Long Term Care Staff Study - Part 1 - PSW

Long-term care is in a state of crisis, but you may have known that already. Nothing new. Before COVID-19 made its mark on the world and the industry, the tragedies within long-term care finally fell under scrutiny. At least here in Ontario. Due to the actions of a few bad actors, now tried and convicted, and the resulting investigation, the relatively new Ministry of Long Term Care (MLTC) issued the request for an investigation into the staffing situation within the industry. In the span of 6 months, despite the 1st wave of COVID-19, a 50-page document was produced. We have taken the numbers and compared them to the source where ambiguous and condensed them into a visual guide. In this 1st part, we will be looking at the state of Personal Support Workers (PSWs). Part 2 will explore the state of Nurses as outlined in this study into long-term care in Ontario.

Staff Distribution

At first glance, the above data may seem promising, but it’s far from the truth. One staff member per resident may seem like a dream come true, everyone has one, and there are a few to spare. Where’s the problem? Why is everybody screaming that we need more PSWs? They make up 58% of the hired staff of a home?

Mental health and chronic conditions can’t wait 12-16 hours until a caregiver is back on shift. It can’t wait over the weekend or when a caregiver has to take time off. With less than half (PSWs, Practical Nurses, and Registered Nurses) working full time, you can be sure that 1 staff to 1 resident becomes 1 staff to 2 residents if we talk about 1 shift a day.

Despite being more than 1 hired staff per resident, despite there being more than 1 trained PSW in Ontario per resident in long-term care, residents still receive on average 2.3 hours of attention from a PSW in a 24h time period. This is on par because, when talking about long-term care PSW, it employs only half of all the PSWs in the province. Clearly, not the 1 to 1 days we are hoping for.

Long Term Care Staff Study - PSW Demographics
Demographics Unpacked

Although anecdotal, regarding demographics, many of the homes we work with also tell us that the first language of close to half of their caregivers is not English. This is not to say they lack fluency, but an indicator of them being 1st generation immigrants; this in part can be correlated with age and sex distribution. Healthcare and Education being female-dominated industries, both preferred choices of new immigrants who may lack the transferable work or educational experience, or Canadian accreditation may come at a higher cost than that of transition.

Long Term Care Staff Study - PSW Enrolment Programs

Although an attractive job for newcomers, and a position in high demand, there is not enough incentive to become a PSW. At the time of writing, we did not receive a number for the available enrollment positions across the province, but the long-term care study describes it as “consistent.” Across the years, a visible drop of students is visible from 8000 in 2016 to 6500 in 2019. Of note, the same document also mentions the industry losing on average 9000 PSWs/year as of 2011.

Long Term Care Staff Study - PSW Depletion
Drop out, burn out.

Caregiver job satisfaction is the leading cause of burnout and them fleeing the industry. The lack of attractive wages does not help the situation either.

Understandably, staffing can be the largest cost of a home. Hiring more people may mean that everyone gets fewer hours or a smaller hourly pay. It’s not fair.

Without a top-down reform, attractive salaries, and industry recognition, there are few options to go with. Among them is to invest in technologies that can better the lives of caregivers. Enhancing communication for everyone will result in a better environment to work in and better care outcomes. We’ve actually written about strategies a home can adopt to avoid staff burnout. Free online resources and working with as opposed to ‘around’ or ‘against’ the families is a great first step. You can read it here.

Download the infographic from here.

Lastly, if you wish to read the full study the infographic is based on, you can do so here.

Part 2 – Nurses coming in 2 weeks.


First off, if you did not know that the exists… now you do, and you’re welcome. Furthermore the acronym has happened Intersex and Allies. Thus the current version is LGBTQIA+, double welcome.

Quick LGBT History.

So why is this important, you may ask. And it’s a fair question to ask. It’s 2021, most of us probably have that gay friend or relative and we know that they are ok people. We say this as we live in cities with active communities and neighborhoods. But it was not always like this. When it comes to long-term care, those who are now at the age where a nursing home or assisted living facility is something to consider still have fresh in their mind the events that lead to Pride from the 60s. Here I’m talking about the Stonewall riots, arguably the most significant event in the liberation movement across North America. The LGBT youngsters of the time, those struggling with their identity, or those born shortly after having memories of anti-gay legislation, violent discrimination, and the bloody clashes that happened in the summer of 1969.

