The Need for a Universal Design Standard in Canada’s Building Code
January 16, 2023
Will Canada adopt the Universal Design Standard?
Australia’s Building Code Board has recently adopted a “livable housing design standard (Commonwealth of Australia, 2017; National Construction Code, 2022). New houses and apartments will now be accessible for all, including seniors and persons with disabilities, because livable or universal design is no longer merely a recommendation. It is a requirement.
January 9, 2023
In this special guest editorial, Mary Fridley, Co-ordinator of Reimagining Dementia: A Creative Coalition for Justice, discusses some important topics related to aging, stigmatization, and dementia. SSAO is proud to be partnered with Mary and Reimagining Dementia in an international movement that is taking shape to challenge the tragedy narrative all too common today. It is time to begin to see aging, dementia, and a host of other conditions as part of life - not reasons to exclude, isolate, or dehumanize.
ABANDONING THE TRAGEDY NARRATIVE
December 19, 2022
We are never too old to continue to learn, and last week some of us were fortunate to have learned something important in a meeting with someone who is a visionary – breaking down the stereotypes of what it means to be old, what it means to have dementia, what it means to be “different”.
AGEISM AND ITS IMPACT
December 12, 2022
Ageism underpins many of the current dysfunctional approaches in elder care in Ontario. The voices, choices, and engagement of elders are neither respected nor valued by decision makers and by many in the public.
We believe that ageism requires deep reflection, because it tends to seep into policies, practices, and everyday life.
A NICE BUCKET OF SUDS:
HOW COULD THE FORD GOVERNMENT GET OUT OF THE MESS IT HAS MADE IN LONG-TERM CARE?
November 28, 2022
Oliver Hardy of Laurel and Hardy fame put it well in the 1940 movie Saps at Sea – “here’s another nice bucket of suds you’ve gotten me into”.
It seems the current government has gotten elders and Ontario taxpayers into a nice bucket of suds as well, investing over $6 billion of our money in long-term care institutions (Ontario Government, 2022) rather than in-home and community care.
THIS REMEMBRANCE DAY
LET’S SHOW SOME REAL RESPECT
November 10, 2022
Our veterans fought valiantly for this country. They gave their all to serve in combat and in peacekeeping. They have served us when there have been natural disasters and when residents were in distress in long-term care facilities. They have always been there when we needed them. But are we there for them?
Time to Transform Elder Care
November 7, 2022
This article first appeared as an op-ed in the Waterloo Region Record on November 4, 2022.
BUT DON’T WE NEED SOME INSTITUTIONS?
October 31, 2022
Because Ontario has focused so heavily on institutions for older adults, there are many who believe that we cannot do without them, or that it will take forever to move away from an institutional model to a community-based one. If you are older, you may believe that nothing different can happen in your lifetime. But you may be surprised.
WHY IS SSAO ADVOCATING LESS RELIANCE ON INSTITUTIONS?
Addressing the Costs of Caring:
Responding to Caregiver Financial Distress
October 24, 2022
Caregiver financial distress is a significant issue in Ontario leading to caregiver burnout and unnecessarily high rates of institutionalization of elders and people with disabilities.
In this guest editorial, Lauren Bates of the Ontario Caregiver Coalition, provides the details, and discusses how we can all help.
THE IMPACT OF FORCIBLE TRANSFERS–
ONTARIO CITIZENS LIVING IN FEAR
October 3, 2022
It was all 62 year old Deana Henry, who lives with Multiple Sclerosis and severe diabetes could manage to say after she was moved, against her wishes, from hospital to Extendicare’s West End Villa in Ottawa (Charron, 2022).
The Ottawa hospital was given oversight of West End Villa and another Extendicare facility, Laurier Manor, during the pandemic to assist with a major COVID outbreak (Goodwin, 2020). West End Villa had 87 COVID cases and 11 deaths (CBC News, 2020).
ARE HOSPITALS A RISK TO PEOPLE WITH DEMENTIA?
October 17, 2022
Older adults living with dementia are 6 times more likely to be institutionalized in a long-term care facility if their initial assessments to determine their eligibility are done in a hospital than if they are assessed somewhere else. 61% of older adults with dementia live at home (Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), 2022).
WHO’S ON FIRST?
