For the first time in our history, there are more Ontarians over 65 than children under 15. The number of seniors is set to double in Ontario over the next 25 years to more than four million.
Many of today’s seniors lead active and vibrant lives and richly contribute to their communities. However, research shows that one of the biggest risk factors and the leading cause of depression for seniors is social isolation.
According to the National Seniors Council’s recent report on seniors’ social isolation (opens in a new window), in Canada:
- an estimated 30% of seniors are at risk of social isolation
- up to 16% of seniors experience social isolation
We want all seniors to feel welcomed, safe and included in their communities.
What ideas or project should we consider to help reduce social isolation for seniors?
Who we're trying to help
We want to help seniors at risk of becoming socially isolated, including those whose:
- social networks have diminished
- activity levels may be in decline
We also want to help younger seniors who are currently or will eventually become caregivers (for example, those with aging parents). These younger caregivers also need services and information to keep them active, engaged, safe and learning.
We’re looking for ideas that are:
- have the potential to build community partnerships
- benefit seniors over a sustained period of time
- address the needs of seniors in remote areas
- address seniors with specialized needs
What we're doing/have done
Promoting age-friendly communities
8 80 cities (opens in a new window), a Canadian not-for-profit organization, believes that if everything we do in our public spaces is great for an 8 year old and an 80 year old, then it will be great for all people. That’s why age-Friendly Communities are a top priority. We want to make it possible for seniors and others to access social and physical environments that are:
- consider needs based on diversity
- easy to navigate
56 communities have already received planning grants.
We are also launching an Age-Friendly Community recognition program so communities that have made efforts towards inclusive space and programming for seniors can be acknowledged.
More Seniors Active Living Centres
- partnered with municipalities to develop age-friendly planning initiatives
- directly fund 263 Seniors Active Living Centres (opens in a new window) across Ontario
- are creating up to 40 more Seniors Active Living Centres over the next three years
These centres are local hubs where seniors can continue to learn, volunteer and engage in wellness activities.
Community funding for seniors
In 2014, we launched the Seniors Community Grant Program (opens in a new window) exclusively to help seniors across Ontario.
The fund supports projects to encourage greater social involvement, learning, volunteerism and community engagement for seniors.
Hundreds of projects are now active; impacting the lives of more than 400,000 seniors.
Over the next three years, we will increase funding for the grant program by an additional $11 million.
Safety, awareness and abuse prevention programs
We also partner with:
- Elder Abuse Ontario (opens in a new window) on initiatives aimed at preventing and addressing elder abuse
- Alzheimer Society of Ontario to deliver Finding Your Way (opens in a new window), a multicultural safety and awareness program that provides resources in 12 languages to help people with dementia, their caregivers and communities to recognize and reduce the risk of wandering
We have a comprehensive guide to programs and services for seniors (opens in a new window) which is available in 16 languages. Use this resource to find information on:
- tax credits