Exactly one year after the riots, the first Pride event was hosted. With the aim to commemorate the events and show the community’s solidarity against oppression.


Yes, as fabulous as some of us may be, we still age. Often times with a dire need for additional care. And as mentioned above, the 2020 urbanite who has LGBTQI+ in their network may disregard one’s sexual preference and treat them like any other person. You know, like the intent behind the whole liberation movement. But now, think those aforementioned activists and rebels who were on the front line in 1969. The participants of the various initiatives shortly after. All these people harbor a strong distrust of government institutions, such as law and healthcare. Furthermore, legal recognition of same-sex couples is a recent development. They have been discriminated against by these systems for decades. Adoption laws did not recognize same-sex couples.

There is only one sad conclusion to be drawn. The aging LGBT community often ends being comprised of isolated, lonely, childless, and potentially impoverished individuals. The loneliness epidemic, which we wrote about in the past, is stronger felt by the aging LGBTQs.


With the above in place, there is little to no support network for these individuals. This in turn makes care more challenging in some circumstances. Be it the embedded mistrust of the system, or the caregiver’s personal biases or expectations from LGBTQI+ individuals. Whatever the case, it remains important for the service provider/caregiver to educate themselves on the best practices to interact with individuals coming in with different backgrounds, histories, and trauma. When it comes to the LGBTQI+ there are plenty of resources on the internet to facilitate the institutional or individual’s educational process. On this topic, another great resource is The National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center, specifically this practical guide.

The extra mile

If you’re reading this and know of people who are living relatively isolated lives be it at home or retirement homes, there are 2 ways you can improve their long-term well-being. The Advance Care Plan, and caregiver education.

The Advance Care Plan

This is the millennia of TikTok, YOLO, and Carpe Diem. But to Live Laugh Love long time, we need to take care of our future selves with some of the decisions we make today. The idea of an advance care plan is nothing new, it is something that gets missed. It simply implies writing down how we want to be cared for when and if we are no longer able to take care of ourselves. How do you want to be called? What are some of your favorite routines, music, shows? …when should they pull the plug?

We all die. Most of us will need some form of care before we get there. We should have a say on how that care is provided. And for members of a historically discriminated against group, such a plan will hold accountable those slower to change and ensure one’s wishes will be respected.

Caregiver Education

We’re getting there. Organizations such as the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario have dedicated interest groups to help bring awareness. But when it comes to personalized care, it’s also important to have some of the details of that Advance Care Plan or the input from the guardian/primary_caregiver at hand. Technology, such as CareStory, but not only, can help facilitate this. Consider what solutions would best help you, your home, your residents, your co-workers or your friends have a higher satisfaction when engaged in the care process.


  • Pride is a show of solidarity that was born out of a violent clash between the LGBT Comunity and the Police in New York in the 60s.
  • LGBTQ adults have experienced historic, systemic, discrimination.  They are wary of trusting institutionalized care.
  • LGBTQ older adults are more likely to be alone and impoverished.
  • Awareness groups and professional organizations are making efforts to make the system more accessible and inclusive.
  • LGBTQIA+ individuals should consider the importance and creation of an Advance Care Plan.
  • Communicating care preferences directly or through proxy via technology such as CareStory will improve the quality of care one receives.



You can be amused at first thought, that’s ok, I’ll change your mind. ‘Stickers’ on doors can have a great positive impact on memory care! One of the objections to nursing ‘homes‘, long term care ‘homes‘, and retirement ‘homes‘ is the fact that they are too institutional and don’t feel well… like a home. Being more of a home can improve outcomes and offer a competitive edge … If occupancy rate is something you’re concern about that is.

Types of Doors

Now that you’ve entertained the thought for a few seconds, you may think that slapping a sticker on a door is enough to make an impact. Well, funny enough you’d be right to some extent. But the important nuance is the if you want it to work well you should consider several factors.