September 26, 2022
The Ontario government has taken the draconian step of passing Bill 7 using its majority in order for hospitals to be able to force alternate level of care (ALC) patients into long-term care institutions 70-150 kilometres from their homes and natural support systems. These patients and their families must also pay for them to be transported against their will.
Bill 7 has also eliminated the usual rights afforded others with respect to privacy of personal health information. It can now be sent to a facility without their consent.
The arbitrary and indefensible nature of this Bill raises an important question – whose idea was this? There is some evidence that the idea was not entirely the Ford government’s (Ontario Government Bill 7, 2022).
ONTARIO GOVERNMENT POLICY IS AGEIST AND TARGETS THE MOST VULNERABLE PATIENTS IN HOSPITALS
August 25, 2022
“If somebody refuses to move into a home, if they refuse to move into their home of preferred choice, should a hospital charge them? Absolutely. We need those spaces for patients who need acute care. We need them for surgery. We need them for our emergency rooms.” (Paul Calandra, Globe and Mail, August 24, 2022).
FIRST-PAST-THE-POST IS A BARRIER
TO FIXING OUR LONG-TERM CARE SYSTEM
©Anita Nickerson, Executive Director, Fair Vote Canada
August 2, 2022
The care options seniors need as they age are painfully at odds with what is currently on offer in Ontario’s long-term care system.
It’s hard to overstate our collective aversion to being looked after in a nursing home:
92% of females and 93% of males over age 65 don’t want to end up in Ontario’s long-term care homes.
48% of those over age 55 agree that they actually “dread” the thought of themselves or a loved one having to move into long-term care.
59% say they will do anything they can to avoid themselves or their loved ones ending up there.
HUMAN RIGHTS WITH NO EXPIRY DATE
July 25, 2022
Older adults are devalued in the eyes of a society that focuses primarily on their deficits. Labels like “high acuity” are used repeatedly in describing elders. Seldom do we hear of the many contributions older adults make, and have made to Canadian society.
This is in stark contrast to the way that others who require personal support are viewed. When speaking of younger people with disabilities we often hear of their “strengths” and “gifts”- a discourse rightly focused on their value to society. A deficit focus is considered to be detrimental. Rights to inclusion and full citizenship are foundational principles in the disability rights movement.
LESSONS NOT LEARNED BY THE ONTARIO GOVERNMENT: ANOTHER COVID WAVE HITS LONG-TERM CARE
July 18, 2022
Once again, 65 long-term care institutions are in outbreak in a 7th COVID wave, as well as 51 retirement homes. People 80+ are being hit especially hard (Pasieka, 2022).
Seniors for Social Action Ontario (SSAO) predicted this, telling the Ford government in 2020 to listen to older adults and invest in community-based in-home and residential alternatives and end its reliance on institutions.
In the past two years SSAO has written extensively about alternatives – both in-home and residential, that could have been created. Instead the Ontario government thought it could build its way out of the long-term care crisis by institutionalizing at least 30,000 more older adults.
TAKING MATTERS INTO OUR OWN HANDS -
AN AGENDA FOR LOCAL ACTION!
In the aftermath of the Ontario election, several things have become clear.
Ontario had the lowest election turnout in its history with only 4.6 million of 10.7 million eligible voters actually casting a ballot. That is a 43% voter turnout (Rodriques, 2022).
The result of this low voter turnout and a popular vote for the PC’s of only 40.84% (of the 43% who voted) was a majority government. A 40.84% vote for the PC’s translated to 66.9% - 83 of the seats necessary to form a government.
The NDP’s 23.7% of the vote translated to 25% - 31 of the seats.
The Liberal’s 23.9% of the vote translated to only 6.5% - 8 of the seats - depriving them of official party status in the Ontario Legislature. This means that they are unable to effectively represent almost 24% of voters (Fair Vote Canada, 2022). .....
FEDERAL AGE WELL AT HOME INITIATIVE
This month the Federal Minister of Seniors, Kamal Khera, announced the Age Well at Home initiative. It signals the beginning of a change in direction by the Federal government and an acknowledgement that older adults wish to age in place.
