Progress for Ontario Seniors
Ontario's Action Plan for Seniors outlines the government's mission to make Ontario the best place to grow up and grow old by helping seniors to live safely, independently, and with dignity. The plan identifies three main goals: Healthy Seniors, Senior-Friendly Communities and Safety and Security.
- Age-Friendly Community Planning Guide - Ontario released the Age-Friendly Community Planning Guide to help seniors stay connected to their community. An age-friendly community responds to both the opportunities and challenges of an aging population by creating physical and social environments that support independent and active living.
- Finding Your Way Program - The Alzheimer Society of Ontario has developed the wandering prevention program - Finding Your Way. The program is targeted at people with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias who live at home; as well as their families and caregivers, and people who may encounter someone with dementia to help recognize and reduce the risk of going missing. Launched in March 2013, the program has resulted in education and outreach to various ethno-cultural communities in Ontario with information readily available in five languages. To date, 4,600 individuals have directly benefited from education sessions related to wandering prevention and approximately 4,500 Finding Your Way information packages have been distributed. The Finding Your Way Program is strengthening relationships between local Alzheimer Societies, community agencies serving Ontario's diverse cultural groups, and local and provincial police. The province is also providing funding for the Ontario Police College to develop and deliver training that incorporates wandering prevention into the police curriculum.
- Seniors Community Grant Program - The government introduced the Seniors Community Grant Program to give seniors more opportunities to participate in their communities. The program will provide up to $10,000 in funding to not-for-profit community groups for projects that encourage greater social inclusion, volunteerism and community engagement for seniors across the province.
- Elderly Persons Centres - Ontario's 270 Elderly Persons Centres (EPCs) provide social and recreational programs that promote wellness for seniors and may also offer preventive, health education and support services. EPCs offer seniors places to gather for activities such as fitness classes, computer classes and arts and crafts, often as part of seniors fairs. Responsibility for EPCs will be transferred to the Ontario Seniors Secretariat from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care effective April 1, 2014.
- Retirement Homes Act Regulation - The government is continuing to implement the first provincial protections for seniors living in Ontario's retirement homes. Beginning in 2012, five phases of regulatory provisions under the Act have come into force. To operate a retirement home in Ontario you now must have a licence and comply with the act's requirements. As well, the government recently announced changes to the Fire and Building Codes that will enhance safety in retirement homes and other occupancies housing vulnerable Ontarians.