19/06/2017


Elder Abuse: Protecting Our Seniors                                                                     

On June 15 community centres like Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre took put in World Elder Abuse Awareness Day with programs for their senior members. The program at Waterfront helped those attending to understand what Elder Abuse is and how to intervene safety and with respect if they suspect a friend is a victim.

With an aging population there are more seniors than ever and sadly, Elder Abuse is a growing problem in Canada. It is thought that as many as 98,000 seniors are being or have been abused. Sometimes it is difficult to see the abuse as many of the abusers are members of the victims family and do not see their actions as abusive.

The elderly are at risk of physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, neglect and mental abuse. Many of the abusers are people who the victim depends on and loves. They may not feel like they are being abused or feel ashamed that they have been taken advantage of. These actions are criminal and should be reported to the police.

Risk factors for abuse include family stress and frustration as the elderly person becomes more dependent; migration of young couples to urban centres; social isolation due to mental or physical frailties; erosion of cultural bonds between the generations.

The most common type of elder abuse in Canada is financial. It is more likely to be perpetrated by a distant relative or a non-relative than by a close family member. Only 7% of financial abusers are financially dependent on their elderly victims. That said elders who live at home with their adult children can be at risk. Watch for sudden change in banking activity and changes to legal documents that do not benefit the elder.

One of the ways to fight elder abuse is by friends and family keeping an eye out. Elder Abuse Ontario has a new campaign called SNCit! aimed at friends and family of the elderly.

SNCit stands for See it-Name it-Check it. By being aware and checking on friends when something doesn't feel right seniors can empower one another. If you suspect a friend is dealing with an abusive situation gently approach them about it in a nonjudgemental way. Simply asking if they want to talk about what's going on can be a first step in stopping the abuse.

If you are dealing with elder abuse there are several agencies that can help:

211 Ontario 211
Seniors' INFOline 1-888-910-1999
Elder Abuse Canada 416-916-6728
Senior Safety Line 1-866-299-1011
Fem'aide 1-877-366-2433
Talk4Healing( for Aboriginal women) 1-855-554-4325   

30/03/2017


Older Canadians are outdoors twice as often as millennials, survey shows                                                                                    

Older Canadians are almost twice as likely as younger Canadians to regularly go outside for recreation, a survey shows.

While most Canadians get outdoors at least once a week, 58 per cent of Canadians 55 and older get outside four or more times per week, compared to a third of Canadians aged 18-34.

Part of the reason millennials (18-34) don't enjoy the great outdoors as much as others may be related to their busy schedules. Forty-seven per cent of millennials say that they don't have the time. This is nearly twice the number of Canadians aged 55+.

To help address this, the Canadian Parks Council, a committee representing national, provincial and territorial parks, created The Nature Playbook to connect more Canadians with the natural environment. The Playbook suggests simple strategies and activities that make it easy for Canadians to incorporate nature into their everyday lives.

"The Nature Playbook is a collection of best practices. It's a guidebook that is meant to inspire action and eventually, widespread cultural change in Canada," said Chloe Dragon Smith, co-chair of The Nature Playbook working group. "If we truly want to make a change for the next generation, millennials are an important audience."

Another reason the Canadian Parks Council created The Nature Playbook is to encourage Canadians to reap the health benefits that nature provides. The survey showed that 86 per cent of Canadians purposefully go outside to reap nature's health benefits. The top reason Canadians go outside is to clear their heads.

"Connecting with nature is important for our health and happiness," said Dragon Smith. "The Nature Playbook can help us all discover the best, most practical ways to get outdoors – no matter who you are or where you are in Canada. It's about finding and embracing what works for you."

The Nature Playbook's strategies are:

1. Bring children into nature at an early age.
2. Find and share the fun in nature.
3. See the urban gateway to nature.
4. Embrace technology.
5. Share cultural roots and ancestry in nature.
6. Seek out diverse partnerships.
7. Empower a new generation of leaders.

This survey was developed as part of a broader campaign to raise awareness about The Nature Playbook in Toronto. It was organized by Centennial College post-graduate public relations and corporate communications students as part of the Storyworks course at the School of Communications, Media, Arts and Design in partnership with the Canadian Parks Council.

