Supportive housing: it’s a perfect fit for this mom as life brings on changes

8-madison1This housing is new in Winnipeg, and a solid option for people wanting freedom and privacy, as well as backup care and support.

“Well, today might be the day,” thinks Carol. “But I thought that yesterday, too. And last week. Mom just called and said she can’t find her keys again. Then the home-care worker called to say Mom would not let her in again, and could I please come to the house. I have spent the past six months leaving work at a moment’s notice . . .hmmm, speaking of notice, I wonder when my boss is going to say ‘enough already!’

homehealthcareworkers“It used to be called the sandwich generation. Maybe it still is. With Bob and I both working, I sure feel like a sandwich. Some days I feel like a pressure cooker left too long on the stove. Speaking of stoves, the home-care worker said the oven was on when she got there – again, and Mom did not know why. Bob and I had to take the fuses out of the stovetop last month to prevent her from using the elements. At least there are two of us. I have some friends who don’t have siblings in town or a spouse to lean on. I need to find out how to get more help. I am also worried about Mom’s safety.”

Does this sound familiar?

Carol knew she needed to have more help for her mom but she did not know where to start; then a friend suggested she call the Long Term & Continuing Care Association of Manitoba. Jan Legeros, the executive director, walked her through the various care and living options and explained the newest option, called supportive housing.

Supportive housing is the right choice for seniors who want the freedom and privacy of living in their own individual suites combined with innovative support and care options. Resident companions, who know and support residents and their families, are on-site 24 hours a day. Supportive housing is a good option for people who need some assistance due to physical limitations or ongoing health conditions such as dementia.

Supportive housing staff work with the senior and the family to ensure the service plan is tailored to each individual. There are high standards to ensure comfort, independence, safety and peace of mind, delivered with integrity, understanding and respect.

In all supportive housing residences, appetizing meals are served in a shared dining area. Laundry, housekeeping, social and recreational activities, as well as scheduled outings, are available at most residences. Support with bathing and dressing, medication reminders and access to 24-hour, on-site supervision are provided. Supportive housing fosters safety, stability and security for seniors in a residence they are proud to call home.

Carol was shown the navigation section of the Long Term & Continuing Care Association of Manitoba website called “Options for Seniors – Where Do I Start?” There, Carol was able to take virtual tours of the different types of care and living options to get a sense of the environments. She was also shown how to determine which option could be a good fit for her mom by comparing and contrasting the different features of each type, including cost.

An online calculator was available so Carol could determine what her mom’s living expenses are now, compared to the options. “In a personal care home,” Jan Legeros explained, “the cost is dependent on income.” Carol was shown the link to the Manitoba Health PCH calculator. It was also explained to Carol that there is an appeal process that can be used if she feels the cost is too high.

“In supportive housing,” said Jan Legeros, “the cost includes rent and services and varies slightly from one residence to another, depending on the amenities. The costs range from approximately $1,200 per month to $2,400 per month. There are three rent-geared-to-income supportive housing residences. There are also 35 subsidies offered by Family Services and Housing; however there is a waiting list for these subsidies. Two tax credits exist, the disability tax credit and the primary care-giver tax credit and, if eligible, these could offset the cost of supportive housing.”

Carol was shown the links on the website – – and advised to click on “financial considerations” to download the forms and determine eligibility for these credits.

The next step was to meet with her mom’s home-care case co-ordinator to discuss the options and to determine her mom’s eligibility. Jan explained: “Home care must conduct an assessment for either the supportive housing or personal care home option.”

Carol was encouraged to go on tours and, using the form on the website, keep track of which residences she has visited. Carol was able to look at a long list of suggested questions to ask when taking a tour. She was shown vacancy and wait- time information for all supportive housing residences in Winnipeg. This list is updated weekly on the LTCAM website.

It was determined that the right option for Carol’s mom was supportive housing, and after taking some tours, Carol found the residence that was perfect for her mom. With Carol and Bob’s help and support, her mom moved in. She was a little nervous at first, but slowly she began to feel comfortable with the staff at the residence and the other 11 tenants in her house. The welcome and familiar face of her home-care case co-ordinator would continue to be a constant in this time of change.

All the while Carol worried about her choice to move her mom and wondered when she would stop feeling guilty. What she soon discovered was that with the close-knit, team approach to her mom’s care, her mom began to thrive. She told Carol she loves the social environment, the staff, the other residents she interacts with, and most of all, the feeling of security that having someone to go to 24 hours a day provides.

Is supportive housing the right choice for you? Find out today at

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