Ongoing COVID-19 Response

Ongoing COVID-19 Response

Message from Bruce Mahony, Executive Director:

I am writing to provide a brief overview of how our Central Toronto office of Home Instead Senior Care continues to operate our home care services through this challenging time.

As Toronto begins Stage 3 of reopening, we continue to recognize the risks that COVID-19 present for our senior population and are delivering our services appropriately. To date, we have had no clients who have had, or are suspected of having COVID-19.

Our Central Toronto office was a first responder in developing and following best practice disease management procedures to limit the spread of COVID-19 . We are maintaining our strict disease management procedures throughout Stage 3 of reopening, and continue to actively monitor the spread of COVID-19 to ensure we are prepared for prompt action to protect the health and well-being of our clients, their families, our caregivers, and our administrative staff.

  • Access to Proactive Industry Updates: As a Board member of Home Care Ontario, the industry association for home care services, I have been involved in 30+ meetings and received 200+ communications related to the COVID-19 pandemic, to date. We maintain a  sub-committee of service provider organization executives, which holds a virtual meeting each Thursday morning, to ensure that we are sharing best practices and communicating the needs and challenges of senior care to the Ontario government. Many of us have been through similar situations, such as SARS in 2003, and due to this, we have experience and sophistication in dealing with this type of healthcare crisis.
  • Office Operations: Throughout the pandemic, home care has been designated as an essential service, and has been available for seniors which require these services. With regard to our physical office, we consider ourselves to be an essential service for many of our clients and community service-sector partners and, as such, our physical office currently remains open, with Lisa and myself present. Our other administrative employees are working remotely on a virtual private network with full access to our telephone system.  This allows us to continue to plan collaboratively and best respond to changing community requirements, while protecting the health and safety of our staff. As the longest-standing Home Instead Senior Care operator in Ontario, our office is very well established, enabling us to remain stable and weather this healthcare and economic crisis.
  • Nursing Expertise: We have two very experienced clinical Registered Nurses on staff, who provide coaching, guidance, and decision-making. Their expertise and leadership continues to be pivotal to the safe operation of our office and delivery of care within the community.
  • Supply of PPE: When I first saw the COVID-19 situation emerging offshore, our office quickly procured buffer inventory of high quality personal protective equipment (PPE). We have not faced the shortages of supplies that other agencies have experienced. We continue to hold a sufficient supply of PPE to safely deliver senior in-home care services, and have developed a breadth of PPE supplier relationships to support ongoing access to PPE.
  • Caregiver Quality Control Standards: We want you to know that we have been guiding our caregivers and providing them with regular updates. Our caregiving staff are certified and trained and we have been sending out constant reminders on best practices and protocols. We are requiring regular screening of our caregivers in the community and in facilities, in compliance with – and frequently in excess of – provincial and congregate living health care standards. We continue to hire new caregivers to ensure we can meet the senior in-home care needs of our clients, and actively screen these caregivers prior to staffing.
  • New Clients: At this time, while we are receiving inquiries, we are not taking on new clients who are in self-isolation or who have travelled outside of Ontario, in order to best protect our existing clients, their families, and our caregivers.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.



Make this holiday season the best ever for Toronto seniors

Home Instead Toronto is expanding its charitable giving with GIVE65

Residents Aged 65 and Over is Expected to Double

For the first time in history, there are now more Torontonians over the age of 65 than children aged 15 and under. Looking ahead, the 500,000 plus Toronto residents aged 65 and over is expected to double to over a million residents by 2041. The City of Toronto has a long-time seniors advocate in Councillor Josh Matlow and The Honourable Raymond Cho is Minister of Seniors & Accessibility in Ontario. Yet there are still 15,000 seniors without the care they need in long term care facilities. So despite the recognition that more care is required for our elders, changes in health and home care are slow to be implemented. One organization, Home Instead Senior Care, is leading the charge in philanthropy for seniors to enable not-forprofit organizations in Toronto to provide more care to the seniors they serve.

Home Instead Senior Care Foundation of Canada

The Home Instead Senior Care Foundation of Canada was established in 2017 to help enhance the lives of aging adults and those who care for them. In actual fact, the Foundation has provided grant funding to senior-focused registered charities in Canada since 2003 and since then $226,000 has been distributed through two signature programs – GIVE65 and Be a Santa to a Senior.

Bruce Mahony, Executive Director of Home Instead Senior Care in Central Toronto is also a founding director and trustee of the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation of Canada. “There are many not-for profit-organizations doing great work but with limited resources to serve our growing senior population,” says Mahony. “With our GIVE65 campaign, we hope to bring together Torontonians who care and charities that have an impact on the health and well-being of seniors.”

