I’m an older adult being forced from my home. What can I do?
Question & AnswerI’m an older adult being forced from my home. What can I do?
2. Learn about who can make decisions
As long as you're , you have the choice to make your own decisions or have someone make them for you.
If you feel pressure to change where you live, you can start by learning who legally has the right to make this type of decision.
You may want to talk to people you trust about your options. Will you stay in your current home? What choices do you have for the future?
Find out about government services that can help you continue to live safely at home and about other options, such as long-term care, retirement homes, and supportive housing.
If you're being abused, you can also get help by calling the Seniors Safety Line at 1-866-299-1011. They can talk to you about what's troubling you and give you information. They know about agencies across the province that help in situations of . These agencies can put you in touch with people who can explain your options, so you can decide what to do next.
Making your own decisions
Unless you've been found , you have the right to make your own decisions.
Even if you make decisions that are more dangerous for you, you have the right to make your own choices. For example, if it's difficult for you to live alone and do tasks around your home, you cannot be forced into a care home. You still have the right to live alone. This is true even if it means that you're lonely or have a hard time taking care of yourself.
You cannot make your own decisions if you're mentally incapable. This happens when you're not able to understand:
- the information needed to make a decision, or
- what could happen because of decisions you make about treatment or personal care.
You may already have a Power of Attorney for Personal Care. This is a legal document that gives someone else the power to make decisions about your personal care.
If you don't have one, you may want to make a Power of Attorney for Personal Care naming the person who you want to make decisions if you become mentally incapable. The person you choose is called your “attorney”. But this does not mean that they have to be a lawyer. They act as your .
A Power of Attorney for Personal Care allows someone to make decisions for you only when you're found to be incapable of making decisions and caring for yourself.
Personal care decisions are about:
- where you live
- your health care, which includes decisions about treatment by a health practitioner, moving into a , and getting personal assistance services in a long-term care home
- your diet, clothing, hygiene, and safety
When you set up a Power of Attorney for Personal Care, you can include what you want and don't want to happen related to your care. For example, you can say if there are certain medical treatments you don't want to get if you become seriously ill. These are sometimes called “advance care plans”.
Who decides if you're mentally incapable
The law says who can decide if you're mentally incapable of making decisions about health treatments or long-term care.
For decisions about health treatments, a health-care practitioner does this. Health practitioners include doctors, nurses, dentists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and psychologists.
For decisions about long-term care, an evaluator decides whether or not you're mentally capable. The Health Care Consent Act says which health-care professionals can act as evaluators. These are nurses, doctors, some social workers, dieticians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists, audiologists, and speech language pathologists.
Long-term care decisions include:
- whether you need to move into a long-term care home
- whether you need personal assistance services, such as help with bathing and eating, while you're living in a long-term care home or a
Your substitute decision-maker can make decisions for you only if you're found incapable.