Firstly, what door are you putting the sticker on? what is the driving factor behind the decision? And secondly, if it goes on someone’s room, do they have any input? That being said, there are two clear distinctions in utility:


If all doors look alike then it is easy to get lost. If your door is unique, or the few others that look like it are few and (very) far in between, you won’t go in someone else’s room, or an empty room by accident. Furthermore, a corridor with identical doors looks like a hospital. a corridor with different doors looks more like an apartment building full of homes. And, as the administrator of Glaciar View Lodge told me, caregivers keep the doors closed more and knock more since they’ve had the door. An anecdote, but one would be more inclined to think that behind a hospital door is a patient but would think that someone lives behind an oak door like the one their neighbor across the street has on their front door.


The institutional feel of an environment, versus it feeling like home, can trigger exit-seeking behavior from some residents. This challenge that memory care institutions have to deal with manifests when residents wander through the building and elements such as exit doors can trigger a desire to leave and go home. Creating much panic in the building. Some companies specialize in the production of decals design to ‘disguise’ an egress or corridor door so as going through it needs to be a purposeful conscious decision, and a cursory glance would provide a more familial ‘at home’ impression.

Vendors and Prices

When I was first introduced to the concept of door decals and the impact they have on memory care, I knew of only one vendor. And honestly, there aren’t many out there. While there is little research on the topic, at least in English, resident feedback on the topic is nothing short of spectacular.

Alzheimer Store

The start of the Alzheimer Store is rooted in memory care, particularly the unfortunate experience of the founders whose immediate family struggled with Alzheimer’s disease. The Store is more tailored towards at-home care and making one’s home ‘Alzheimer-proof” through devices and systems to ensure that people can live independently as long as possible. Among the products they currently offer are door decals in limited variety as camouflage to prevent wandering outside the building. they can be found here, and these fire Proof designs come with a $185 price tag as of writing.

Az 0366-2T
az 0365-2T
Az 0364-2T

Shipping goes from $7 – $60 depending on the type and if you’re located in The US or Canada, but they do ship outside of NA if interested.

Creative Art Co

Creative Art Co understands the needs of memory care and provides a wide range of solutions designed to help with multiple aspects of care. The only complaint I would have is that a lot of their doors look computer-generated, that is not to say they don’t look good. but they don’t look as real. Due to the more extensive portfolio, the company does not stop at doors but offers decals better aimed at navigation, diversion, camouflage, activities, and beautification. There definitely looks like there is a cohesive artistic style that can be recognized in all their work. The benefit of this, of course, is the fact that if you are to get multiple products they will blend in with each other seamlessly and provide your residents a more seamless experience in your home.

But back to the doors. Creative Art Co offers both navigation (personalized resident door) decals, as well as diversion door decals, and here are some examples of their work.

creative art co - doors
creative art co - Porch diversion
creative art co - elevator diversion
creative art co - egress diversion

When it comes to pricing, this two-artist team wants you to reach out so they can have a better understanding of your needs. Of note, they seem to be based in Ontario Canada, and any price seen on their website would be in Canadian dollars. but they do offer installation services, which may be beneficial if you want to go for more elaborate installations.

True Doors

True Doors and their impact on memory care is what prompted this whole article. You may have heard of them; because their doors are insane. This is what happens when you hyper-specialize. True Doors, as the name implies are all about doors, over 500 designs, all digital scans. I don’t think there is any more to say about them. The doors are hyper-realistic and the variety can ensure that even in a larger home there would be little to no door duplication. Here are some options:

True Doors 1
True Doors 2

Being more of a product supplier vs a project taker, True Doos has more of a robust online shopping system, allowing you to purchase the doors off of their site directly. Furthermore, you can check out their instructional videos on their website or on youtube.

Regarding the money question… depends on where you’re from and shipping from Denmark can get expensive, but you’d be looking at ~$150-$180 per door.


Now I realize that what I’ve been writing about can be translated to ‘look at this pretty thing that’s also kind of effective but also kind of very expensive.’ Sorry, not sorry, a home should be a home. But here are some things to consider if you don’t have the (financial) resources to make amazing doors happen.


Shameless plug. Why? Because you can be looking at the base features for memory care support or you can get some addons for an enhanced experience of a few doors a month. And any which way you go, you would be empowering your caregivers to know the residents better, thus improving the resident’s experience and the caregiver’s job satisfaction. Still a win… and something to consider.


