way to feed her breakfast every morning
and kiss her good night — and he was
able to sleep without interruption, with-
out waking up to take her to the toilet,”
Choo says. “That was a perfect set-up for
Keeping couples together is much
more likely when families are fully com-
mitted to that option, Brandt says.
“Many people want Mom and Dad tostay together, but are concerned abouttheir ability to remain safe. Sometimesfamilies need reassurance that livingwith a certain degree of risk is okaybecause it comes balanced with a muchhigher quality of life.”
Culture also influences where and howseniors want to live. Whether living withextended family or in a facility, ideallyseniors with strong roots in a particular culture are surrounded by familiarfoods, customs and language, says Choo.Although Alberta has several culture-specific seniors housing complexes,many seniors spend at least part of theirtime in settings where their mothertongue is not understood.
No matter what the setting, everyonebenefits when families and professionalcaregivers work together to honour asenior’s heritage, Brandt says. For the careteam, that may mean learning to say helloin Cree or inviting patients to identifytheir needs from a list of common phrasesin Ukrainian or respecting specific traditions, both in day-to-day and at end oflife. Families can encourage understanding and conversation by surroundingtheir loved one with photos, translatedphrases and keepsakes.
“We absolutely need families in thebroadest sense, and that can be whoeverseniors turn to in their time of need,”Brandt says. “We need you involved, supporting and teaching us as health-careprofessionals, helping us provide carethat specifically speaks to their needs andenhances their quality of life.” a
“We absolutely need families ...
and that can be whoever seniorsturn to in their time of need.”— Kathryn Brandt, Integrated Case Management, AHS Seniors Health