What is a Care Home?
A care home is rented accommodation that provides care services. Such services include nursing care, prescription drug supervision, an emergency response system, transportation, incontinence care and assistance with daily activities (e.g., eating, bathing, dressing, and personal hygiene).
If you live in a care home, you have the same rights as other tenants under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) to live in a safe, well-maintained home. Hospitals and long-term care homes (e.g. nursing homes) run by municipalities or Indian Band Councils do not qualify as care homes (however, elderly adults in such homes can take advantage of the home care Bill of Rights set out in the Long Term Care Act).
Care Home Information Packages
Before you sign a tenancy agreement, your landlord must provide you with a Care Home Information Package (CHIP). This should include information such as:
- How to make a complaint
- Whether there is an emergency response system
- The types of rental units and the cost
- The types of care services available and their cost
- Optional services available and their cost
- The minimum number of staff that must be in the home at all times
- Staff qualifications
As a tenant in a care home, you are also entitled to a written tenancy agreement which outlines your rent, the cost of meals and care services, your right to consult an outside party about the agreement and your right to cancel the agreement by written notice to the landlord within five days.
You may end your tenancy agreement at any time with 30 days’ notice to your landlord. You may also cancel meals and services before your tenancy ends by giving 10 days’ notice to your landlord.
Eviction Based on Care Needs
As a care home tenant, you may be evicted due to change in your condition or needs. The Tenants Board must hold a hearing when your landlord must provide you with thirty days of notice of the hearing.
To make a decision in favor of your landlord, he or she must prove to the Board that:
- Your needs cannot be met by the landlord’s care services, even when combined with other services available in your community; and
- Appropriate alternative accommodations are available.
Your landlord cannot therefore evict you unless you can move into the alternative accommodation on the same day that you move out of your current home.
If you do not wish to move, you must provide written notice to the Board expressing this wish. The Board is also required to offer mediation to you and your landlord.
Several excellent community organizations exist that can help provide social interactions, intellectual stimulation and physical exercise for hours during the day. At the same time these resources can provide a caregiver from a needed break from rewarding but demanding responsibilities.
Seniors centres offer government funded programs for seniors who are interested in activities and they focus on peer interaction. Such centres may offer skills training, education and information programs. They have flexible use and participation policies but require that clients be in generally good mental and physical health.
Adult Day Programs
Adult Day Programs offer government funded support services for seniors with age-associated disabilities. They accept clients with physical frailties and clients with dementia. They are a source of respite for the family and offer programs with mental and physical stimulation.
Community Care Access Centres
Community Care Access Centres (CCAC) are an extension of the Ministry of Health that connects individuals with the care needed at home and in the community. CCAC advice and services include personal support, therapy, nursing, meal delivery and dining programs, homemaking and home help, caregiver relief, transportation services, supportive housing and adult day programs. The CCAC also manages the admission to Long Term Care Facilities where more comprehensive around the clock care can be provided. The CCAC is funded by Local Health Integration
Networks through the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, paid for by the Ontario Health Insurance Program.
Currently 14 CCACs exist across Ontario, with each staffed by Care Managers who will conduct a needs assessment, determine care requirements, answer questions and develop a care plan upon receiving a referral. Anyone can make a referral to CCAC, including yourself, a family member, friend, caregiver, your physician or another health care professional. CCAS will then arrange for care and supportive services for those who qualify.
The CCAC is accessible at www.ccac-ont.ca or by telephone at 310-CCAC (310-2222).
Additional Resources for Seniors
Alzheimer Society of Hamilton and Halton: www.alzhn.ca
Senior Life Enhancement Center: www.slec.ca
Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority:
Stages of Senior Care: www.stagesofseniorcare.com
Cooking for Seniors: www.foodsforseniors.com
Talking with Seniors – The 40-70 Rule: www.4070talk.com
Caregiver Stress: www.caregiverstress.com
Intergenerational Living: Too Close for Comfort:
Activities for the Mind, Body, and Soul: www.getmommoving.com
The Division of Aging and Seniors: www.publichealth.gc.ca/seniors
Canadian Nurses Association: www.cna-aiic.ca
The Ontario Home Care Association: www.homecareontario.ca
Canadian Home Care Association: www.cdnhomecare.ca
The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association: www.chpca.net
The Canadian Caregiver Coalition: www.ccc-ccan.ca
Canada’s Association for the 50+: www.carp.ca