Barbara Breau shows a copy of the self-managed care agreement that allows her to hire caregivers to look after her mother instead of relying on home care arranged by Alberta Health Services. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Red Deer woman impressed with self-managed care for seniors

Families hiring caregivers

A Red Deer woman is eager to let families know there’s an alternative to Alberta Health Services home care that puts families in charge of the care a senior receives at home.

Barbara Breau said the option of self-managed care allows her to choose who will care for her 99-year-old mother Leora and the care is still paid for by the province.

“You can use whoever you trust. It’s whoever can do what you need to do. You’re hiring your own people,” Breau said on Thursday.

She said with home care there were just too many different workers sent to assist her mother and inconsistencies in her care.

With self-managed care, the funding goes into a trust for the senior and the family draws up the employment contract, she said.

“The senior could do this by themselves if they’re competent.”

After two years of home care arranged by Alberta Health Services (AHS), Breau said she found out about self-managed care from their family doctor.

“Once they are stable on home care it’s suppose to be presented to them,” Breau said.

But she said that did not happen and was unaware of any other senior with self-managed care.

Breau said the system is backwards. It shouldn’t start with the home care system deciding who to send to assist the senior and when depending on staff availability.

“(Self-managed care) should be the first step, and then when you can’t manage on your own, or you don’t have access to services, then you have to bring in strangers.”

Breau started the self-managed care process last August, her mother was assessed in September, the application was submitted in January, and on Jan. 20 she was approved. Funding was suppose to be available April 1, but a glitch in the paper work delayed funding until May 11.

Her mother was approved for $1,758.97 per month for care.

“I’m overjoyed with what we have,” Breau said.

She has already hired one person to help her mother, and another specifically trained in bathing will also be hired.

Breau said now her mother lights right up when her caregiver walks into the room.

“It’s just such a relief.”

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