Expanding Charitable Giving

In honour of its 25th anniversary, Home Instead is expanding its charitable giving with GIVE65, which is an online giving platform committed to honouring seniors by partnering with registered charities that support seniors. This year alone, Home Instead has partnered with 17 organizations serving more than 230,000 seniors across Canada with a donation matching program. Participating charities provide a range of services to seniors, including transportation, meals and nutrition, low income housing, Alzheimer’s and dementia care and hospice care.

Be a Senior to a Santa

Be a Senior to a Santa has provided gifts for nearly 20 years to seniors who are alone at holiday time. Many of us assume that seniors have family and friends to help them or visit. But according to Statistics Canada data, as many as 1.4 million older Canadians report feeling lonely. The holidays are particularly hard for those who live independently and social isolation can often lead to social loneliness. This year, Home Instead is expanding Be a Santa to a Senior to enable companies and their employees to make charitable contributions, which will be matched by the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation. Recently, Great West Life and Rexall Drug initiated this change by partnering with 16 senior-focused organizations across Canada and raising thousands of dollars that were directed to charities serving seniors.

In addition to Home Instead’s GIVE65 and Be a Santa to a Senior, Mahony encourages all Torontonians to contribute in whatever manner they can to enrich the lives of seniors in our community.

“Social isolation can have a negative impact on a number of health conditions and can result in an increase in dementia and cognitive decline,” adds Mahony. “While connecting with seniors helps to prevent isolation, GIVE65 and Be a Santa to a Senior helps many more seniors in our community by supporting their services.” Mahony offers the following tips for family and friends to make this the best holiday season yet for the seniors around them.

Tips for Family and Friends

  1. Take a senior to tea. Going out for tea/coffee and a good conversation can make a huge difference in the person’s outlook and attitude.
  2. Make a meal and share it with your senior neighbour at their house or yours. Eating alone isn’t very appealing to many people and can lead to malnutrition and dehydration.
  3. Take neighbours and friends to their medical appointments and to do errands. Doctor visits can be overwhelming, particularly if there’s illness and medications involved. Having a second pair of hands (and ears) to absorb the outcome of the visit can be reassuring and ensures that the senior understands the next steps in their recovery or care.
  4. Encourage your children and grandchildren to put their volunteer hours into senior care. There’s nothing that will bring a smile to the face of a senior more than children and young adults.
  5. If you’re visiting a senior, bring them a treat they’ll enjoy such as a chocolate bar or ice cream or a magazine if their diet is restricted. Everyone likes to splurge every now and again.
  6. Use Facetime or Skype to enable a senior to visit family members in distant locations. The face to face interaction is quick and easy and much less expensive than a plane ticket!

Mary Ann Freedman works with Home Instead Senior Care and has over 25 years experience working with organizations who serve 50+ adults.

Celebrate Seniors with GIVE65

Celebrate Seniors with GIVE65

65-Hour Fundraising Campaign to Benefit Seniors

June is Seniors Month and for the first time in history there are more Torontonians over the age of 65 than children aged 15 and under.  Looking ahead, the number of people in Toronto 65 and over is expected to almost double by 2041.  To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Home Instead Senior Care Foundation is leading the charge in philanthropy for seniors with the first and only crowd-fundraising platform exclusively devoted to helping registered charities in Canada raise money online for programs and services that create hope for seniors.

Until now, seniors were often overlooked when it comes to philanthropy.  And many meaningful charities are underfunded.  With the GIVE65 Incentive Fund, Home Instead Senior Care Foundation of Canada, aims to kick start charitable giving in support of seniors and increase social awareness and the capacity of charitable organizations to care for the growing senior population.

Bruce Mahony, Executive Director of Home Instead Senior Care in central Toronto is also a founding director and trustee of the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation of Canada.  “There are many not for profit organizations doing great work but with limited resources to serve our growing senior population,” says Mahony.  “With our GIVE65 campaign, we hope to bring together Torontonians who care, and organizations who can have an impact on the health and well-being of seniors.”

Mahony has devoted most of his life to caring for seniors, first as a caregiver for his grandmother and more recently leading Home Instead for over 17 years.  Home Instead is located at Davenport and Belmont Avenues and serves Yorkville and The Annex.  Mahony also serves on the Board of Directors of Home Care Ontario, the organization that is the voice of home care in Ontario.

So here’s how Give 65 works.

