Build Seniors' Community Support Service Capacity Now to Avoid Care Crisis Down the Road

    October is Community Support Month

    TORONTO, Oct. 6 /CNW/ - As Community Support Month in Ontario kicks off,
clients and care workers together have one message to deliver: Home and
Community Support is critical in helping family caregivers and supporting
seniors and persons with physical disabilities in their own homes.
    However there is a need to drastically increase these services to cope
with wait lists and the growing demand for services. Caregivers are stretched
to the limit and agencies are feeling the pressure. Agencies have lost 23% of
their spending power over the past 10 years as government funding has not kept
pace with inflation, let alone expand the current programs needed to meet the
growing demand.

    Why These Services are Critical

    Notes one caregiver, Judy, in Toronto: "My mother recently died after
being in hospital for more than two months. My father is 92 years old and
still lives in the family home. Between going back and forth to the hospital
and worrying about him at home alone, I was at the end of my rope.
    "I don't know what I would have done without the support and services
provided by the Community Support Service agency, SPRINT, (Senior Peoples'
Resources in North Toronto). For two hours a day, five days a week, a personal
support worker (PSW) goes to my father's house to make him dinner, do his
laundry, change his bed, and ensure he is safe. Dad says 'they are great
company.' I know I can count on these precious PSWs and their care allows me
to continue to earn a living."
    Community Support agencies provide crucial services like adult/Alzheimer
day programs, attendant services for persons with physical disabilities, Meals
on Wheels, personal care and home support, transportation to medical
appointments and supportive housing programs.

    -  These services are integral to the continuity of care for people in a
       well-functioning health care system keeping seniors out of hospital or
       the ER. They prevent or delay admission to long-term care homes.
    -  Providing services for persons with disabilities means they get to
       their educational institutions or to their workplaces and can be
       contributing members of their community. There are currently about
       6,000 people in Ontario on wait list for Attendant Services. People
       are inappropriately waiting in hospitals, long-term care homes or with
       aging parents who cannot cope any longer because there is insufficient
       government funding to meet the needs.

    The demand for community support continues to grow as our population
ages. Caregivers can burn-out with the burdens placed upon them caring for a
loved one.
    "We need to ensure the Government is sustaining and nurturing these
services by appropriately funding the agencies. Home and Community Supports
are critical to helping people stay where they want to be: in their own homes.
It will be difficult to build capacity in these programs to deal with the
senior's tsunami, after the wave hits us." said Claude Tremblay, President of
the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA).

         That's Why We Care. And Why Everyone in Ontario Should Too!

    October is Community Support Month. The following events are scheduled for

    -  October 8th: Client Intervention and Assistance Day
    -  6-12th: Meals on Wheels Week
    -  October 15th: Respite Services Day
    -  October 13th-19th: Community Care Worker Week
    -  October 20th: Transportation Service Day
    -  October 20th-26th: Adult Day Program Week
    -  October 21st: Supportive Housing Day
    -  October 22nd: Friendly Visiting/Telephone Reassurance Day
    -  October 23rd: Home Help/Home Maintenance Day

    To locate community care in your area, please go to:

    The Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) is the voice of home and
community support services across Ontario. Across the province, a million
people of all ages receive community support services each year. These
important, cost-effective services prevent unnecessary hospitalizations,
emergency room admissions and premature institutionalization.

                   Community Support Services in Ontario:
             Working with Partners to bring Client-Centred Care

    What are Community Support Services?

    Meals On Wheels...and so much more. Community Support Services help people
to stay at home, promote physical & mental well-being and keep people out of
doctors' offices, emergency rooms and hospitals.

    What is in the basket of Community Support Services?

    -  Alzheimer/adult day programs
    -  Attendant services for persons with physical disabilities
    -  Caregiver support and education
    -  Client intervention and assistance (CIA)
    -  Foot care
    -  Home maintenance and repair
    -  Meal Programs (Meals On Wheels and congregate dining)
    -  Personal support and homemaking
    -  Respite services
    -  Security checks, telephone reassurance and friendly visiting
    -  Social, recreational and intergenerational programs, and clinics
    -  Assisted living in supportive housing
    -  Transportation to medical appointments
    -  End-of-Life/palliative care.

    What do community supports do? These are just some of the benefits:

    -  Keep people at home where they prefer to be
    -  Make sure persons with physical disabilities get the basic attendant
       services they need to get to work, school and contribute in their
    -  Promote physical and mental well-being, so critical to health
    -  Help individuals & families care for themselves and maintain their
    -  Prevent or delay deterioration of health and premature
    -  Prevent visits to the Emergency Rooms and admissions to hospitals
    -  Provide nutritious meals and help prevent broken hips
    -  Break isolation and head off family breakdown due to caregiver stress
    -  Make sure taxpayers are not paying for more costly, inappropriate
       health services

    Who provides service and how are we funded?

    Community Support Services are provided by community agencies that
receive about 60% of their funding from the Local Health Integration Networks
(LHINs) through service agreements. Funding from the community in the form of
donations, client co-payments, foundations and organizations like the United
Way make up the remaining resources needed to provide these critical programs.
 Community support services work closely with other health care providers such
as the Community Care Access Centres (CCAC) and hospitals.
    Last year across Ontario, a million seniors and people with disabilities
or debilitating illness received community support services.

For further information:

For further information: or to arrange interviews with Judy or other
clients or care workers, contact: Lori Payne, Manager, Communications &
Development, OCSA,, (416) 256-3010 Ext 242, website:

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