Dipika Damerla: Facebook
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Toronto, July 27 (Canadian-Media): An announcement was made last week by Dipika Damerla, Ontario Minister of Seniors Affairs at the Rockway Centre in Kitchener, Ontario 40 New Seniors' Centres across the province would be supported by Ontario to help seniors stay healthy and active, media reports said.
“Creating 40 new seniors’ centres across Ontario will help to improve services for seniors who may be vulnerable, including those living in multicultural, Indigenous and rural communities,” said Damella, a news release said.
Recent census data confirmed there were more seniors than children across the country.
According to the estimates of the research conducted by Statistics Canada and the National Seniors Council, 30 percent of Canadian seniors are at risk of becoming socially isolated. Social isolation can negatively affect both physical and mental health, the same research indicated. It was reportedly acknowledged by seniors that they feel happier and healthier with their increased involvement with social activities.
Ontario is investing $8 million over three years, continued the release, to create the 40 new centres announcement in the 2017 Budget and is reported to provide $11.5 million in annual funding to support these centres.
“We are big supporters of cultural diversity and inclusive participation at our Centre. This investment recognizes our unique focus on keeping vulnerable seniors active, healthy and socially-engaged,” said Fabienne Prior, Supervisor, City of Kitchener, Ontario.
Social and recreational programming, continued the release, such as exercise classes, transportation services, communal dining and health and wellness classes would be organised in the 40 new centres to better meet the needs of our growing seniors' population.
More than 100,000 seniors reportedly are already being served by a network of 263 Elderly Persons Centres across Ontario and new centres will added to this network.
“Helping seniors stay connected, active and engaged has been shown to contribute to their overall health and well-being. This announcement addresses that need for a growing segment of our population,” Daiene Vernile, Member of Provincial Parliament (Kitchener Centre) said.
To move forward with the new centres, said the release, a call for proposals will be issued in early fall 2017.
A legislation was recently passed in Ontario, which once proclaimed, continued the release, these centres will be renamed as Senior Active Living Centres -- rather than Elderly Persons Centres – to better reflect the diverse and active seniors across the province.
This legislation will also help the centres to act as community hubs in responding to community needs more efficiently, helping build strong partnerships and in strengthening their services.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)