Additional Findings

People from Ontario, Alberta, Quebec and B.C. are more than twice as likely to say that they do not have time to regularly go outside than people in Saskatchewan.
Only 8 per cent of British Columbians say that they have to travel outside the city to connect with nature.
Eighty per cent of Canadians say they are able to connect with nature within five minutes of their house.
Seventy-one per cent of Canadians like to go running or on a walk when they go outside.
About the survey
From March 8 to March 9, 2017, an online survey was conducted by Maru/Matchbox among 1,509 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has a margin of error of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) using Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About the Canadian Parks Council
The Canadian Parks Council (CPC) is the body of federal, provincial and territorial parks agencies working together since 1962 to promote excellence in park planning and management, advance park and protected areas values, and facilitate cooperation among and provide support to member agencies. A goal of the CPC is to get Canadians outside, enjoying the natural spaces that our country has to offer. They first published Connecting Canadians with Nature in 2014 - it explains the reasons for connecting with nature. They followed up with The Nature Playbook as a how-to guide for all Canadians.

About Centennial College and this campaign
Established in 1966, Centennial College is Ontario's first public college, primarily serving the eastern portion of the Greater Toronto Area through four campuses. It has a record of exemplary teaching, innovative programming and extensive partnership building. With a full-time enrolment of 20,000 students, Centennial is recognized as one of the most culturally diverse post-secondary institutions in Canada. Visit www.centennialcollege.ca.

20/03/2017


ONTARIANS WANT INVESTMENT TO IMPROVE SENIOR CARE: IPSOS SURVEY                                                                                    

A new survey by Ipsos shows that Ontarians have widespread concern about the level of funding and care for seniors living in the province’s long term care homes.  The questions put to Ontarians in the study canvassed views on the need for the government to focus on the long-term care sector as a priority, and opinions on the areas that need urgent attention within the sector. 
 
“The survey results send a clear message to government and all parties that more investment is urgently needed for long term care,” says Hank Beekhuis, CLAC Ontario director. “Our members and all front-line caregivers are struggling to keep up with increasing care needs and demands. Adding caregivers has been proven to positively impact resident care, health outcomes, and safety. We need action now.”
 
CLAC/Ipsos Survey Key Findings
97% of Ontarians agree improving the quality of care in long-term care facilities should be a priority to government.
90% agree long-term care homes need more staff and healthcare outcomes will improve by adding additional front-line staff.
75% agree there is increased risk of violence to residents and staff due to inadequate staffing levels.
70% agree patients requiring long term care have significantly worse health problems than in the past.
 
CLAC has represented workers in the long-term care sector for over 50 years. During that time, residents’ care needs have increased significantly. Today, 60 to 70 percent of residents requiring long term care have some form of dementia, and close to 100 percent have other significant needs. The CLAC/Ipsos survey is consistent with a poll conducted by the Ontario Long Term Care Association in 2014 and previous surveys done by Ipsos. 
 
“Increasing front-line staff in the sector by two percent above inflation is estimated to cost an additional $70 million per year,” says Beekhuis. “Experience elsewhere proves that it will have a huge impact on patient care and health outcomes. The government must recognize that people are entering long term care with greater needs, and it must provide funding for additional staff to properly look after residents during this vulnerable time of life.”
 
These are the findings of an online Ipsos survey conducted between March 6 and 8, 2017. A total of n= 801 interviews were completed, among Ontarians 18+. The sample is representative of the Ontario population based on age, gender and region.  The credibility interval for the total sample of n=801 is ± 4.0 percentage points, 95% of the time. 
 
For more information, read CLAC’s submission to the Ontario government Patients First: A plan to combat pressures in Ontario’s long term care system.

20/03/2017

Ontario Long Term Care Association calls on Ontario government to make seniors' care a priority in provincial budget
 Last year more than 100,000 Ontarians relied on services provided by long-term care homes, the majority requiring care for complex conditions such as dementia. Over the next 20 years it is anticipated that there will be twice as many seniors over the age of 75 and, by extension, a growth in the number of people with complex needs who require long-term care services. Our seniors need to know that when they can no longer be cared for at home, the long-term care services they need will be there for them.

"We need to ensure that our system is sustainable and set up for continued success," said Candace Chartier, Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Long Term Care Association. "Right now, there are too many homes in need of redevelopment, specialized human resources vary from region-to-region, and the rate at which homes are being funded requires a minimum of inflationary growth."

At an event at Queen's Park today, Ms. Chartier outlined several priorities detailed in the Association's plan, Building Better Long-Term Care, which, if acted upon, could help enhance long-term care in Ontario. She also brought forward a petition, signed by more than 10,000 Ontarians, in support of the Association's plan. The priorities in the plan include:

Implementing a plan to modernize every long-term care home in Ontario that has been classified as outdated by the province – increasing the quality of care to the 35,000 seniors who live in these homes.
Ensuring seniors outside of urban centres have sufficient access to care close to home.
Providing a more predictable approach to funding and ensuring specialized resources are enhanced to support residents with increasing needs.
Almost 90% of seniors living in long-term care today have some form of cognitive impairment, such as dementia. Newer homes create a better, safer environment for all residents and staff.

