Senior’s Month – 2019, Op-ed by MPP Jim McDonell
Seniors built this province, and June is a time to celebrate our seniors in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry and recognize the contributions they have made, and the lives they have impacted – across generations.
Seniors are the fastest growing demographic across the province. At the current rate of growth, by 2023, this population will grow by 700,000 to 3 million seniors. This fundamental change in Ontario’s demographics means new challenges and new opportunities for the province.
We know that seniors want to remain active, live independently at home for as long as they can, work, volunteer, learn, shop or travel. Yet many seniors face challenges accessing programs and services that support their safety, mental and physical health, and overall well-being.
Aging is about living, and supporting our seniors is about investing in our own futures – everyone should be able to age strong, in an Ontario that is open to all.
This is why “Aging Strong: Respect and Protect” is this year’s theme for Seniors’ Month.
Aging Strong is about embracing seniors’ wisdom, life experiences, and their contributions to their families, communities, and this province. It’s also about aging strong in all areas of their lives – mentally, emotionally and physically.
Our government understands this, and that’s why we are providing core services and programs that matter most to seniors and their families.
One recent program our government launched is the $3 million-dollar Seniors Community Grant program.
This program helps thousands of seniors stay active, connected, and healthy by providing grants to non-profit community organizations to deliver local programs. This year’s applications for the program are open until June 27.
And because we know that active aging results in positive health benefits, like reduced risk for dementia, anxiety and depression – we provide services to seniors through more than 300 Seniors Active Living Centres in communities across our province.
We also know that untreated oral health issues can lead to chronic disease and a reduced quality of life. Therefore, as part of our government’s commitment to put seniors at the center of our health care system, we recently announced the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program.
This $90 million-dollar investment will help provide dental services to low-income seniors aged 65 and over in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry who currently do not have benefits.
A larger and well-functioning long-term care sector is a crucial part of our government’s priority. The creation of 15,000 new long-term care beds over the next five years will help seniors live in a more comfortable care setting. This is a total investment of approximately $1.75 billion in additional funding over five years.
And most recently, our government announced the launch of a government-wide seniors strategy to help improve the lives of seniors. We are moving forward with our commitment to do what’s right by Ontario’s aging population, while growing jobs and the economy.
The strategy will be informed by online and in person consultations in select communities across the province. Please visit Seniors Active Living Centres to take part in the online survey later this month and have your say.
I’m proud that our community and our government is celebrating Seniors’ Month and protecting what matters most to seniors in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, by providing the core services and programs they need to be active and socially engaged.
For more information about programs and services for seniors, visit: www.ontario.ca/seniors.
Speaking of seniors, don’t forget to pick up your copy of the Cornwall Seeker 2 in 1 flip featuring our “Seniors First” publication. Can’t find a copy? Subscribe to get one delivered to your door!