Staying in Your Home: Help for Seniors and Their Caregivers

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Many seniors would prefer to stay in their own homes as long as possible before moving to other housing options. Seniors can get services and financial help to stay at home longer. Also, caregivers can get time off work to support seniors at home.

In-home services for seniors

Domestic help

Domestic help is available at a reduced hourly rate. This includes housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation and shopping. You must hire the help from a “social economy business” approved by the Ministère de la santé et des services sociaux (department of health). The Régie d’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ or health insurance board) gives grants through the “Financial Assistance Program for Domestic Help Services” to help pay for the services.

Medical and other home-care services

At-home support for people with a loss of autonomy is a more comprehensive set of services. It includes nursing and medical care, psychosocial services, physiotherapy, help adapting a home and end-of-life care. You must contact your local community services centre (CLSC). They will evaluate your needs and help arrange services that are right for you. 

Meals

Meals-on-wheels programs can deliver hot meals. Search for a meals-on-wheels program in your area on the Regroupement des popotes roulantes website (French only). Enter the postal code in the section “Trouver une popote près de chez vous.”

Financial help

Tax credits

The provincial and federal governments offer various tax credits to make life easier for seniors and their caregivers. A tax credit is an amount you can use to lower your taxes.

Here are some tax credits:

  • The “Family Caregiver Amount Tax Credit” for those who support either a spouse or partner with a physical or mental impairment, or a family member who is dependent due to a physical or mental impairment.

The Revenu Québec website has information on other provincial tax credits.

Adapting a home

The Société d’habitation du Québec (SHQ or housing society) has a program to adapt a home for people with special needs. The “Residential Adaptation Assistance Program” can help with the cost of installing ramps, redoing a bathroom or enlarging doorways.

Decisions about housing

You might be wondering who decides whether you need to move to other housing options  when you can no longer stay at home. See our article Housing for Persons in Loss of Autonomy to learn more.

Caregivers: Time off work

If you are a caregiver, you’re allowed a leave of absence from work to care for someone.

If you’re not related to the person you’re caring for, your employer may require a form saying you are a caregiver. The Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité au travail (CNESST or labour standards, pay equity and workplace health and safety board) has a form you can give to your employer as proof of your caregiver status (French only). It must be filled out by a health and social services professional.

To learn about the number of days you can take off, see the section “How many days can I be absent to take care of my children’s health or education, or the health of other people who are close to me?” in our article Time Off Work for Personal and Family Reasons. You can also consult our guide “Caregivers: Practical Legal Tools” for more information.

Important! The rules on time off are different for some workers.

For example, the rules will probably be different if you work for the federal government, a bank (except caisses populaires), a radio station, an interprovincial transport company or a telecommunication company. These places of employment are covered by rules set by the federal government. The time off rules explained above are for employees under provincial-government rules. You can find more information on federal rules on the “Federal labour standards” page of the Government of Canada’s website.

Caregivers falling under either provincial or federal rules who have to take time off might be able to get special employment insurance benefits. These benefits apply to caring for a critically ill family member or for a person who considers the caregiver to be family.