTC is widely available with buses, streetcars and the subway covering the entire city. Transit systems like this make it very easy for travellers to get to their destinations. Most other smaller cities and towns also have some form of public transit available. For these smaller communities, it is unlikely that transit will allow seniors everywhere they need to go, but should allow them to get to most places. Public Transit companies usually also offer senior discounts, which are helpful to seniors with fixed salaries. For seniors living in assisted living facilities often have access to shuttle buses that are organized by the facility. These shuttles usually bring seniors to places where they can run all their errands.

Taxi’s/Uber

Even though taking taxi’s (or for tech savvy seniors taking an Uber) can be expensive, it’s important for seniors to have these options available to them. For instance, when grocery shopping, taking a taxi home is helpful because groceries can be heavy and trying to take them home on public transit would be difficult. Making sure seniors have access to taxi numbers (or the Uber app) can make a huge difference in their independence and ability to get to the places they want to be.

By Foot/Bicycle

If the location is close enough, it’s good to get a bit of exercise and either walk or bike to your desired destination. For certain errands, this option isn’t the most logical because the destinations are too far, or the errands require a lot of lifting or carrying. The best part about going places on foot or by bicycle, is that it doesn’t cost anything.

Although it can be hard for seniors when they lose their ability to drive themselves, they have many other options available to them to maintain their independence. Its important for them to do the research and find out what their options are.

 

 

How Dance Can Help Seniors to Avoid Dangerous Falls

Dance is often overlooked by many as a sport or as a means of legitimate exercise, but for many seniors it is the perfect way to strengthen the right muscles to help then with balance. Some of the most common injuries in seniors stem from serious falls. Recently Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto live streamed dance classes for elders living in rural areas to advocate this as a integral part of any seniors exercise regime. Dance requires focus and determination and works the parts of the body most important to the development of strength and safety for seniors. Preventing falls is one of the most important aspects of protecting the well being of seniors. A fall can dramatically decrease the quality of life for seniors, sometimes leading to a lack of independence, hospitalization or even chronic pain or issues. Although movement in general is good for seniors, dance can provide an all encompassing exercise that isn’t only good for them, but is also fun and something that can be done as a group activity.

Balance

 One of the largest benefits of dance classes is the general improvement of balance. Usually when seniors fall and injure themselves, the fall has stemmed from a lack of balance. Dance is a very disciplined exercise which includes different positions. For instance in ballet, there is first position (feet together with toes turned out), second position (feet shoulder width apart with toes turned out), etc. These positions along with the other movements that go along with them offer a good base for muscle memory. In a situation where a senior feels they are losing their balance, they’ll have learned these positions and may be able to prevent a fall by trusting this muscle memory.

Strength

Like any form of exercise, movement is important. In dance, strength is gained mostly in your core. This is because all movement in dance stems from the core. This is the perfect strength training for seniors looking to prevent falls because the body’s core is where balance is gained. A dance move that begins in first position will also finish in first position. For instance, if a dancer lifts their leg from first position, they will return it to the ground into that position. This works the core and teaches the body control.

Flexibility

 In general, dance is seen as an extremely flexible form of exercise. Dancers work muscles based on their own body weight and body movements. Often, dancers use stretching of their arms, legs and torsos to move their bodies into certain positions. These stretching movements will help to increase flexibility which in turn will help with overall movement capabilities. The more able a senior is with their movement, the less likely they are to fall.

 Confidence

 A big part of preventing falls and being safe in movements is confidence. Being confident will help seniors to feel in control of their bodies which is a large part of preventing falls. Practicing dance as a form of exercise will enable seniors to feel accomplished, strong and totally in control of their bodies. Like with any type of exercise, it’s important for seniors to not push themselves. Dancing in groups is more fun than it is as a solitary exercise and having an