Learn More About CareStory


Donate a Door

The idea of ‘Donating a door’ came from Glaciar View Lodge who recently finished installing 100+ True Doors. The Administrator, Effie, is a true MVP, installing a couple of decals each lunch break for 3 months. But residents, for one reason or another, may need to leave their room so you may help someone new. Said someone, may want a different, new door. You don’t want to spend months (and thousands of dollars) installing doors, then repeat the whole process.

A local fundraiser to make someone’s day rest of days more enjoyable and carefree is something I would give money towards, wouldn’t you? I mean some of those doors look like art pieces, some of them actually are for that fact.


What & Why

There are 2 door decal directions that you can look into for the benefit of memory care facilities. Specifically, you have decals to help residents recognize their room and reduce wandering; and you have decals aimed at concealment to reduce the number of missing person alerts.


There are several vendors across North America and a reputable vendor in Europe. So you can save on shipping but have fewer design options. Most vendors are cognisant of regulations surrounding the industry, regarding materials used.

You can potentially ask for ‘door donations’ to slowly implement this concept across your building. Additionally, CareStory can help staff get an idea of who has a higher risk of wondering; and their patterns when that occurs.


Caregiver Burnout, we all know it’s real.

An investigation into the state of long-term care in Ontario (Canada) revealed that caregiver burnout starts before they even get a job. That is to say, close to % of personal support worker students quit before completing the program. Furthermore, approx. 40% of those who do graduate decide to pursue something else right after graduation. But, as the investigation concluded mid-2020, the onset of COVID-19 created government incentives for enrolment.

Yet, that did not solve the immediate problem. COVID meant putting the homes in isolation or lockdown. Which, in turn, meant no volunteers, no agency workers in most cases, and most importantly, no family. Understandably, this put a lot of pressure on the homes. On the other hand, families felt powerless and grew more demanding of the home; all the while, the residents suffered in lonely isolation. Isolation has a solution we explore here.

Granted, COVID is a new problem. A problem that exacerbated old problems, like staff shortage and burnout, the negative, unintentional impact family can have on care and the impacts of isolation. All this is currently pushing the system to its limits, often having it fail tragically. Yet, how can we tackle some of the old problems? Luckily we have both old and new solutions, some of which unfortunately are not well known.

why caregivers burn out

Customer Service

This may come as a surprise, but in an attempt to provide person-centered care, caregivers devote 99% of their attention to the resident and only 1% to the family.  Arguably, you may say that they should be giving residents 110% of their attention, and I understand where you’re coming from. But hear me out. The aim is to make everyone happy so caregivers have an easier time.

Ensuring that staff spent a bit more of their attention on families will give exponential returns in everyone’s satisfaction. Yes, everyone, not just families, staff, and residents as well. And it will take you one step further in reducing caregiver burnout.

You may think that the resident is your customer, and yes, they are. They should be the focus. But families are also your client. They are also your referral, your Google/Facebook/Yelp review. And with us millennials putting our loved ones in a home retirement or ALF. And boy, do we give those reviews a serious look. A generation of people grew up not knowing a time before Google. Think about it.


Positive Feedback Loops

Study after study has shown that having a positive relationship with the family results in more supportive and more involved families. Brushing families off or flat out disregarding them results in adversarial or competitive relationships with families. These negative interactions justify many caregivers’ burnout and jump ship for another home where the cycle repeats itself.

Caregivers need to volunteer feedback and information. Updating the families on the residents’ goings-on is an easy, low-cost activity that can greatly improve the families’ mood. The aforementioned studies point out that families suffer from feelings of guilt towards their loved ones put in care for the first few months, if not years. And it is important to show them that said loved ones are in good hands and treated with dignity.

As psychologists will tell you, we are more prone to notice the bad than the good. So it is imperative to point out the good, as the bad will not go on unnoticed. Caregivers communicating offers families a sense of security, a sense that they have made the right decision, and that you are a professional.


Use Technology

Do you know what professionals also do?  They use everything at their disposal to be masters of their craft. Everything means technology. If you want to help caregivers from burning out, caregivers need to be upgraded. COVID made this clear. A drop-in visit resulted in a rise in Video Calls. A step in the right direction. But it’s still using existing, generalized technology. Technology that due to the lack of specialization results in extra work to keep a sense of normalcy. If you want to take control of caregiver time, give a good chunk of it back, and empower families, Video Calls are not the way. Video Calls have existing caregivers on stretched lines having to sit in place holding a tablet if you’re unfortunate and don’t have the tablet stands or something similar.

