Aging in place is the first choice for many retirees, and it’s a choice the City of Toronto supports as its population grows older. The Greater Toronto Area and Ontario province as a whole expect more than a quarter of the region’s population to be age 65 or older within the next 25 years, up from 15% today. To help this booming number of seniors live safely at home, the city, community health centres, and private home care businesses offer a long list of services for older adults who don’t need to move but do need help around the house.
Government-supported home help for qualified seniors
The first stop for Toronto seniors who need help at home should be the nearest Community Care Access Centre. Staffers there are trained to assess residents’ needs, see if they qualify for service coverage by the centre or through OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Program), and arrange for services. Home supports through a CCAC typically include cooking and light cleaning, help with grooming and dressing, help with errands, and respite care for family caregivers.
Assistive device support programs
Toronto seniors who need special equipment such as wheelchairs, oxygen tanks and respiratory gear, hearing aids, and adaptive equipment for visual impairment are encouraged to contact Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The ministry’s assistive devices program may cover up to ¾ of the cost of thousands of different devices and pays the entire cost of home oxygen equipment for adults over age 64. The program also works with a network of vendors to provide supplies and equipment for chronic health conditions such as diabetes.
Toronto’s Services for Seniors department maintains a list of non-profit groups that loan out assistive equipment or help to defray the cost of buying equipment such as walkers, prosthetic limbs, and incontinence care supplies.
Hospice and palliative care services at home
Toronto’s hospice and palliative care programs work to make a difficult time easier. These services are open to any resident facing a life-threatening or serious medical condition and most use the same intake form to cut down on the amount of paperwork applicants have to fill out. As with home support services, the nearest Community Care Access Centre is the first stop for hospice and palliative services.
There are also 8 community volunteer hospice programs in the city that provide services within defined neighbourhoods. Most provide general hospice services; the Philip Aziz Centre specializes in care for residents with cancer and HIV/AIDS while Circle of Care and Jewish Family and Child offer services tailored to Jewish residents.
Private home care agencies
Seniors who don’t qualify for home assistance through a CCAC or who find themselves on a waiting list for CCAC-sponsored care can hire a private home care provider. Altogether, there are more than a hundred home care agencies that serve the Greater Toronto Area. It’s a good idea to contact several agencies to compare rates, check references and reviews, and find providers who offer the particular services you need, whether that’s meal preparation, grooming help, dementia care, or other assistance.
Senior care referral companies like A Place For Mom can help you navigate the home care options for yourself or a family member. You can call them toll-free at (866) 592-8119 to be connected with a local Eldercare Advisor. You can also search SeniorAdvisor.com to read reviews of Toronto home care agencies.
Learn more about Caregiving in Toronto, ON here:
Find assisted living in Toronto near you.