  • From July 9 – 11 for 65 hours, participating registered charities will encourage businesses, corporations, donor and supporters to make a donation at in support of seniors in Toronto.
  • Before that, registered charities providing programs and services to seniors across Canada (such as Belmont House) are applying to participate in the program.  All participating organizations are eligible for matching grants from the Home Instead Canada Foundation.
  • Home Instead Senior Care Foundation of Canada is providing $50,000 in matching grants.  Each charity is eligible for up to $5000 in matching grants.
  • Funds will be advanced to the charities beginning on August 31 and donors will be issued tax deductible receipts.
  • Participating charities provide a range of services to seniors including transportation, meals and nutrition, low-income housing, Alzheimer’s and dementia care and hospice care.
  • All donations must be made on the GIVE65 site (

Philanthropy for Seniors

This is not the first time Home Instead Senior Care has lead the charge in philanthropy for seniors.   Home Instead Senior Care is active in fundraising drives for seniors around #Giving Tuesday, which is an annual end of year giving period globally when people give back in impactful ways.  This year #GivingTuesday is on December 3, 2019.

Home Instead is also known for its hugely successful Be a Santa to a Senior Campaign which has provided tens of thousands of gifts to isolated and needy seniors across Canada for over 15 years.

“At Home Instead we believe that part of our corporate culture is to give back to the communities we live in,” adds Mahony.  “GIVE65 is a way to shine the spotlight on the needs of seniors in Toronto to enable them to live full and meaningful lives independently at home or in residences.”

Mary Ann Freedman works with Home Instead Senior Care and has over 25 years experience working with organizations who serve 50+ adults.

Senior Care Plan – Planning for the Future

Planning for the Future - Senior Care Plan

Senior Care Plan – By Mary Ann Freedman

Conversations between Older Adults and Their Adult Children Are Needed

Today many Canadians are preparing to live a long life. Average life expectancy has grown from 68 in 1950 to 81 today. Canadian smokers have steadily declined. Many people are working longer. Others are finding ways to look younger.

But how many people you know are preparing for how they live the last 10 to 15 years of their lives? Not enough.

The facts don’t lie. Research shows that if you reach 85, you have a 50/50 chance of having dementia. And that means you probably won’t be able to handle your finances or pay bills; you may not remember whether you’ve had lunch or taken your medication; and your affable manner may be replaced with emotional outbursts.

According to a new survey by Home Instead Inc., while 73 percent of seniors have a written will, only 13 percent have actually made arrangements for long term care.  (senior care plan)

“When planning for their later years, many people go straight to making funeral arrangements and financial plans rather than taking time to prepare for care that might be necessary,” says Bruce Mahony of Home Instead Senior Care. “Unfortunately, many people do not consider that as we age, we need extra care. While most seniors prefer to age at home, they may not realize the range of options available to them, and that this time in their lives requires planning, too.”

The survey also revealed that that aging parents are far more comfortable discussing their plans for their final years (89 percent) than adult children are discussing their parent’s plans (68 percent).

So how do families plan for the demands of a longer life?

Senior Care Plan

  1. Accept that ‘Older Adult’ is a new phase with new realities and needs much like the ‘teenage’ years, mid-life and empty nester years.
  2. Be astute and recognize changes in attitude and abilities that you observe in an older adult for what they are – an opportunity to do things differently, rather than as the potential loss of freedom and independence.
  3. Decide where you want to live and what you can afford. Are you a ‘people person’ and want to live in a community or retirement residence with other people? Or do you want to live in your own home with some extra help? According to CARP, 93% of seniors in Canada live at home and want to stay there as long as possible. However, Home Instead found that only 74 % of seniors have shared their wishes with their adult children.
  4. Select a close friend or family member to be the substitute decision maker if you’re unable to communicate or make informed decisions. And different people can be selected because of their strengths in different areas. For example one person may handle the financial affairs and pay bills, while another makes health-related decisions.
  5. Prepare the documents – Ensure that your will, Power of Attorney for Personal Care (POA), life insurance, inheritance are up to date.
  6. Share your plan with a close friend or family member who can step in as a substitute decision maker when you’re unable to do so. And give them the information they need. Consider having a family meeting where you can share your documents and contact information for your closest advisors (legal, financial, doctor) with adult children.
  7. Explore ways of covering the cost of increased care and other needs as you age in place. What resources are available from the government? Explore extended health, long term care and other insurance to help cover the cost of special drugs, home care, physio, assistive devices to name a few.
  8. All good plans require good research. If you don’t know what your options are, engage your family and friends to help. The more they know, the better able they will be able to implement your plan.
  9. Engage in continuous learning. Explore activities that will help you stay active both physically and mentally. You may need to replace your weekly tennis or golf game with bridge or a walking club.

Mary Ann Freedman works with Home Instead Senior Care and has over 20 years experience working with organizations who serve 50+ adults.