So what would a specialized solution look like? Well, shameless plug here, CareStory is one such solution. It has a feature dedicated to asynchronous video communication. It allows families and residents to interact via video but is delayed and influenced by times best suited for the caregivers. No timeslots that can run over and push back a whole day. This on top of instant access to family-provided information without having caregivers run to the nearest point of care or… uh… computer… in a nurse’s office. All that running is what burns staff out.

But your EMR platform may have other integrations that allow communication with families. Be it one way or both ways. If it can be put directly in the hands of caregivers, communication would greatly improve their quality of life and the quality of care they provide.


In Conclusion, to avoid Caregiver Burnout, you should

  • Treat family like (future) customers.
  • Encourage caregivers to speak to the families and provide care updates, unprompted.
  • Empower families with the use of technology so that they can support caregivers from afar, as opposed to stressing them out unintentionally.


When it comes to family engagement, some of these you may know to some extent and maybe applying as well. Some you probably know but are not dedicating the time to implement. And lastly, some may be completely new. 

Family Engagement Via Social Media

Or you know, for the kids these days. The 20, 30… 40 somethings that are looking for a place for their grandparent, parent, relatives or maybe elderly acquaintances. This demographic will also soon be the main demographic. And you are doing yourself a disservice by not addressing them. And unlike a billboard on the freeway, a social media account is not enough to drive people to your door. Be it to signup, or keep in touch with their loved ones who may be residing within your facility to engage families online you need to do more the just exist in that world.

That being seen, consider finding that one social media savvy individual among your staff or even a trusted volunteer and tasking them for 1 to 2 hours a week to play the trumpet on the socials. Have them sing how great your home is! What amazing things you, your staff, and your residents are doing!

This will also give gentle reminders to the families of your residents to keep up to date with events. But more importantly, prompt family engagement and participation in whatever capacity they can.

If you’re thinking that you don’t know where to start, fear not though, your voluntold gets some support. An online marketing wizard has already thought about you. She has made this some 6 years ago and it has aged very well. The advice is sound and you don’t need to implement all the strategies presented. Check it out here, you don’t need to learn how to speak Emoji.

Events for Families

You’re doing this already, please don’t say you’re not doing this already. You do have an activities coordinator, they are doing this? If they’re not, get a new activities coordinator. Under the assumption that the events are happening, COVID permitting, there are probably some flyers or some odd way of communicating this to the families. This would make a great synergy with the social media person who should always be hungry for things to present to the digital audience. In a previous article about phone buddies, we mentioned Virtual Companions, which offer virtual symphonic concerts for SNFs and similar facilities, as a potential event for your residents. 

Get Them Involved In The Process

Again, this is something you should be doing already to some extent if families are not forcing themselves in already. One would argue that this is where you want them to be all the time, even though your staff may disagree. This may sound trite, I’m sorry, a study from 2007, building on previous similar studies, has shown that working with families as opposed to competing with families or flat out dismissing them is to the detriment of your staff in the long term. Combatative relationships create negative feedback loops that reinforce each other.

Having family members come in and assist your caregivers, CNAs or RNs is the ideal scenario for any home. The burden on the staff is lessened, the anxiety families feel is reduced, if families are given the ability to engage in the care process. One would  That’s why it’s important to work with the family. The study can be found here.

Training staff on intrapersonal skills will create positive or neutral at worst feedback loops. Thus improving the relationship with the family. A good place to start is the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s module on family engagement, which can be found here.

Engage Families with TelePresence

The one lesson everyone had to learn because of the Pandemic. A forced adaptation to the concept of visitations, the Zoom call or Face-Time. If you are fortunate enough to work in a retirement home as opposed to an SNF of LTC, this may not have been such a shock as the residents may be in a position where they can do all this themselves on their own personal devices. But unfortunately for the staff of LTCs and SNFs, the pandemic requires brought about a new set of challenges and costs in time and technology.

This should not discourage. As we move away from, ugh, paper, caregivers will benefit from instant access to digital tools. The initial investment in even 1 tablet can significantly improve the quality of care your residents receive and the sense of connection families feel. This will also allow more engagement from the families who are normally too far for regular visits.

