Living on their own: home care for bereaved seniors

The media may be full of statistics about rising divorce rates and how marriages are ending earlier. According to Statistics Canada, the average length of a marriage is 14 years.

However, for many seniors, their long-standing marriages only end with the death of their spouse or partner. Figures from Statista estimate the number of widowed people in Canada is just under 2million. What’s more, there has been a sharp rise in these numbers since 2016, when the figure stood at 1.75million.

Not all of these will be seniors, of course, but we’d wager a fair proportion will be. Of these, a significant proportion will probably still want to live in their own homes for as long as possible, and ‘age in place’. Indeed, this policy of living in their own home is encouraged by both provinces and government in Canada, and recognises the benefits of familiar surroundings and a support network.

However, it doesn’t always take into consideration the core issues that bereavement (sudden or expected) raises in terms of living and lifestyle.

A total lifestyle change

When any of us lose a partner, it affects every part of our life – emotional, physical, financial and social. As many of our team have found out when they lose a parent, the financial arrangement for the remaining parent are often the most pressing. After that, it’s about where the bereaved parent wants to live, and measures to put in place to make that possible.

One of the first questions families will ask a widowed parent is “What do you want to do?” In our experience, such is the state of disruption and grief that the most common answer is “I don’t know”. What the bereaved need is time to work out what works for them moving forward.

That’s why at Vytality we offer a range of services that can provide as much (or as little) support as each individual requires. The level of support and care detailed in the initial care plan is always flexible, and can be increased or altered in response to changing needs.

Four core areas for independent living

From our extensive experience in the care sector, our services address four key areas for independent living.


For many senior widowed people, the biggest challenge will be keeping mentally and socially active, especially if they have limited mobility. If the majority of social activities are a drive or a cab ride away, that can be intimidating as a single person. They may be more concerned about safety, the increased risk of slips and falls in winter, or the sheer “hassle” of getting out and about on their own. So they stay in more – and lose a vital level of human contact to their day.

That’s why we provide home care in two hour blocks. This allows the caregiver visits to provide much-needed companionship and social stimulation. Our caregivers can make every visit enjoyable and stimulating with tailored:

  • Engaging Activities
  • Cognitive Stimulation
  • Brain Games
  • Recreational Therapy

Personal Care

It’s important to remember that many seniors act as informal carers for their partner (and to some extent, each other). Once the cared for partner is gone, the remaining partner loses a major purpose in their life.

For elderly seniors, they may also lose a level of ‘indirect’ care, if their loved one had care coming in. If caregivers came to help one partner get washed, dressed and up and about, often the other partner would be given the incentive and motivation to do the same. Once that care is no longer happening, it can seem a job too far.

So, we offer a selection of personal care and hygiene services that includes:

  • Bathing
  • Showering
  • Dressing
  • Grooming Assistance


If seniors are still living in the former family home on their own, it can be a big property to keep clean and tidy on their own. Jobs that used to be shared become tasks for just one.

Our care team is happy to help with day to day homemaking including:

  • Light housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Linen services

In addition, outdoor jobs such as snow clearing and yard maintenance can be arranged through our Vytality Partners. One call to our office, and we’ll arrange for our hand-picked suppliers to provide the help needed.


A well balanced diet is key to remaining healthy and independent, but those living on their own may find preparing meals for one difficult. From cooking for two (or more), suddenly it’s just them. That takes a significant adjustment in how they shop for food, what they cook, when they eat, and how they plan their meals. At Vytality, we understand the crucial role proper nutrition plays in physical and mental health for seniors. So, we are happy to support:

  • Meal planning
  • Meal preparation
  • Grocery ordering and unpacking
Single and need extra help?

Our home care services are not just for older seniors! If you need a little extra assistance to help you live independently, whether in retirement or through illness, disability or poor health, contact us to discuss your requirements:

539, 5940 Macleod Trail SWCalgary, AB