Aging in place

A guide to planning and prevention; two keys to successfully maintaining your independence.

By ATB Weath

Has the COVID-19 pandemic caused you to rethink how you want to access continuing care services if or when you or your loved ones need assistance? Are you reconsidering your willingness to move into a communal living facility? If so, you're not alone. According to a National Institute on Aging/TELUS Health National Survey completed in July 20201:

  • “Approximately 60% of Canadians, and almost 70% of Canadians 65 years of age and older, report that COVID-19 has changed their opinion on whether or not they’d arrange for themselves or an older loved one to live in a nursing or retirement home.”
  • “91% of Canadians of all ages, and almost 100% of Canadians 65 years of age and older report that they plan on supporting themselves to live safely and independently in their own home as long as possible.”


Maintaining your independence in your own home requires more than an act of will. It requires proactive and ongoing assessments of the safety and accessibility of your home environment, your finances, current health and long-term health concerns.


Planning for the cost of care and home maintenance

Over time with age or due to injury or illness, you may find that you can no longer perform some of the activities of daily living (ADLs) on your own and may need help at home.  ADLs are the basic self-care tasks individuals perform every day including2:

  • Bathing
  • Toileting
  • Dressing/undressing
  • Personal grooming (shaving, combing hair, brushing teeth)
  • Transferring (getting in and out of bed or a chair without help)
  • Feeding yourself

If at any point in time you find you or your loved one needs assistance with the ADLs, you may be eligible for Home Care services through AHS. To access publicly-funded home care services through AHS Home Care, an assessment needs to be completed by an AHS health professional. See the AHS Home Care brochure for more information.

AHS Home Care may not provide all the services you may want or need, however. Think about about other activities we all undertake which are essential to maintaining our health and wellbeing, such as:

  • Preparing healthy and nutritious meals
  • Accessing transportation from your home to attend important appointments, run errands and interact with your community
  • Staying active and engaging in meaningful social interactions
  • Maintaining your home environment

Family members may play an important role in assisting you with some of the activities above. According to Statistics Canada, “In 2018, 7.8 million Canadians aged 15 and older (25% of the population) were caregivers. Of these caregivers, almost 1.5 million were aged 65 and older.”3 

Keep in mind that your family member caregiver(s) may not be able to assist you with all tasks and may need respite.  That’s why it is prudent to budget for the services of a private home care provider, as well as other in-home services you may need. 

The Government of Alberta reports that the average wage of a health care aide is $18.99/hour4. However, it is important to note that this is not the cost you can expect to pay as a user of private home care services. Employers have to cover multiple other expenses related to employees, such as: CPP, EI, WCB premiums and employee benefits, as well as their own operating margin. All of these costs are passed along to you, the client. Based on this, it is not hard to see how potential per hour private home care costs could range from $30-$40/hour in Alberta, depending on the type of services required and experience of the aide. These services are typically provided in two-hour blocks of time.

It may also be worthwhile to budget for other home services to minimize risks of injury to yourself or others, possible damage to your home, or personal liability if services are not performed by a professional.

In the link below you will find a workbook that includes a budgeting worksheet and checklists you and your loved ones can use to assess the affordability of aging in place and the safety and accessibility of your home environment. It also includes links to helpful resources.

Aging in place workbook

Your aging in place resource for budgeting, home safety and accessibility.

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