"It is so very important that we get the needs of long-term care addressed today, so that we can sustain and improve it for future generations," added Chartier. "Through our cost-efficient plan, we have presented several options to the government that will greatly improve care and supports for seniors. We've had great support for our campaign from Ontarians across the province who all agree – the time is now to make Better Seniors' Care a priority."

14/03/2017

Demand for Nursing Services Challenging to Meet as Canada's Population Ages
 The regulated nursing workforce in Canada will have an increasingly difficult time supporting the continuing care needs of seniors. According to a new Conference Board of Canada report, demand for nursing services is expected to increase at a much stronger pace than the supply of nurses as Canada's population ages.

"Canada's aging population will cause a dramatic rise in demand for continuing care and services provided by regulated nurses are an important component of that," said Louis Thériault, Vice-President, Public Policy, The Conference of Canada. "Addressing the labour demands for nursing will be essential for Canada to successfully meet the care needs of its seniors."

Highlights

Demand for nursing services is expected to increase sharply as Canada's population ages.
Overall demand for nursing in providing continuing care to seniors will increase annually by 3.4 per cent.
Better nursing workforce data and research for continuing care is required to meet enhanced community and home care health system reforms.
As providers of acute, chronic, rehabilitative, and palliative care, regulated nurses are at the front line of care and support for seniors. Nurses provide direct clinical care in homes and in long-term care homes. They also provide a number of other services and supports including case management, care coordination, supervision, education, as well as administrative within the continuing care spectrum. Currently, over 1.4 million Canadian seniors need and receive paid and unpaid continuing care supports, and this figure could increase by 71 per cent in 2026.

The report, Future Care for Canadian Seniors, A Primer on Nursing Supply and Demand, provides an estimate of what demand for nurses in continuing care could look like as Canada's population ages. Under a status quo scenario, overall demand for nursing in providing continuing care to seniors in home, community, and facility-living environments is projected to increase from just under 64,000 full-year jobs to 142,000 full-year jobs by 2035—an annual growth rate of 3.4 per cent. This rate of increase will far exceed the modest 1 per cent annual growth projected in the general labour force.

The forecast of nursing labour suggests that the supply of nurses is not likely to keep up with increased demand. Furthermore, as federal and provincial governments expand home and community care services, and implement dementia and palliative care strategies, demand for nurses could be even greater than the estimates presented.

Recruitment of nurses to continuing care settings can be a challenge. In order to meet future demand, a number of issues impacting the supply of nurses need to be addressed. Working in a continuing care setting with seniors is not always a preferred choice for new nursing graduates as many typically prefer working in hospitals. Other issues include wages gaps between nurses in institutional settings and home care settings, workload, isolation, and safety.

This report is of part of the Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care's the Future Care for Canadian Seniors research series and is co-sponsored by the Canadian Nurses Association.

13/03/2017

Canada's doctors call for national leadership and a focus on seniors
With financing agreements being signed between the federal government and specific provinces and territories, there is opportunity to refocus upon the health of Canadians. The CMA continues to call for national leadership to protect the health of Canadians. This requires pan-Canadian vision and strategic action to strengthen our system now, and into the future. For example, the CMA contends that Canada needs a national seniors' strategy to meet the evolving needs of our growing and aging population.

Canada's doctors believe the upcoming March 22nd budget presents an ideal opportunity for the federal government to focus on the urgent health care needs of seniors that will not only respect the contribution that seniors have made to Canada, but improve our health care system overall.

Dr. Granger Avery,

President, Canadian Medical Association

For 150 years, only the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has united the broad expertise of the medical community for the benefit and well-being of all Canadians. The CMA currently represents over 85,000 physicians, comprises 12 provincial and territorial medical associations and is affiliated with over 60 national and international medical organizations.

01/03/2017

High Cost of Living Clouds Retirement Dreams
Franklin Templeton Investments' 2017 Retirement Income Strategies and Expectations (RISE) survey found that 9 in 10 Canadians, who are not retired, expressed concerns about the potential impact of the high cost of living in retirement. The percentage was roughly the same among Americans who are not retired.

Pre-retiree Canadians cited lifestyle and health care (20 per cent each) as the expense categories they are most concerned about paying in retirement. Not surprisingly, health care topped the list for 33 per cent of pre-retiree Americans, but only 11 per cent indicated lifestyle.

