Ontario launches new plan for seniors
The province is taking action to make sure that all seniors are able to access the support they need at every stage of their life.
Premier Kathleen Wynne was at Sackville Hill Seniors Recreation Centre in Hamilton yesterday to announce Aging with Confidence: Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors. The plan empowers people to make the choices that are right for them when it comes to their care, their independence and how they access government services — whether that’s finding ways to keep up an active lifestyle or getting the support needed to live at home longer.
The number of seniors in Ontario is forecast to double to 4.6 million within the next 25 years — and Ontario aims to become the best place in the world to grow older. Aging with Confidence focuses on areas that seniors say they care about most, including living independently for as long as possible and staying connected through social, recreational and volunteer activities. To ensure Ontario is ready for the changing realities of an aging population, the plan also substantially expands the number of long-term care (LTC) beds across the province, while increasing staffing levels and support for LTC home residents.
The new action plan offers:
- A one-stop website where seniors — about 70 per cent of whom go online every day — can find information about tax credits, drug coverage, powers of attorney, recreation programs and more. Seniors will also be able to get information over the phone in more than 150 languages
- An annual high-dose influenza vaccine, targeted to protect seniors, which will be available free of charge as part of the Ontario Universal Influenza Immunization Program, starting in the 2018-19 flu season
- Support for “naturally occurring” retirement communities by investing more than $15 million over two years for apartment buildings or housing developments where many seniors already live close to one another
- More volunteering opportunities connecting seniors and youth, fostering learning and mentorship while reducing older people’s risk of social isolation
- 5,000 new LTC beds over the next four years and 15 million more hours of nursing, personal support and therapeutic care annually for residents in LTC homes, as well as a 10-year plan to create more than 30,000 new beds over the next decade, working with the long-term care sector.
- Ontario is investing $155 million over three years through the action plan.
- Older adults make up Ontario’s fastest-growing age group. There are now more people in Ontario 65 or older than under 15.
- Ontario’s approach builds on a number of recent initiatives, including supporting 40 new Seniors Active Living Centres and implementing a Dementia Strategy, which will improve access to quality care and supports for people living with dementia and their care partners.