For more information about a senior care plan, call Bruce Mahony at 416-972-5096 or use the contact form.

Are you a Family Caregiver?

Lisa and Bruce Mahony were on the cover and inside of: Neighbours of Yorkville and the Annex this month about being a caregiver.

Advice to help you cope and stay healthy as a caregiver

Much is being written about caring for a loved one, but there is hardly a topic more complicated and heartbreaking than this caregiver topic for many Canadians. Whether your loved one is recuperating from an illness or surgery, has been diagnosed with cancer, or has a chronic condition such as dementia many families are asking themselves, what does it mean to care for my loved one?

It may range from taking that person to medical appointments to helping them with such necessities of life as bathing and dressing, making meals and monitoring medication, or even serving as a companion so that they stay engaged and don’t slide downhill.

Acting as a caregiver can be tough, but it’s an important and necessary role as we help loved ones recuperate or manage their care. For many people caring for a loved one is a meaningful and gratifying experience. For others it can be daunting and a highly frustrating and demanding challenge.

“At Home Instead we see families who are torn apart caring for loved ones,” reveals Bruce Mahony of Home Instead Senior Care in Toronto. “While the primary caregiver may feel over-burdened, other family members may feel ignored or helpless if they can’t be around as much as they would like.”

Often siblings or adult grandchildren have their own views on what’s best for their loved one. One solution is for each member to own one area of care (medical, personal care, finances), thereby empowering each family member with responsibility while also alleviating some of the demand.

“Caring for someone when you don’t live close by and can’t be there regularly is another challenge we often encounter,” said Mahony. “Home Instead caregivers can visit for a few hours a week, take your loved one out for a meal, to appointments, or run errands.”

Even with assistance, the challenge for caregivers is they become consumed with taking care of their loved one and neglect to care for themselves. Understandably self-care is one of the best things you can do for yourself, but it’s also one of the best things you can do for your loved one.

To keep from burning out, make sure you:

  • Eat healthfully – Comfort foods may make you feel better in the moment, but a balanced and healthy diet will help you maintain your energy over the long-term.
  • Exercise regularly – While it may feel like a chore, exercise releases endorphins and helps your body fight stress.
  • Try to get a good night’s sleep – A full 8 hours every night may not always be possible, but protecting your sleep should be a priority. If your sleep is interrupted and you need to take a nap during the day, do not exceed short, 15-20 minute naps or you’ll find it difficult to sleep through the night.
  • Stay home if you’re not feeling well – You’re of no help to anyone if you’re not feeling well and your body will take longer to recover if you don’t allow it to fight off illness.
  • Keep up to date on your medical appointments – Your health is just as important as your loved-one’s. Don’t ignore warning signs and make sure to speak with your doctor about your own health challenges.
  • Take care of your own emotional and mental health – Caregivers often put themselves under tremendous pressure and taking care of your mental health is important. Home Instead offers links ( and online tools to help you assess your stress level and methods to cope with caregiver stress, allowing your family caregiving role to be more rewarding. Another great resource is CAMH (

“It’s tough for many people to talk about, but caregivers face depression, resentment and guilt as they travel the journey with their loved one,” said Mahony. “As a caregiver you build support networks around your loved ones, but you need to build a support network for yourself too.”

For more information, call Bruce Mahony at 416-972-5096 or use the contact form.

Dementia Knowledge, Five Ways to Improve

Home Instead Senior Care in Toronto believes that dementia care begins with education and knowledge

Bill Gates recently announced that he’s donating $100 Million to research into Dementia.

In a blog post published on November 13, Gates announced that he’d be donating $50 Million of his own money to the UK- based Dementia Discovery Fund.  He said that he will be donating another $50 Million to smaller startups researching the disease.

Today there are 564,000 Canadians living with dementia at a cost of $10.4 Billion each year.    And the numbers will continue to escalate as the population ages.  Nearly 1 million Canadians are expected to have dementia within 15 years.

With the growing numbers, most of us have been personally touched by someone with dementia – a parent or grandparent, a neighbour or a colleague.  Without the financial resources of Bill Gates, how can we do our part to advance the understanding of such a wide-spread condition?  And what can we do with the resources that are available?

Bruce Mahony, Managing Director of Home Instead Senior Care in Toronto believes that it all begins with education and knowledge.  “The first thing children and families can do is to beef up their knowledge of what dementia and Alzheimer’s are, and how they can help their loved ones improve the quality of their lives, and in some cases reduce the risk factors”.

Here are five ways to improve your knowledge of dementia.

  1. What’s the difference between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia?

Dementia describes a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning, according to the Mayo Clinic.  Dementia is an umbrella disease that includes several types – valcular, Lewy Body, Mixed, Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal.  Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia for people over 65.

