The costs associated with the loss of independence

People most at risk are the elderly and those suffering from degenerative diseases.

Caroline Arbour | Journalist

When you lose your independence, taking care of yourself and your needs can be an uphill battle. The challenges you face are proportional to their costs and can have a noticeable financial impact on both you and your loved ones. 

People most at risk are the elderly and those suffering from degenerative diseases. Home retrofits, equipment, and specialized care come at a cost that can far exceed expectations and savings.

It is estimated that among the elderly, the loss of independence spans 3.4 years for men and 6.5 years for a woman. Therefore if you need, say, $ 3,000 a month to meet basic needs (accommodation, food and basic health care), the total tally can be $122,400 and $234,000, respectively.

Making the right choice
When you can no longer carry out the basic activities of daily life, you must decide where to live. Most people prefer to remain in their home for as long as possible.

Home care
Just how expensive it is to keep living in your home will depend on several factors, including the type of housing and the renovations you may need, as well as which tasks can be performed by family caregivers.

Home retrofitting
- Installing stairs or an elevator
- Widening door openings
- Redesigning a bathroom 
- Redesigning  the storage spaces

These changes can facilitate access to different areas of your home and make it safer over. You may also have to start paying for tasks you can no longer do on your own such as lawn mowing, snow removal, cooking and housekeeping.

$2,000 - $5,000: estimated monthly cost of remaining in your home*

Private residence
Cost and accommodations in a private care facility vary greatly. This type of care usually includes meals, housekeeping, hygiene assistance and other basic care. Wait times are a few months, on average, but fluctuate according to the facility and its location.

$2,000 to $3,000: Average monthly cost of accommodation in a private facility

Quebec long-term care facility (Centre d'hébergement et soins de longue durée - CHSLD)
A bed at a CHSLD costs about $5,500 a month. Government services cover the bulk of that amount, while the resident pays the balance based on income and room type (1, 2 or 3 beds).

The cost includes accommodation, food and basic health care. Cable, phone services, dental care, hairdressing and other services are covered by the occupant or their family. Wait times vary between from one region to another, but are on average around 2 years.

$1,000 to $2,000: average monthly cost of a CHSLD accommodation.  A significant portion of the costs is covered through government services.

How to ease the burden
You can save hundreds of dollars a month if your family and friends give you a helping hand with everyday tasks, such as housekeeping or meal preparation. However, it is impossible for them to do everything and you must make sure your caregivers don't become exhausted.

Several government programs and tax credits can help ease the financial burden that a loss of independence can bring. Learn more at:site du gouvernement du Québec.
*Figures can vary greatly depending on the needs and services.

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