Ontario Helping Seniors to Stay in their Own Homes

Providing Supports to Help Seniors Remain Independent and Socially Connected


Ontario is investing in an innovative new program that helps seniors stay at home longer and gives them the assistance they need to age comfortably in their chosen community.

The province is supporting naturally occurring retirement communities, which are apartment buildings or housing developments where many seniors already live close to one another. New funding will provide more on-site services to meet seniors' needs in a minimum of 44 communities, including culturally appropriate care. These types of communities promote social interaction and fight isolation, allow residents to stay in their homes longer and enjoy a higher quality of life and a greater level of independence. 

This investment will expand or improve access to supports that seniors need such as social and recreational programs, public health services like flu shots, community paramedicine, coordinated transportation, as well as supports for daily living such as meal preparation and other homemaking activities. 

The government is also improving life for more seniors and helping them stay at home longer, by: 

  • Expanding OHIP+ to make prescription drugs free for everyone 65 and over, starting in 2019.
  • Investing $650 million in new funding over three years to improve home and community care services. This includes $180 million for more personal support hours, more nursing and therapy visits and respite care.
  • Creating the Seniors' Healthy Home Program to help those over 75 offset the costs of living independently with a $750 annual credit. 

The government's plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, and free preschool child care from 2 ½ to kindergarten.

Quick Facts

  • The province is investing $8.8 million to support a minimum of 44 naturally occurring retirement communities across the province over two years.
  • Funding will be allocated to Local Health Integration Units (LHINs) that will partner with seniors and local community groups to make sure appropriate social, health, and community supports and services are made available, including consideration of culturally appropriate care.
  • Seniors (65 years and older) are the fastest-growing age group in Ontario. By 2041, it is projected that 25 per cent of Ontario’s population will be 65 years or older, almost doubling from 2.3 million seniors in 2016 to 4.6 million seniors.
  • Ontario has committed $34.5 million over three years to expand community dementia programs.

Should We Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide?

A high school freshman won first prize at a science fair for his experiment demonstrating people’s gullibility. He was attempting to show how conditioned we’ve become to alarmists practicing junk science and spreading fear of everything in our environment. In his project, the student urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical dihydrogen monoxide for the following good reasons:

1. It is a major component in acid rain.

2. It can cause severe burns in its gaseous state.

3. Accidental inhalation can kill you.

4. It contributes to erosion.

5. It decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes.

He asked 50 people if they supported a ban of the chemical: 43 said yes, 6 were undecided, and 1 knew Dihydrogen Monoxide is another name for … water.


Different Ways To Honour Dad

Fathers play a special, irreplaceable role in our lives, and Father’s Day is a great time to let them know that. On June 17, skip the tie and tell all the  special, irreplaceable dads in your life what they mean to you from the bottom of your heart. Some suggestions:

Write a letter thanking your father/uncle/grandfather/ brother/son for all he’s done and all he means to you.  Read it in front of him and the whole family. You can frame it and even add photos or other mementos.

Create a thank-you book.  Buy a small book of blank pages.  On each page, write why you’re thankful for him. For example, “Thanks, Dad, for all the help you provided on my algebra homework when I was a kid.”  Send it around to family members and invite them to contribute the reasons they’re grateful.

Create a review of the dad’s life. Get family members and friends to write down their memories, then assemble all the stories in a binder or scrapbook and present it to him.

Make a date.  The most precious gift you can give or receive is time. Schedule some uninterrupted, relaxing, one-on-one time together to go for a walk, share a meal, catch a movie, or do whatever he’d most like to do.


He Found Great Value in Disaster

Thomas Edison (1847-1931) was possibly the greatest   inventor who ever lived.  He received more than 1,000 patents in his lifetime, many for items we take for granted today: the alkaline battery, the motion picture camera, the phonograph and, of course, the light bulb.  There’s a story that it took  Edison more than 2,000   experiments before he got his light bulb to work.  When a reporter asked him how it felt to fail so many times, Edison said, “I never failed once. I invented the light bulb. It just happened to be a 2,000-step process.”

Edison opened his most famous laboratory in 1876 in Menlo Park, New Jersey. In December, 1914, the laboratory was virtually destroyed by fire. Although the damage exceeded $2 million, the buildings were only insured for $238,000 because they were made of concrete and thought to be fireproof. 

Much of Edison’s life’s work went up in spectacular flames that December night.     

At the height of the fire, Edison’s 24-year old son, Charles, frantically searched for his father among the smoke and debris. He finally found him, calmly watching the scene, his face glowing in the reflection, his white hair blowing in the wind.  “My heart ached for him,” said Charles. “He was 67 – no longer a young man – and everything was going up in flames.” The next morning, Edison looked at the ruins and said, “There is great  value in disaster.  All our mistakes are burned up.  We can start anew.”

Three weeks after the fire, Edison completed his first phonograph.

Edison also said, “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.”


How To Measure Success

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. —Ralph Waldo Emerson​

Hello Dorothy

A university professor gave his students a pop quiz.  Most of the students were conscientious about their studies and had little difficulty answering the questions – that is, until they reached the last one.

The question was, “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”  The students looked at each other quizzically, not knowing if it was some kind of joke.  Some knew what she looked like; she was tall and dark-haired, about 50 years old.  But none knew her name.  They handed in their papers without answering the question.

