Personal Care includes your diet, friends and family connections
Personal Care involves your quality of life, including your diet, friends and family connections.

What is Personal Care?

Personal care is a relatively new concept in BC’s legal system.

Personal care is all about your quality of life – the things that makes your life enjoyable and meaningful.

It does you no good to be alive, but not enjoying a good quality of life.

The Representation Agreement Act defines personal care as:

“personal care” includes matters respecting

(a) the shelter, employment, diet and dress of an adult,

(b) participation by an adult in social, educational, vocational and other activities,

(c) contact or association by an adult with other persons, and

(d) licences, permits, approvals or other authorizations of an adult to do something;

So what do each of these terms entail?

Many of these terms have not been specifically defined in the Representation Agreement Act, its regulations, or in case law, so we often have to take an educated guess at what these terms mean.

The following examples are not exhaustive, but rather illustrative.

Shelter is the concept of where you live. Do you live at home? With other family members? In care?

Employment might cover off a whole range of issues: do you work full time or part time? Do you retire? Do you provide consulting services? Are you a contractor?

Diet is an area that has had a bit more attention paid to it. A relatively famous case called Bentley v. Maplewood Seniors Care Society dealt with the idea of diet, and whether diet falls within personal care, or health care. In Bentley, the court found:

…I conclude that providing oral nutrition and hydration by prompting with a spoon or glass is not health care within the meaning of the HCCCFA Act and instead is a form of personal care or basic care.

In other words, spoon feeding, or offering drinks by holding a glass up to a person’s lips, fall within the definition of personal care. But tube-feeding and other nutritional or hydration mechanisms which require prescriptions or other medical direction fall under the definition of health care.

Dress includes what you wear: are you properly attired for the weather? For whatever you happen to be doing at that given moment? Are you dressed in a way which is appropriate for your style, and for your culture?

Social activities includes things like your hobbies or pastimes: do you like to go to the movies? Do you play crib or bingo every Thursday night? Go to church? Meet with your buddies for breakfast at Timmy’s twice a week?

Educational activities include things like taking courses, or going to school. Maybe you take Spanish courses at your local community college so you can get by more easily in Mexico on your vacations. Or perhaps you need to take a driving course in preparation for a driver’s licence renewal exam.

Vocational activities include things required to help you with your work. Do you need to take continuing education each year? Do you need to renew your certificate or permits? Do you need to go to a conference? Or have help working out disability accommodations with your employer?

Other activities is a very generic “catch-all” statement which has not been defined. But since it refers to “activities”, it would likely include any active thing which you do that doesn’t require a prescription or doesn’t otherwise fall under the definition of health care.

Contact or association with other persons deals not only with your family and friends. It also deals with those who might be in your life that might not be the best for you – consider the gold-digger! Is there someone in your life who is draining you emotionally or financially? Who is harming you physically? Who is abusing you?

Licences, permits, approvals or other authorizations could include driving a car, but it could also be a fishing licence, a hunting licence, a work permit, or other similar kinds of permissions.

Who helps me with personal care?

If you are a capable adult, you are responsible for dealing with your personal care yourself.

If, at some point you become incapable, then it is not automatic that your spouse or kids (or anyone else, for that matter) can help you with your personal care needs.

If you are incapable, then a representative who has been appointed under a Representation Agreement can help you deal with personal care issues. If you have not made a Representation Agreement, then someone must be appointed (under a court order) as your Committee in order to deal with your personal care needs. It should be noted that having someone appointed as your Committee is expensive, and can only be done if you are truly incapable of managing either or both of yourself or your finances. Committeeships are not a great back-up solution if you have failed to appoint someone using a Representation Agreement.

Contact us today to make a Representation agreement.

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