November 7, 2017
CARP was invited to attend an “important announcement” this morning by Ontario Premier, Kathleen Wynne, who was accompanied by Minister of Seniors Affairs, Dipika Damerla, Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long Term Care and Geriatrician and Lead on the Ontario Seniors’ health file, Dr. Samir Sinha.
Today’s announcement of an ‘Action Plan for Ontario Seniors’ which commits $155 million over 3 years, responded to a number of key issues of concern to CARP members,
including an effort to reduce wait times for long term care, with the addition of 5,000 LTC beds over the next four years and plans put in place for 30,000 new long term care places over the next decade.
Along with the additional beds comes a promise of additional hours of care from nurses, therapists and personal support workers for all LTC residents across the province. This will bring the average daily time spent with each resident up to four hours per day, which equates to an additional 15 million hours according to Minister Hoskins.
“CARP is pleased by the announcement today to improve access to long-term care, provide additional home care hours, and expand seniors’ supportive housing across Ontario. Everyone should have the right to live with dignity and peace of mind, no matter their age or health. Today’s announcement is a key step to making that a reality for Ontario residents as we age,” said Wanda Morris, CARP’s VP Advocacy.
Minister Hoskins announced that Ontario will fund the new high-dose seniors’ flu vaccine for Ontarians over the age 65 (starting in fall 2018) which will eliminate thousands of ER visits and hospitalizations while preventing deaths, and provide overall savings to the healthcare system. This is in direct response to CARP’s call for funded, best in class vaccines for Ontario seniors, including the high-dose flu shot.
“We’re delighted the government of Ontario has committed to providing free, high-dose flu shots to older Ontario residents. We commend the government for this investment and believe it will not only reduce healthcare costs but prevent unnecessary suffering among Ontario seniors,” said Wanda Morris, VP of advocacy.
Included in Dr. Hoskins’ remarks was a promise to increase the number of physicians who specialize in Geriatric Medicine, another issue that CARP has been highlighting for over a decade.
CARP has been advocating Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs) for years, and is pleased to see an investment of $15 million over two years to provide services to seniors where they are, to support their desire to age in place.
As we continue to push into the digital age, the Ministry of Seniors Affairs is promising a new website and toll-free phone number for those who are not connected on the internet, that will provide senior-specific information all in one place.Inter-generational volunteer opportunities will also be fostered by the province, to connect youth and seniors through a variety of mentoring, educational and social activities. CARP’s chapters across Canada have long been involved in inter-generational programs, and we welcome the Province’s recognition of the opportunity and the resource that different generations can be to each other.
Overall, this is indeed an ‘important announcement’ for Ontario’s seniors and CARP will continue to hold the province’s feet to the fire to fulfil these promises and advocate to all levels of government on behalf of Canadians as we age.
Director, Community Affairs
To read the news release from the Government of Ontario, please click here.