Of note, is that only half of the people in America own an iPhone or an iPad. The other half is not. That means that not everyone else can use Face-Time. A more agnostic platform such as Zoom, or Skype should be considered.

CareStory – Video Messaging

Lastly, if you don’t have the staff to spare to run around with the tablets at set times in order to facilitate the virtual visits, an alternative is asynchronous video communication. The Pandemic prompted us to develop this add-on feature in order to reduce the number of e-visits and give staff more flexibility. This became useful, especially when things have to be shifted to accommodate the unexpected. At the same time, giving families the possibility to upload videos for the resident as well as viewing videos that staff may record, keeps the family engaged and up to date with minimal input from staff. It’s as easy as scanning a QR code and pressing play.

To learn more about asynchronous video communication, visit our Addons page.


Guest Writer Laura Steuer

You say you’re lonely. You work from home, see only a few people at a time, go online to connect. Now, just imagine you’ve been confined for 6 months to your room – no, not your house, your room. You are elderly, or ill, and COVID restrictions in your nursing home have meant that everything has changed. So no group meals, no social activities, no friends and family allowed to visit (or perhaps, worse, you don’t have any friends or family at all).

Loneliness and social isolation have been clearly linked to impaired mental and physical health, even a reduction in lifespan. For instance, social scientists know this; senior caregiversknow this, and familiesknow this. Here is a link to an online search for “lonelinessepidemic” – you’ll find an unsettlingly immense number of articles.

COVID solutions for our country – not simple or quick. Loneliness solutions for our elderly – immediate and easy ways to make a difference:


Friendly Voices phone buddies

A program dedicated to seniors living in care facilities. Friendly Voices provides weekly phone companionship and conversation by trained, compassionate volunteers. Thus, each senior is matched with his/her own volunteer phone buddy to maintain consistency and ongoing personal connection. HIPAA compliant; multi-lingual volunteers; completely free. Staff or family can easily sign up their loved ones for a phone buddy through our website.

“We listen if the senior wants to talk. We talk if the senior wants to listen.”


Friendship Line, Institute on Aging

The Friendship Line is a crisis intervention hotline as well as a warmline for non-emergency emotional support calls. Founded in 1973 by Dr. Patrick Arbore, Director of IOA’s Center for Elderly Suicide Prevention. On top of that, the organization is accredited by the American Association of Suicidology. Because of this, Friendship Line provides round-the-clock crisis support services.


AARP Community Connections phone calls

AARP Friendly Voice program exists to help those living in isolation. To elaborate, it provides people with a phone line where they can request a callback from one of the trained, caring, volunteers standing by ready to chat, listen, or just say hello.



This Indiana-based, student-started, United Way featured, started as a COVID support system for the elderly in the state. During the initial phases of the pandemic in the state, they were also offering to help seniors with tasks if there were volunteers in the local community. However, the scope of the service has extended beyond the initial county into the nearby states. As of writing, tasks are no longer a service they provide due to COVID concerns and local restrictions. On the other hand, they started a monthly book club to offer communality in the discussion between seniors and volunteers.


Calls of Care

Created in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic Calls of Care is a non-profit foundation. A mother and two daughters with the mission of organizing and creating a connection between college and high school students to senior living provider residents via phone calls. In addition to it’s activity in it’s home state of California, Calls of Care is active all across the East coast as well. You can view participating high schools, colleges, and universities here.


Forget Me Not phone calls

The Forget Me Not-Friendly Phone Call Program is an intergenerational non-profit organization based in San Jose. Established in 2019, it aims to connect compassionate high school volunteers to the local aging community. It does this by forming stronger social bonds and long-lasting friendships through weekly telephone calls.


Virtual Companions

Virtual Companions is a non-profit working to foster acts of kindness and meaningful companionships between generations through conversation, community, and the arts. They are working to combat loneliness and ageism by fostering genuine connections. To do this, they empower socially isolated individuals to connect, create, and collaborate. It does all this through four outreach pillars: virtual concerts, cards and crafts, pen-pals, and phone pals. Virtual Companions brings joy through music, service, and the arts to those who need it most.


Meals on Wheels phone buddies

This service is part of the larger Senior Life Resources non-profit based in Richland Washington. Meals on Wheels provides nutritional support to the elderly within the tri-city area. The onset of COVID prompted a shift to connect the isolated seniors being served by the program. Seniors have the possibility to opt-in; with the drivers or other willing volunteers.