  1. What are the symptoms of dementia?

The most common symptoms are memory loss that disrupts daily life, confusion with time and place, trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships, decreased or poor judgment, changes in mood or personality and problems with speaking and writing.

  1. Is dementia hereditary?

The majority of dementia is not inherited, but this depends upon the particular cause of dementia.  Some rare causes of dementia are very clearly inherited, for example Huntington’s disease.

Many people fear that Alzheimer’s disease in the family may be passed on to children and grandchildren.  According to the Alzheimer’s Society UK, in the vast majority (99 percent) of cases, it is not so.

  1. Who is at Risk of getting dementia?

Dementia is not an inevitable consequence of ageing according to medical journal The Lancet which released a paper in July 2017 entitled “Dementia prevention, intervention and care”.  The study shows one in three cases could be prevented or delayed if people took better care of their brains.

The Lancet study identifies nine potentially modifiable health and lifestyle factors that if eliminated might prevent dementia.  They are:

  • Midlife hearing loss
  • Failing to complete secondary (high school and above education
  • Smoking
  • Failing to seek early treatment for depression
  • Physical inactivity
  • Social isolation
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 Diabetes.
  1. What can be done to reduce the risks of dementia?

Dr. Anotine Hakin, emeritus professor of neurology at the University of Ottawa offers hopeful advice in his new book Save Your Mind: Seven Rules to Avoid Dementia.  Read. Write. Play music. Be physically active. Be socially engaged. Eat healthy food. Maintain a healthy weight. Sleep well.  Don’t sit mindlessly in front of the TV.

A few simple lifestyle changes

“While this advice sounds simple, it’s surprising how many people ignore what has now been proven in the research,” adds Bruce Mahony of Home Instead.  “I think that these new findings are particularly relevant for young and mid-aged Canadians who have seen the damaging effects of dementia on their loved ones.  There is now hope that dementia can be delayed or avoided with a few simple lifestyle changes.  That’s news in itself”.

Home Instead Senior Care offers a series of resources free of charge to help families understand and cope with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  They include Access the Daily Companion care app; 24/7 Care line can be accessed at 1 800 939 1533; and online help for; and

Working Women Experience Stigma Due to Caregiving

New Research Reveals Working Women Experience Stigma Due to Caregiving - Senior In Home Care Toronto

New Research Reveals Working Women Experience Stigma Due to Caregiving

Home Instead Senior Care Offers Resources to Support Employees Caring for Aging Parents

By Mary Ann Freedman Home Instead Senior Care

Stigma Due to Caregiving: A new survey found that half of working female caregivers feel they have to choose between being a good employee and being a good daughter. In addition, 25% of working daughters report a workplace stigma associated with being a caregiver for an aging parent, and 23% have found that their supervisor is unsympathetic, according to Home Instead Inc.

In an effort to start a conversation about how working family caregivers can be better supported in the workplace, Home Instead Senior Care has launched a new public education program, Daughters in the WorkplaceSM. The new program offers free resources to help educate working family caregivers on how to work with their employers to address some of the challenges they face.

“Often, we see working caregivers who feel that they have to make a choice between work and their aging loved one,” said Bruce Mahony, Managing Director of Home Instead Senior Care in Toronto. “They are often unaware of what resources are available and how to navigate those conversations with their employer.”

Home Instead offers the following tips to family caregivers to help relieve stress and achieve better balance.

  1. Be realistic. Take time to understand how much you can do to take care of a loved one, do well at your job, and stay healthy.
  2. Honesty is the best policy. Be honest with yourself and your employer about the issues you are facing and what you need. Create a plan that contains ways you can complete your work and still meet your loved one’s needs.
  3. Get plenty of rest. Think about ways you can enhance the quality of your sleep. This will help you handle life’s daily challenges.
  4. Ask for help including respite care. Sometimes a little help goes a long way. Check with your employer about any backup emergency care services your company might offer through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Some do. Think about ways others could help you. If you have family nearby, they may be able to help, or check with your local Home Instead Senior Care® office ( to learn how professional caregiving could help you.
  5. Look for ways to give back. If your employer offers flexibility and help, think about ways to do something extra and, step up to the plate!

Home Instead Senior Care provides non-medical in-home care services for seniors in their homes and in retirement and care residences in Central Toronto. Care can range from a few hours per week up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information you can reach Bruce Mahony in the neighbourhood at 21 Belmont Street or call 416 972 5096.

Stigma Due to Caregiving

Between March 21 and 28, 2017, 1,001 working female caregivers, aged 45-60, were surveyed in Canada and the United States by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care network.