$700 million for Aging at Home program
announced in Ontario
TORONTO – The Ontario government is
launching an Aging at Home Strategy that will transform community
healthcare services so that seniors can live healthy, independent lives
in their own homes, Health and Long-Term Care Minister George Smitherman
According to the government, a total investment of $702 million will be
made in the Aging at Home Strategy. The program will include a $40
million increase in funding for assistive devices.
“Our goal is to open a whole world of opportunity for seniors that will
offer new lifestyle choices that are reflective of how Ontario’s seniors
truly want to live,” said Smitherman. “As our population ages, we need
to look for innovative solutions that are more responsive to their needs
and allow seniors to continue to live in comfort and with respect in
their own homes, ideally for the rest of their days.”
More than 20 percent of the Aging at Home funding is earmarked for
innovative approaches to service such as culturally sensitive options
and community economic development approaches for service delivery that
will increase equity and access for marginalized and at risk seniors,
and employ community members (cultural, linguistic, etc.) who can
identify and connect with seniors, and build capacity for members of the
community to help each other.
These approaches may also include funding to support non-traditional
partnerships and new preventive and wellness services. For example,
groups and individuals who deliver care informally, such as friendly
home visits/telephone calls and transportation to appointments.
The historic new funding model used to allocate funding to Ontario’s 14
Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) is based on the estimated
health needs of the people in each LHIN and their associated costs.
Estimates of health needs are based on each individual’s age, diagnosis,
and rural and socio-economic status. The needs of each LHIN’s population
in 2010 have been forecasted, based on projections of population growth
and aging, and a funding allocation has been made to each LHIN.
As part of the three-year $700 million strategy, Ontario’s LHINs will
lead the exciting initiative, which will impact the way services are
delivered and help provide more equitable access to healthcare by
matching the needs of the local senior population with the appropriate
These services could include enhanced home care and community support
services like meals, transportation, shopping, snow shoveling, friendly
home calling, adult day programs, homemaking services and caregiver
“The Ontario Community Support Association and our members are pleased
that this government recognizes the value of community support services
and assisted living in supportive housing programs that keep people
healthy at home where they want to be. Evidence shows that these
services reduce seniors and persons with disabilities use of hospitals,
ERs and prevent premature institutionalization – which is what this
system desperately needs,” said Susan Thorning, CEO of the Ontario
Community Support Association.
The Aging at Home Strategy will offer new possibilities for Ontario’s
culturally diverse populations and other community-level organizations –
like service clubs and groups of seniors – to help serve themselves, the
It will make available supports to help keep our seniors healthy and
active, longer. Innovative thinking combined with healthcare solutions
that encourage prevention and health promotion will play a large role in
the LHINs’ plans to support Ontario’s seniors and their caregivers.
The Ontario investment has been designed with an historic new patient-centred
funding model that recognizes population growth and promotes equitable
access to services across Ontario, based on the actual health needs of
the population. Funding for enhanced services will start flowing to the
LHINs in April 2008.
In total, the government will invest $702 million in the Aging at Home
Strategy. It is estimated that the senior’s population in Ontario will
double in the next 16 years. This investment will result in a more
sustainable healthcare system that provides supports to seniors where
they most want them, in their own homes.