Ontario government announces new programs for seniors in their communities

Apr 13th, 2018 | By | Category: Healthy Living

In a recent press release The Ontario Ministry of Seniors Affairs announced that nearly 250 new and innovative projects that will help seniors stay active and engaged are coming to communities across the province – part of Ontario’s plan to support care, create opportunity, and make life more affordable for seniors and their families.

Minister of Seniors Affairs, Dipika Damerla, was at the Good Companions Seniors’ Centre in Ottawa in early April to announce this year’s Seniors Community Grant recipients. The Centre is receiving support for its Seniors’ Centre Without Walls project, a community outreach program that helps seniors and adults with physical disabilities by providing access to a free network of programs and services through a teleconference program. The project also provides seniors with opportunities to socialize, get health information and to discuss topics important to them.

“We’re thankful to the Government of Ontario for its support of our unique community outreach program,” says Monique Doolittle-Romas, Executive Director, The Good Companions Seniors’ Centre. ‘The Seniors’ Centre Without Walls project is the only program of its kind in Ontario, but with this funding, we hope to deliver its benefits across the province.”

The Ottawa-based Fédération des Ainés et des Retraites Francophones de l’Ontario  was also a grant recipient.

Seniors Community Grants support projects that help seniors find volunteer opportunities, engage in life-long learning, and stay active. This year, the program has been expanded to support larger projects that will reach even more seniors across the province.

“Congratulations to all the recipients of this year’s Seniors Community Grant funding,” says Minister Damerla. “I am inspired by your tremendous dedication to keep Ontario seniors active and engaged and I look forward to seeing your projects come to life. I also want to thank all the organizations who submitted an application. The volume and quality of applications we received this year more than justifies our decision to continue to grow the program in years to come.”

Minister Damerla also announced a new fund that recognizes the important role that the arts can play in the lives of seniors by reducing isolation, building a sense of community and improving physical and cognitive well-being. The Engaging Seniors Through the Arts Fund will help increase the number of arts programs and activities available to seniors, whether in their communities or in retirement homes, hospitals and long-term care homes.

“Our government recognizes the role the arts play in helping seniors to age well,” says Daiene Vernile, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “Our new Engaging Seniors Through the Arts Fund will help to improve the health and well-being of seniors and provide them with opportunities to develop skills, increase social connections and be active members of society.”

The Engaging Seniors Through the Arts Fund will be administered by the Ontario Arts Council, as part of Aging with Confidence: Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors and Ontario’s Culture Strategy.

Ontario’s 2018 Budget is supporting seniors and their families by:

Making prescriptions free for people 65 and over through an expansion of OHIP+. Starting Aug. 1, 2019, seniors in Ontario will no longer have to pay a deductible or co-payment for prescription medications.

Creating a new Seniors’ Healthy Home Program, starting in 2019, that will provide up to $750 per year for eligible households led by seniors 75 and over to help them offset the costs of living independently.

Creating a new Ontario Drug and Dental Program, reimbursing 80 per cent, up to a maximum of $400 per single person or $600 per couple, of seniors’ eligible dental expenses each year for those without workplace health benefits.

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