There are many programs and services offered by both the government and private organizations for seniors. Country-wide services help seniors live independently and stay in their homes. While government programs exist to help support caregivers who care for elderly loved ones.
Research shows that seniors remain happier and healthier the longer they can stay at home and support is out there to make this transition easier. Read on for more details on senior services near you.
Pensions provide seniors with secure retirement funds, but your loved one may be eligible for additional grants and benefits. Many of these additional benefits can be applied for, or renewed, by just filing a regular annual tax return. This is why it’s important that seniors file their tax return even if they aren’t generating any income. Some other benefits to consider:
- International Benefits – if your family member has lived or worked in a country that has an agreement with Canada, you may be eligible for benefits from that country, Canada, or both.
- Provincial Benefits - additional tax benefits from your home province can be immediately applied for with your tax return.
Some senior services adjust requirements annually and circumstances of your family member may change over time. Make sure to always check back to see if eligibility has changed.
It is important to keep your loved one active in their community and able to get around both their home and their town. Making sure seniors are living in a safe environment and have everything they need to live comfortably is no simple task. You may not know about these programs created to help seniors get around and live in their homes easier and safer.
- Home and Vehicle Modification Program – Run by Ontario March of Dimes this program provides funding for simple modifications.
- Assistive Devices Program – Your loved one may be eligible to receive funding if they are required to use an assistive device.
- Geriatric Mental Health Program – run through CAMH, this health organization provides seniors with assessment, treatment and education on mental illness.
- Hearing Care Counselling Program – for seniors over 55 years old to help them stay connected and provide information on devices, home visits, and demonstrations.
- Courses for Mature Drivers – Helps keep seniors up to date on new regulations and reviews driving rules.
There are so many ways seniors can interact with their community and participate in recreational activities. Always start your search for these services as local as possible. Some places to start your search are:
- Community centers
- Seniors residences
- Service clubs (e.g. Lions Club, Royal Canadian Legion, YMCA).
- Libraries - regularly providing services to seniors and their families, they offer books, internet access, and workshops.
Older Adult Centres can be found across Ontario and offer educational programming such as language and computer training. Also both national and provincial volunteer sites bring together volunteers and agencies for an easy way to get involved in the community.
There are also resources for caregivers who may need to take time off work or spend extra funds to take care of a loved one. Some programs caregivers should be aware of:
- Compassionate Care Benefit Program – paid benefits provided to caregivers who have to temporarily leave work to support a sick family member.
- Family Medical Leave – This program allows you to take up to eight weeks of job-protected leave
- Personal Emergency Leave – To deal with urgent matters, this program allows up to 10 days of unpaid job-protected leave.
There are also senior services dedicated to care from both government assisted and private care centres.
- Community Care Access Centre – non-profit agencies that provide home and community care. They help seniors live independently and coordinate with other support services.
- Caregiver support
- Emergency response service
- Foot care services
- Home maintenance and repair services
- Meal services
- Private in-home care services often work closely with government programs to fill gaps and serve both low-income and financially supported seniors.