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 today 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.
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.
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.
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 August 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.
Ontario’s plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
- Ontario is investing up to $4.1 million to support up to 246 projects through the Seniors Community Grant program. With today’s announcement, the total investment in the program is now up to $11.8 million, benefitting approximately 500,000 seniors across the province.
- Ontario is also investing $5 million in the new Engaging Seniors Through the Arts Fund. Applications will open in Fall 2018.
- The Engaging Seniors Through the Arts Fund will be administered by the Ontario Arts Council. It is part of Aging with Confidence: Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors and Ontario’s Culture Strategy.
“Congratulations to all the recipients of this year’s Seniors Community Grant funding. 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.” Dipika Damerla – Minister of Seniors Affairs
“Our government recognizes the role the arts play in helping seniors to age well. 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.” Daiene Vernile – Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport
“We’re thankful to the Government of Ontario for its support of our unique community outreach program. 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.” Monique Doolittle-Romas – Executive Director, The Good Companions Seniors’ Centre