A Friendly Voice phone line

Started by the Rural Ottawa South Support Services (ROSSS) and supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, this Canadian initiative in the province of Ontario helps isolated seniors. Dedicated to the aging and isolated rural residents of Ontario, ROSSS offers a hotline for older adults (55+) to reach out to if they feel lonely and need someone to talk to.


Catholic Community Services phone buddies – King County

With its roots in the Cristian teachings, the CCS offers support to all those individuals, children, families, and communities struggling with poverty and the effects of intolerance and racism. As of 2016, the scope of their aid to the elderly in the region has extended to a phone buddy system. Of note, as of writing, the support for seniors has been limited to transportation services only for medical purposes or grocery shopping on the seniors’ behalf, with the hope that these services will be extended back to regular operations once the COVID-19 has been dealt with.



Are you are looking to bring joy into someone’s life?  Do you have some time to spare? Consider joining a phone buddy program and see if it works for you. However, if you are currently working in a nursing home, retirement home, or long-term care home? These organizations may be able to help you with those ~30% of residents who may not have someone to talk to anymore. And lastly, if you are working within this environment or have loved ones away in a care facility see how CareStory helps families, caregivers, and home operators work together to better the lives of residents.



February 4, 2021 About Us0

How it came to be that CareStory brings care efficiency into long-term care.

From VR to LTC

In 2016, when the craze over virtual reality was peaking, and that of augmented reality was starting to ramp up, we had no idea of where we would be today. Definitely not offering an efficient solution to long-term care across the continent. When we first reached out to healthcare, it was for staff training and patient rehabilitation. We saw the potential of this new technology and wanted to share it. And like any miracle technology, the magic enthralls, brings joy, delights. But if you look around, there are very few magicians in the world. Why is that? Why isn’t everyone a tech wizard? What’s wrong with people? We were fortunate with our misfortune in having loved ones in long term care. This opened doors. Our hubris had us preaching of the magical technology and its infinite potential. The people we spoke with loved the magic, loved the technology, and had grand plans for it; we like to believe they still do. Having someone who cared for us and willing to try Virtual Reality and give us feedback, what worked and what did not quickly had us close our mouths and open our ears. As dreamers, as we all were, reality had to hit eventually, and it came slowly.

The State of Long Term Care

Reality brought its numbers down on us: staff turnover rate; average ages of people working in long term care; budget or lack thereof; staff to resident ratios. And each chipped away at our dreams, at our faith in the technology. But this frustration often reignited our desire to bring this into healthcare, to the bedside, to the caregivers’ hand. And by 2018, speaking with our champions of this technology in healthcare, we realized where we needed to focus on, who we needed to focus on, and with 1 month of work, we had a working prototype, and everyone loved it.

What does magic look like in Long Term Care

Technology tends to complicate things, to add layers. Magic is the opposite; it hides all the complexity and makes things look easy, trivial – a flick of the wand, snap of the fingers. We have glimpsed magical worlds in 2016; expensive, out of scope, out of budget, hard to travel to, magical worlds. They still have their place, but what is needed is a snap of the fingers or a wave of the wand; that is what real magic looks like in long term care: fast, easy, and uncompromising when it comes to the quality of care; that is how CareStory brings care efficiency into long term care. We believe that since 2019 we can bring this magic to where it’s needed. And we’re getting better at it. we are committed to making more things happen when administrators wave a wand or caregivers snap their fingers. Yet, we do not mean to trivialize CareStory by comparing it to a magic show. As any professional magician will tell you: a single trick, a single act, requires months, if not years, of practice and experimentation. All that to bring it to life, and only for that single moment of joy when you see it being performed. Our magic links each moment and offers continuity of care across shifts, lanes, across new and veteran staff. And we have no intention of slowing down in our journey to improve our loved ones’ quality of care. After all, soon we may take their place.

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    Contact us

    Call us


    Visit us anytime

    294 College Street, Toronto, ON, Canada

    Send us an email


    Sign up for Medicare newsletter to receive all the news offers and discounts.

      Social networks





      Copyright by Emersewell Inc. 2020. All rights reserved.

      Copyright by Emersewell Inc. 2020. All rights reserved.