June 2016 marks the 32nd anniversary of Seniors’ Month in Ontario; an opportunity to celebrate and honour the contributions that seniors make every day in communities across the province. “This year we are celebrating Seniors’ Month under the theme of “Seniors Making a Difference.” It is fitting, given how our seniors have built our communities and continue to contribute their time and talents today in so many ways.” Mario Sergio – Minister Responsible for Seniors Affairs.
To help ensure seniors have ready access to centres and programs in their communities that promote healthy, active aging and wellness, the government introduced legislation June 1st, that, if passed, would:
- Give the Elderly Persons Centres (EPCs) program a new name, the Seniors Active Living Centres Program, which affirms its mandate to keep seniors healthy and engaged.
- Reaffirm the valuable partnership that EPCs currently have with local municipalities, while enabling the centres to develop future partnerships, in addition to municipalities, with other local community organizations and in First Nations Communities.
- Foster EPC locations as community hubs that provide a central access point for a range of health, social and cultural services for seniors.
- Encourage innovations in the sector by creating opportunities for future investment and partnerships while adding funding flexibility.
Here are the quick facts on Elderly Persons Centres:
- Current EPC legislation has been in existence since 1966 and has not been substantially updated since that time.
- There are currently 263 EPCs across Ontario that offer a range of social, cultural, learning and recreational programs for seniors.
- Each centre is different and has different programs, including classes in fitness, computers, arts, and cooking, as well as drop-in programs, all with a view to promoting the health, well-being and involvement of seniors in the community.
There are more than two million seniors older than 65 who live in Ontario. This number is predicted to more than double in the next 25 years. Our provincial government has been instrumental in the development of a number of resources for seniors and their caregivers which are designed to provide information and guidance on a broad range of topics. If you peruse their website: https://www.seniors.gov.on.ca/en/resources you will find the following:
- General Resource publications: A Guide to Programs and Services for Seniors in Ontario, Ontario’s Resources for Seniors
- What Every Older Canadian Should Know About: Powers of Attorney and Joint Bank Accounts, Financial Planning, Income and Benefits from Government Programs, Managing and Protecting their Assets, Planning for Possible Loss of Independence, Planning for their Future Housing Needs, Having a Will and Making Funeral Plans, Financial Abuse, Frauds and Scams
- Fact sheets on elder abuse and World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
- Falls Prevention: Maintaining Seniors’ Independence Through Home Adaptations, A Guide to Home Safety for Seniors, 12 Steps to Stair Safety at Home, Falls Prevention
- Health and Wellness: Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults 65 years and older, Getting Active for Life, Safe Medication Use for Seniors
- Home and Community: Life Lease Housing Resource Guide, Aging in Place, Volunteering, along with some fact sheets and videos.
- Safety and Security: Emergency Preparedness Guide for People with Disabilities/Special Needs, Finding Your Way Wandering Prevention Program, Fire Safety for Older Adults
There you have it – enough reading material to keep you busy and informed for at least the next week. Enjoy.