Sandwich Generation: Plenty to consider with long-term care

One of the most difficult decisions facing families

  • Jan. 13, 2016 7:00 a.m.

Wendy Johnstone

Special to The Record


Making the decision to move a spouse or aging parent into long-term care is one of the most difficult decisions families have to make.

A few weeks back, I started a series on how to manage the transition to long-term care.  So here we are, post-holidays and into a new year.  Let’s pick up where we left off.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, it’s actually helpful to clarify what is meant by “long-term care”.  Trust me, there are so many different ways to describe this form of housing, it makes me dizzy!

It’s technically called complex care; however, other more common terms used are long-term care, residential care, and nursing home.  What it really means – a facility that provides 24-hour skilled nursing care and supervision for people who are no longer able to care for themselves. Staff members administer medications and assist residents with daily activities such as eating, bathing and dressing.  Only one to two per cent of Canadians live in complex care facilities, with an average age being 86 years old.

Eligibility for a (locally) government subsidized complex care facility is evaluated and determined by a case manager from Island Health Authority. Factors considered include the person’s health status, the family caregiver’s ability to provide the necessary care and support in the home and if the community resources currently being used are appropriate, safe and sustainable.  Those assessed as having the greatest and urgent needs are given priority for admission to the first available and appropriate bed. Cost is a daily rate based on 80 per cent of a senior’s income. There are also private residential care facilities where no subsidies are available including Comox Valley Seniors Village and Cummings Home.

Once a decision is made, it can feel like having to “wait it out.”

Some families feel this part of the transition is very difficult with the uncertainty of when a bed will be available and feeling they need to be prepared for a move at any time. Some families and the person being cared for experience increased anxiety and stress during this period.

Building a circle of support people is really important. Choose a team of people to support you, emotionally and physically as well as supports who have very practical skills including having cared for someone in complex care, legal and financial experience, excellent listener, etc.

If you are a joiner, think about a Caregiver’s Support group.  There are several groups for specific diseases such as stroke, Parkinson’s and dementia.  If you are having difficulty finding information on how to access these groups, please contact me directly and I’ll point you in the right direction.

I know it is easier said than done; however, caring for yourself as a caregiver is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family member.

Your role as a caregiver doesn’t end when the person you are caring for moves into complex care.


Wendy Johnstone is a gerontologist and is the founder of Keystone Eldercare Solutions. Her column runs regularly in the Comox Valley Record.


Just Posted

CONTEST: Win a pair of tickets to Sunfest Country Music Festival

Make sure to Like the Comox Valley Record’s Facebook page

3L happy with CVRD staff reversal of ruling

Company’s request for minor amendment to RGS was announced as defeated Tuesday, overturned Wednesday

Nickel Carnival coming to Courtenay

Families welcome for games, face painting, food and more

Specialized vehicle analyzing Courtenay roads

If you see a strange-looking white van with what looks like a… Continue reading

LETTER: Hat obnoxious, manager not bigoted

One Langley Advance letter writer takes exception to another’s comments about an MAGA hat incident.

Through your lens: Okanagan wildfires

Check out some of the captivating images and video from social media of the wildfires

Bob Castle’s Under the Glacier cartoon for July 19, 2018

Bob Castle’s Under the Glacier cartoon for July 19, 2018… Continue reading

World’s translators push back on forcing Trump interpreter to testify

Democrats had asked translator to testify about Trump’s lengthy conversation with Putin in Helsinki

Comox legend guest of honour

Stocky Edwards will be the man of the hour Aug. 8

No decision on B.C. school stabbing suspect’s mental fitness for trial

The BC Review Board could not determine whether Gabriel Klein, 21, is fit to stand trial

Cannabis facility planned in Courtenay

Design up to 100,000 square feet

Canadian government threatens to retaliate if Trump imposes auto tariffs

U.S president had suggested that auto imports pose a national security risk to the U.S.

Wildfire evacuation order forces bride to search for new wedding venue

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards is under an order due to the Mount Eneas wildfire south of Peachland

Recent online kitten abuse video raises serious social media questions

UBC and UFV profs weigh in on the subject of online sharing, shaming, and our digital landscape

Most Read