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Caregiver Leave

Can I only request caregiver leave from my company if one of my parents is dying? I need some time to get mum resettled now that she will be living alone.
–Koray T., Orangeville, ON

Editor’s message: Family medical leave in Canada varies by province. In some provinces, employees qualify for up to eight weeks’ leave within a 26-week period to take care of a relative with a serious medical condition who is at significant risk of death. Today, some employers have other programs as well. Our advice is to check with your employer and provincial Ministry of Labour online to understand the current regulations.

Household Clutter

I was worried about the hoarding and mess in my parents’ house. I went back to your website and found some helpful tips to encourage them to clean up for safety’s sake. Thank you.
–Sam T., Kitchener, ON

Editor’s message: Good for you! Unnecessary clutter is one of the main causes of slips and falls in the elderly, so a good clean-up is well worth it. Look for nearby charity drop-boxes where you can donate unwanted items.

Stolen Walker

Would you believe it my walker was taken from the lobby of my retirement residence! I just want to warn others to be alert. I made a costly mistake in believing my walker would be safe where I left it. ––Katharina M., Regina, SA

Editor’s message: We’re sorry for your experience. In the future, find a way to permanently label or identify your walker to avoid confusion, and try to keep it with you or in sight at all times.

Safe Travels

Thank you for your piece on travelling with assistance (“Savvy travelling,” Fall 2017). My mother has never had many hobbies but she’s always loved to travel. When she had her hip replaced last Christmas we both thought she would have to give that up, and have been trying to find new interests for her ever since. With some accessible travel services in mind, however, we’re planning a holiday for the spring and looking forward to it!
–Grace C., Moncton, NB

Editor’s note: That’s great news. Be sure to talk to an agent ahead of time about accessible accommodations and any necessary flight-boarding arrangements and factor them into your travel plans. Enjoy the holiday!

Pets Be Friends

I enjoyed reading “Who rescued who?” (Summer 2017) a little while ago. When a good friend of mine first arrived in Canada to live nearer her family, her dog Scruff moved with her. She admits her first year was a tough social adjustment, but having Scruff not only forced her to go out into the community, but also offered company while she was still finding her feet. You never see one without the other, and both are firm favourites at my friend’s assisted living complex.
–Ian M., Peterborough, ON

Editor’s note: We’re glad you enjoyed the read. Animals can be a great comfort and source of positive social interactions. Your friend and her dog sound like a remarkable team.

Perfect Companion

As a former companion, your article on the subject of hiring companion care brought back fond memories. The woman I worked for was recovering from a stroke, and loved nothing better than to play Scrabble. Often she made up words, which I’d normally let go, but I’ll never forget the one time I unwittingly misspelled a word – she caught it at once!
–Judith C., Halifax, NS

Editor’s note: We’re glad you enjoyed the article. Your employer sounds like quite the character. Here’s to more lively Scrabble games in the future.

Move or Improve

We’ve been thinking about possible home improvements for a while, so I really appreciated your last issue’s column on whether to “move or improve.” Our reno plans were beginning to feel too daunting, but well-armed with advice and suggested readings, we now have solid ideas about where to start.
–Charles B., Guelph ON

Editor’s note: Remember; grab rails and non-slip floors are  important home safe-proofing steps, but there are other hazards to consider too. Good luck with the renovation.

In Control

I found your piece on controlling behaviour while waiting on my mother’s medical appointment. I’ve been struggling with the difficulties of aggressive behaviour from a family member in my
care, but your article gave me some much-needed perspective and insight. Thank you!
–Lucy S., Vancouver, BC

Editor’s note: We know caregiving can often times be frustrating. Don’t forget to celebrate those small victories, and try to communicate as much as possible.

We’ve got mail
Share your experiences or comment on our articles. Send stories, notes, comments and pictures to Caregiver Solutions, BCS Communications Ltd., 255 Duncan Mill Road, Suite 803, Toronto, ON, M3B 3H9, fax: 416-421-8418 or email us at Please note that all letters are subject to editing for publication purposes.

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