At the end of the class, a student asked the professor if the last question would count toward their quiz grade. The professor replied, “Absolutely.  In your careers you will encounter many people, every one of whom is significant and deserves your attention and care.  Even a simple smile or a ‘Hello’ is an act of attention.”

The students learned their lesson.  The students also learned the name of the cleaning lady:  Dorothy.

Is there a “Dorothy” in your life?


To Honour Our Police Officers

National Police Week—May 13-19

A Cop on the Take

First he takes…the oath.  Here’s what else he takes:

He takes…it in stride when people call him “pig.”

He takes…his low paycheck, realizing he’ll never be rich.

He takes…a second job sometimes to make ends meet and support his family.

He takes…time to stop and talk to children.

He takes…your verbal abuse while giving you a ticket you really deserved.

He takes…on creeps you would be afraid to even look at.

He takes…time away from his family to keep you safe.

He takes…your injured child to the hospital.

He takes…the graveyard shift without complaint because it’s his turn.

He takes…time to explain why both your headlights have to work.

He takes…criminals to jail.

He takes…in sights that would make you cry. 

He takes…time to explain to his family why he can’t make the ball game his child is in, and why he has to work on the holiday when other parents are off.

He takes…his life into his hands daily.

Sometimes…he takes a bullet.

And if he’s lucky…he takes retirement.


Canada's Seniors Are Independent. They Shouldn't Be Isolated, Too

In Ottawa, a House of Commons Standing Committee is presently hearing evidence about whether there should be a National Seniors Strategy. There are two reasons why this is long overdue and should be a priority for all MPs.

First is demographics: by 2031 roughly one in every four Canadians will be aged 65 years or older. As a country we are aging partly because people are living longer. And, as they reach retirement age they are likely to increase demand on certain services, like health. Secondly, traditionally the elderly tends to vote in greater numbers than younger people. This could have a major impact on all levels of government if seniors seek their interests met.

Baby steps to help the elderly

Earlier this summer, the Ontario Government announced an initiative to recognize municipalities that are taking steps to help the growing population of seniors stay engaged and active within their communities. And last month, it announced plans to build 40 new seniors centers in the province. These are a couple of examples of piecemeal efforts taking place across the country to tackle a massive problem everyone in Canada needs to recognize.

From my experience in the senior care industry, most seniors want to live independently for as long as they can. It gives them a sense of well-being and feeds into the generational culture of not having to rely on others. It is one reason our service has become so popular.

The latest research from Statistics Canada found there are now more people living alone than at any other time in our 150-year history. Many of those are seniors.

But being independent should not mean being isolated. It takes a village to raise a child and, in turn, every community should endeavor to support its seniors. Many of our customers tell me the interaction with the delivery teams is almost as important as the meals themselves. All of us need to understand that being retired should not result in feeling abandoned.

We place a great emphasis on recruiting people who understand how necessary it is to talk and listen to their customers. Many have experience as family care givers, so they understand that personal interaction is just as important as a business transaction.

National pride is at stake

The present Standing Committee initiative was prompted by a motion on the development of a national senior’s strategy by Ontario MP Marc Serre. He wanted to remind Canadians that seniors still have a value to society. It is hard to understand how anyone could think differently.

Improving access to high-quality health care for seniors will help Canadians of all ages get access to care.

But for those you take a more cynical, self-interested view of the world, health experts including the Canadian Medical Association say improving access to high-quality health care for seniors will help Canadians of all ages get access to care. So, by doing the right thing, we all benefit.All of us must acknowledge there is no way to reverse the demographic changes taking place in this country. Therefore, it is vitally important that our voices are heard by those controlling the federal, provincial, and municipal purse strings.

Last year the Alliance for a National Seniors Strategy called for a strategy based on four pillars for seniors: independent, productive, and engaged citizens; healthy and active lives; care closer to home; support for caregivers.

It said now is the time for all Canadians to help create the best country to grow up and grow old in. In comparison with some other countries, Canada has a lot of work to do, but that should not be the reason we don't move forward immediately.

For some of us, we witness every day the struggles some seniors endure to maintain their independence because it means so much to them. That determination and stoicism should not be ignored. Instead, we should look for ways to make their burdens lighter. Canada is changing, there is little we can do about that. But we do have the ability to make it better for everyone, especially those who did so much to make this country great.

Nigel Richards


Happy Mother's Day

Dearest Mom,

You filled my days with Rainbow lights,

Fairy tales and sweet dream nights,

A kiss to wipe away my tears,

Gingerbread to ease my fears,

You gave the gift of life to me

And then in love, you set me free,

I thank you for your tender care,

For deep warm hugs and being there,

I hope that when you think of me,

A part of you, you’ll always see.

Happy Mother's Day!


Teens And Alcohol

Here’s another reason to warn adolescents about the dangers of drinking:  According to a report by the American Medical Association, the brain appears to be  especially susceptible to alcohol damage during a person’s high school and college years.  While the brain physically stops growing when a person reaches the age of five, its cells continue to refine and realign themselves until a person is 20 years old.

The late-teen/early adulthood period is recognized as prime drinking years for many.  As a result, the consumption of alcohol – whether moderate or heavy – could bring about long-lasting brain damage, especially in regard to memory and critical thinking.

Teen drinkers are particularly vulnerable in two areas of the brain: the hippocampus, which is responsible for the brain’s memory, and the prefrontal cortex, which is paramount in decision making.