Discover the interview given by Louis Sirois, CEO of Visavie, for L’Adresse, the webzine of RQRA (Regroupement Québécois des Résidences pour Aînés). Louis Sirois discusses the home support service for seniors in Quebec. But also how to better understand what this service represents for seniors, its advantages and its evolution in Quebec.
Home support services for seniors in Quebec
Home support for seniors is a crucial issue for health care services, the result of a population that has still not grasped the essence of this lifestyle choice to limit the needs and improve the quality of life of our seniors in Quebec. Louis Sirois, CEO of Visavie, tells us more.
The challenge of home care
In order to better understand what home care is and to understand the obstacles to accessing this service that would allow our seniors to continue to enjoy the well-being and comfort of their private residence, we met with Mr. Louis Sirois, Chief Executive Officer of Visavie. The organization accompanies Quebec seniors through several service offers, including home care. In addition, this meeting will allow us to examine the relational and human aspect that arises between the professional caregiver and the senior in the context of home care.
Understanding what home support services for seniors really are
Home support is when a senior or a couple of seniors can no longer meet all of their needs, whether it be DSA¹ or ADL², due to the deterioration of their cognitive and/or motor conditions. The wide range of services offered by groups such as the CLSC³ or private professionals to help this senior or this couple of seniors is what we call the home support service for seniors.
Visavie’s position in this service offer to seniors
Established in 1988, Visavie has been working in the field of housing consulting for 33 years now. The home care service began at Visavie in 2014. The statistics are quite clear: 18% of seniors will go to a residence and 82% of them will stay at home. However, it is important to point out that senior residences and home are the same thing. But sometimes people move to a place where they have access to care and services that they would not have had in the main house. Visavie’s goal is to meet the needs of seniors 100%. When they contact us, Visavie wants to be able to help them find the right residence or help them stay in their main home with home care. Sometimes we also help seniors do both. Sometimes they move to an RPP and we continue to support them in their home.
The advantage of home care
If we take the question to its ultimate conclusion, home care prevents the senior from moving to an IR or a CHSLD where he or she could lose all his or her bearings. In theory, his or her life will deteriorate, because moving around has a major impact on the senior. Since humans have an aversion to change, it is preferable for a senior to remain in his or her home. And home care services are not that expensive when combined with the tax credit offered by the government.
Advantages, but Quebec is struggling to switch from centers to home care
Our governments are trying to do the right thing. In place for decades, the principle is that in Quebec, these are free services and the general perception is that when someone needs medical help, the government takes care of it. Unfortunately, they failed to calculate that the financial demand on the public debt would be enormous and that it would be difficult for the government to continue to offer free of charge as many services as are required by our seniors. Several years ago, there were seven to eight workers to support a senior, today there are about two workers. The budget keeps increasing and the demands for funding for seniors’ support will continue to grow. But the government is not alone in Quebec.
People need to be able to subsidize their own care to a certain level, otherwise it is impossible! There is no magic formula, but we could try a “multi” solution that would ask the family to pay for part of the care, while the government could pay for the other part and help with the assessment.
The caregiver-senior relationship, the magic part of service
This is the magic part of the equation. Understanding the needs of the senior that are going to be expressed either by the senior themselves or by their family is going to help us find the best person to meet all those needs. The professional caregiver will do everything possible so that the senior, who is sometimes completely alone in his or her bubble, can regain a taste for life. And we’ve seen it with many of the people! When a professional caregiver is with the senior several times a week, the senior regains a taste for life, participates in many activities and finds a smile.
There are human and relational challenges
Physical problems are the easiest to support because they are visible conditions and we know how to deal with them. But when the situation shifts to a neurocognitive disorder, that’s when it’s more challenging because the senior’s situation requires a different kind of expertise from the professional caregiver.
A story about the caregiver-senior relationship that stuck in the mind
We made a home visit to a lady, a former school principal who had lost her sight and had just lost her husband. Her greatest need and her greatest disappointment was that she was no longer able to read. We found a caregiver who enjoyed reading and talking. This lady’s daughter was able to see that her mother was not the same since she had a relationship with this caregiver. Her mother became happy again.
Finally, a word to all those who hesitate to live in an RPP to benefit from the home care service
RPPs have gone through a difficult period in the last 18 months. However, this period is almost behind us. The majority of private seniors’ residences have managed this crisis brilliantly. Today, activities, socializing and all the benefits of living in a residence are finally back. In our opinion, if you decide to live in a residence, it is because you see important advantages: security, the possibility of living in a community and making new friends, having access to a wide range of activities without leaving your home, eliminating all the maintenance tasks in your home, etc. However, should your physical and cognitive situation deteriorate, many residences offer care services in your apartment. If you need more help, Visavie Care’s home care services can meet all your needs. All it takes is one phone call.