ADVOCACY INFORMATION BULLETIN
LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES
Seniors for Social Action Ontario (SSAO) is receiving communications from members about serious care and safety-related issues in long-term care institutions. When a loved one is in jeopardy in one of these facilities it is difficult to know where to turn for assistance. This bulletin is provided to assist members who may find themselves in this situation.
CAN YOU BE FORCED TO PAY A CO-PAYMENT BY HOSPITALS IF YOU ARE AN ALTERNATE LEVEL CARE PATIENT?
Many families are being forced to place loved ones in long-term care institutions when the first available bed comes up. They are told they will be required to pay steep hospital fees if they do not accept the bed. But is this true?
Here is what the Ministry of Health has to say.
Home Care Crisis in Ontario
Home care is an essential part of elder care and is a critically important approach to allowing people to age in place. Most elders expect to and hope to remain at home as they age. And home care is a good investment for governments because it is far less costly than hospitalization or long-term care.
Unfortunately, home care in Ontario is in crisis. The Ford government is so intent on pouring money into long-term care institutions that the quality and quantity of home care is in dire straits.
Vulnerable people in Ontario are the ones suffering. ......
A Home for Mom and Dad
We are all aware of the abysmal state of eldercare in Ontario, where home care is minimal, where attempting to support aging parents is often overwhelming for families, and where the absence of other choices forces thousands of old people into long term care institutions.
We know that a system that is based primarily on institutions (most of which are operated for profit) cannot provide elderly people with the support they require to have a good life. ..........
A TRANSFORMATIVE VISION FOR LONG TERM CARE IN ONTARIO
Christine McMillan is 91 years old, has a wealth of real world experience, and founded OASIS along with Brian Brophy while President of Frontenac Kingston Council on Aging. OASIS is a naturally occurring retirement community located in an apartment building owned by Homestead Landholding Inc. Hers and Brian’s intent was to build a community of tenants and introduce a program that would include formal and informal social events, exercise programs, guest speakers, skill sharing and other projects as well as affordably priced congregate dining. An onsite coordinator would help tenants to access community supports as their needs changed..........
Creating Change in an Entrenched
Long-Term Care System: Lessons from the Past
How to make significant change in long-term care is a huge challenge. Long- term care in Ontario has been entrenched for over 40 years, even though older adults do not aspire to be institutionalized. This entrenched system has withstood numerous scathing reports and inquiries, including the recent Commission Report, and yet little has changed. Most people would agree that this is a broken system.
Neither the federal government nor the provinces are showing the kind of leadership we need. The recent Commission Report fails to recommend alternatives that could have made a significant difference to the lives of our vulnerable elders. Also, advocacy for change remains limited and divided.
So how can an entrenched system like this be changed? .........
PUBLIC STATEMENT SUPPORTING DISABILITY RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS CONCERNING A CRITICAL CARE TRIAGE PROTOCOL
Seniors for Social Action Ontario
November 30, 2020
JOINT PUBLIC STATEMENT CALLING FOR
END TO PROFIT IN LONG TERM CARE
Concerned Friends of Ontario Citizens in Care Facilities
Seniors for Social Action Ontario
Ontario Society of Senior Citizens’ Organizations
November 3, 2020
EARLY RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE ONTARIO COMMISSION ON LTC AND THE PANDEMIC DEAL WITH SYMPTOMS NOT CAUSES
In an attempt to bind the wound the Commission has bypassed the cure
October 23, 2020
SENIORS FOR SOCIAL ACTION ONTARIO (SSAO) STRONGLY SUPPORTS BILL 196, which would create a Senior’s Advocate Office
October 14, 2020
A DIGNIFIED OLD AGE: CARE IN THE COMMUNITY
Fall 2020 Ontario Pre-Budget Submission
October 6, 2020
PUBLIC STATEMENT THANKING OTTAWA’S AND DURHAM REGION’S MEDICAL OFFICERS OF HEALTH
September 24, 2020
PROVINCIAL SENIORS ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION CALLS FOR ONTARIO’S AUDITOR GENERAL TO CONDUCT A VALUE-FOR-MONEY AUDIT INTO LONG-TERM CARE HOMES
May 22, 2020
PROVINCIAL SENIORS ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION
CALLS FOR AN INDEPENDENT PUBLIC INQUIRY
May 19, 2020