Crisis - Where to Start?
The decision for a senior to make a move or ask for assistance almost always follows "that moment". Maybe it was a fall, a sickness, the onset of dementia-like symptoms, recovering from a surgery or perhaps being widowed. Everyone's moment is different. For some it is a gradual series of moments that finally spill over to create a call for action but too often than not, they come quickly in crisis and decisions are needed to made quickly and often without much planning or knowledge of what your options really are.
Obviously, if you have a doctor, that is the first person to contact. However, it is still helpful for you to understand the next steps that are coming. Sometimes, knowing what to ask your doctor for is also helpful. If you do not have a doctor, you may need to take these steps on your own. In Ontario, Canada the first place to call or email when or even before you reach "that moment" is Home and Community Care (formerly The Community Care Access Centre.) Funded by Local Health Integration Networks through the Ministry of Health and Long term Care, it is their job to assess the needs of people who need care, determine their requirements for care and answer questions. They will customize a care plan that suits your needs, check regularly and adjust your plan if your needs change. Their advice and services are covered by OHIP. If your loved-one is hospitalized right now, they probably have already been assigned a Home and Community Care Case Manager/ Care Coordinator to create a care plan. This person is your advocate. They are in your corner.
You may have heard that CCAC (now called Home and Community Care) was taken over by the Local Health Integrated Networks. That is true. There are changes happening in our province around the management structure, however the contact information and services offered in the past remain the same. If you reach out to your local Home and Community office they will help you manage your care situation.
There are 14 Home and Community Care offices throughout Ontario in alignment with the Province's newly established Local Health Integration Networks. To contact them or find more information online, including the local branch offices, visit: http://healthcareathome.ca/. To contact them by phone you can call 310-2222 (no area code needed) or phone the individual LHIN offices and ask for more information.
Three other sources to help you through your crisis:
Psycho-geriatric Assessment: If your loved one is showing obvious changes in their behaviour, Psycho-geriatric psychiatrists are experts at seeing the "whole" of what is happening - whether there is dementia, delirium, medical or physical issues or a combination of all these things. If you have a doctor, you can request a Psycho-geriatric assessment. If you do not have a doctor, speak to your local Alzheimer Society and they may be able to help you get a referral. In our area, the Psycho-geriatric Psychiatrists work out of Providence Care in Kingston, Ontario. (Personally, for us, these are the people that brought my mother back to life.)
The Alzheimer Society of Ontario : A network of 38 Alzheimer Societies across Ontario offers a variety of services, including private and family counseling, support groups and day programs, educational workshops and referral services. Find your local Alzheimer Society at http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/on.
2-1-1 is a great place to start. Here's three little numbers I wish I'd known about when our family was looking for answers for my mom. 211 is a three-digit phone number and website that provides information and referral to community and social services in Ontario.
Their Certified Information and Referral Specialists are caring, understanding and knowledgeable, and pride themselves on their ability to connect you with the services you need. With information on more than 56,000 agencies and services, they can help you find the answers you need, quickly and easily. Their phone service is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, and is available in more than 150 languages. Find the information you need at www.211ontario.ca
Find Your Local Ontario's Local Health Integrated Networks at: http://www.lhins.on.ca/
Ontario LHINs Map
For more information about the LHIN in your region please choose the appropriate link below.
|1. Erie St. Clair||8. Central|
|2. South West||9. Central East|
|3. Waterloo Wellington||10. South East|
|4. Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant||11. Champlain|
|5. Central West||12. North Simcoe Muskoka|
|6. Mississauga Halton||13. North East|
|7. Toronto Central||14. North West|