Many seniors want to remain at home as they age, but the care needed to maintain a high quality of life in a private household is a major financial burden on most families. Fortunately, new technologies are being developed to help seniors stay at home while receiving the care they need. The MEI’s Economic Note on this topic examines some of these innovations and argues that the Quebec government needs to do more to facilitate their development.
Seniors who live alone and are unable to perform some of their daily activities can benefit from Montreal home care services. Home caregivers are available to assist with everything from bathing and dressing to meal preparation and transportation. A professional agency can also hire an experienced nurse to monitor a senior’s condition and administer medications.
Hiring a personal care worker through an agency or privately can cost between $20 and $30 per hour. A live-in carer can cost $1,900 to $3,500 a month plus room and board. Registered nurses may charge between $40 and $69 an hour. Caregiver remuneration is determined by labour laws, which vary from province to province. These rules may set maximum daily hours, overtime pay and time off.
Assisted living has emerged as an alternative to seniors’ homes, where trained staff are available all day and night to provide assistance with activities of daily living. A management team oversees the schedule and assigns caregivers to specific clients, provides training on site before they start, and offers ongoing guidance. In addition to assisting seniors with their daily tasks, a management team can also supervise medical appointments and provide respite care for family members.
Retirement homes or senior resorts are a form of independent senior housing that offers luxury amenities in scenic locales. They offer on-call assistance and meals as well as a community of peers to enjoy group activities. Many of these facilities are private and must be paid for by the senior, though some can receive a subsidy from the government.
A specialized service known as reablement can help seniors overcome physical limitations, such as difficulty walking or getting out of bed. In addition to assisting with mobility, this approach can boost longevity and improve cognitive functioning. It has been shown to reduce the need for a nursing home stay and lower hospital admissions, but it requires careful planning and expert supervision.
The MEI’s Economic Note on this issue recommends that the Quebec government encourage the development of innovative home care solutions by offering tax credits to those who use them. It also recommends that it simplify regulatory barriers and remove bureaucratic obstacles to entrepreneurship in the field, so that entrepreneurs can develop new products that enable seniors to stay at home as they grow older. This would be a good way to promote these new technologies and prevent the need for more costly long-term care residences, which were plagued by poor conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.