Lately, the prospects of Ontario seniors living better, high quality lives seem to be improving. The Ontario government announced its Independence, Activity and Good Health, Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors shortly after the announcement of Dr. Sinha’s report Living Longer, Living Well for the Seniors’ Strategy, outlining how government will better support Ontario seniors to live safely, healthy, and sustainably. The Ontario government seems to have recognized that a more comprehensive approach is needed to address seniors’ and their families’ needs. Too often, initiatives take place in isolation from each other and address only a single aspect of a more complex set of issues. Therefore, the newly announced plan aims to ensure that all ministries consider and address seniors’ and their caregivers’ needs in their new and existing programs, services, and initiatives. CARP welcomes this plan as it addresses many of our issues and concerns. Our members along with many other Ontarians will look forward to how its implementation will directly benefit the lives of older Ontarians.
Plans hopes to address senior’s health, age-friendly communities, and safety and security.
The plan sets out three broad goals of strengthening seniors’ health, developing senior-friendly communities, and ensuring the seniors’ safety and security. Each has various programs and initiatives that will accomplish the goals:
- Healthy seniors
- Improved and expand exercise and falls prevention programs
- Improved access to short-stay long-term care that offer “assess and restore” services to help seniors quickly return to full health and at home
- Enhanced long-term care
- Improved access to primary and community care
- Hospital at home
- Senior-friendly communities – promote development of age-friendly communities, and enhance seniors’ well-being and participation
- Age-friendly communities
- Elderly Persons Centres and Active Living Fairs
- Life leases
- Better access to government programs
- Safety and security – services and supports to help seniors be safe, independent, and have dignity
- Elder abuse prevention
- Elder abuse training for Police
- Fire safety
- Wandering prevention program
- Education about Power of Attorney
Great on paper but will need to wait to see its impact
On paper, the plans look great. The report reflects several of CARP’s longstanding advocacy issues, including the need for greater supports to fight elder abuse and for better coordination of health services as outlined in our One Patient paper. The plan shows that the government understands the diversity of older Ontarians’ needs and that there needs to be a comprehensive approach, involving all Ministries and service providers.
As comprehensive as the plan is, making the changes real and lasting is the true challenge.
If implemented well, there is great potential to better the quality of life for all Ontarians, not just the elderly. CARP hopes that this will be a message to all other provinces to do the same.
Read CARP’s One Patient paper.