By that point, she’ll be 107 years old
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As they wait, Faina’s daughter, Mila Mileikovskaia — who is 80 —provides round-the-clock care. Faina is partially blind and deaf, and suffers from delirium and hallucinations.
A personal support worker comes in for three two-hour sessions each week, arranged by the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), a provincial agency that manages long-term care. But Faina’s family says they need much more help.
“For me, it’s hard,” Mila said of her 105-year-old mother. “I can’t leave her alone. Every minute I need to see her. She sometimes falls down.”
According to the CCAC, residents who live in Faina’s area must wait an average of 108 days for a place in a long-term home. But part of the problem is that Faina doesn’t speak English and her family has requested a facility where Russian is spoken.
“One of the issues with older people, even if they were quite capable of managing in their second language when they’re younger, often regress when they’re older so there is often a striking need for culturally appropriate care,” said Susan Eng, vice-president for advocacy at the Canadian Association of Retired People.
CCAC spokeswoman Lynn Harrett said making specific requests can affect wait times.
“If they want a specific home or if they are not willing to look at perhaps more than one or two homes, then their opportunity is reduced just in terms of the number of vacancies” Harrett said.
The area’s wait list, managed by CCAC, has 2,521 individuals on it with an average of 200 clients placed monthly, according to Harrett.
She said she could not comment further about Faina’s case.
The CCAC is due to visit Faina on Thursday to assess her condition for a possible increase in home-care hours.
In the meantime, her family must continue to provide the care she needs.
Faina, a former opera singer who performed at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, lives in a two-storey home in North York with three generations of her family. Her great-granddaughter, Anna Rozoumovitch, studies medicine at the University of Leeds in England but is home for the summer. Anna’s parents, Eugene Rozoumovitch and Maria Mileikovskaia, both work — he as a business owner and she as a researcher at Mount Sinai Hospital.
That leaves Mila to care for Faina.
“We’re busy people and as horrible as that sounds it’s difficult for us to maintain the quality of life that we are living and to be able to stay home like we want to and give the care that she deserves,” said Anna.
In the past, Faina has fallen and become unconscious, leaving Mila to call 911. And Faina’s condition has been deteriorating.
“If her condition worsens,” said Anna, “we’re going to have to put her wherever we can because it’s getting harder and harder.”