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Many seniors transitioning to care homes too early: expert

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One expert says many seniors are making the transition into long-term care homes too early

A long-term care facility is the right option for some seniors, but one expert says some are relocating too early

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s often a difficult conversation to have: When is the best time for a senior to move into a long-term care home?

As it turns out, one expert says in some cases, people are relocating too early.

Age is more than a number, says Dr. Roger Wong with UBC’s division of geriatric medicine — he shared that sentiment during a recent Tedx talk. There’s no question that a long-term care facility is the right option for some seniors, he adds, but also made the point that for some seniors — that relocation is happening prematurely.

That can bring its own problems, he explains.

“Just the whole requirement to readjust and adapt to the new environment. Rebuilding of the social network, and the friends and the neighbours and so on.”

He believes when the move is made too early, it can bring a loss of independence and a loss of familiarity.

“It is a lot of, to them, a lot of familiar memories, a loss of social network, loss of memories in the home and so on.”

Wong says we can use technology like smart phones and smart watches to allow seniors to continue living at home longer. Those tools can give reminders for things like taking medication — and allow loved ones to check in.