"The prospect of managing expenses in retirement is stressful for North Americans, but the difference between Canada and the US may reflect the spotlight on US health insurance in recent years," said Duane Green, president and CEO, Franklin Templeton Investments Corp. in Canada. "Although Canadians benefit from coverage for doctor and hospital visits, health care expenses are still a top concern because seniors face the prospect of rising costs for long-term care and prescription drugs as lifespans continue to increase."

"The concern about expenses appears to be well founded, as over one-third (39 per cent) of Canadians who are 11 or more years into retirement said their overall expenses have increased since they retired," Green added.

This may be why nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of those retired say they would tell pre-retirees to "save early, save often and save consistently".

Major sacrifices expected to make retirement savings last

Almost half (49 per cent) of pre-retiree Canadians are concerned about outliving their retirement assets or having to make major sacrifices in their retirement compared to 59 per cent of pre-retiree Americans. Even with about three decades until retirement, 43 per cent of Canadian millennials report these concerns, which could stem from half of them reporting that they have not yet started saving for retirement.

Perhaps even more troubling, is that 15 per cent of Canadian pre-retiree baby boomers and a quarter of pre-retiree generation X have not saved anything for retirement.

Almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of Canadians who are not retired are considering working during retirement to earn income, with 19 per cent of pre-retiree baby boomers expecting employment to be their primary source of retirement income. Looking at regional results, at the high end, 70 per cent of pre-retiree Albertans are planning to work in retirement, compared to 61 per cent of pre-retirees in both Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

"The results for Alberta could be influenced by the fact that last year was tough for the provincial economy, due to a very challenging environment for the energy sector," said Matthew Williams, SVP, Franklin Templeton Investments Corp.

Canadians stressed and anxious about having enough for retirement

Over two-thirds (67 per cent) of Canadians experience stress and anxiety when thinking about their retirement savings and investments, which is down five percentage points from 2016 when 72 per cent of those surveyed were stressed and anxious. It also declined for Americans, as 68 per cent experienced stress and anxiety when thinking about their retirement savings and investments, compared to 70 per cent in the 2016 RISE survey.

"The modest decline in stress and anxiety levels is good news, but it may be a case of recency bias, which is when investors focus largely on recent results. Canadians might have been looking back at the S&P/TSX composite index over the past year and seeing a return of 18 per cent in 2016. In contrast, when they looked back on 2015, the same Canadian equity benchmark had fallen 11 per cent," said Williams. "This is why it is important to work with a financial advisor to build a solid, realistic retirement savings plan and stick to it, while avoiding the distraction of short-term volatility."

More than 8 in 10 (82 per cent) pre-retirees in the 55 to 59 age category experience stress and anxiety when thinking about their retirement savings and investments. Yet once they near the historically traditional retirement age, only 64 per cent of pre-retirees in the 60 to 64 age category report being stressed and anxious.

In addition to age, there were also gender differences. Notably, in the 30 to 34 age group, over three-quarters (78 per cent) of pre-retiree women are stressed and anxious about retirement savings and investments, whereas only 59 per cent of men are. However, once people near the traditional retirement age in the 60 to 64 age category this reverses, as over half (55 per cent) of pre-retiree women are stressed and anxious compared to almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of men.

This eases a bit as one lives in retirement, with about half (49 per cent) of retirees 11 or more years into retirement still reporting stress and anxiety about their retirement saving and investments.

Saving habits and the advice gap

The RISE survey found that pre-retirees who work with an advisor are 46 percentage points more likely to be saving for retirement compared to those who have never worked with one (93 per cent versus 47 per cent).

Almost half (48 per cent) of pre-retirees, with over C$50,000 saved who currently have an advisor, think that their retirement will be better than previous generations, compared to a third of pre-retirees with the same savings level who have never engaged an advisor.

Other key findings

- Forty per cent of those already retired have saved C$100,000 or less for retirement, with 10 per cent of those having not saved anything.
- Over half (52 per cent) of those with children under 18 years of age are concerned about outliving their retirement assets or having to make major sacrifices in their retirement compared to 41 per cent of those who do not have children under 18.
- Forty per cent of pre-retiree millennials are relying on inheritance as a source of retirement income versus only a quarter (26 per cent) of pre-retiree baby boomers.

About the survey
Franklin Templeton Investments' Retirement Income Strategies and Expectations (RISE) survey was conducted online among a sample of 2,001 Canadians and 2,013 Americans ages 18 and older. The survey was administered in Canada from January 6 to 18, 2017, by ORC International's Online CARAVAN®.

About Franklin Templeton Investments

Franklin Templeton Investments Corp. is a Canadian subsidiary of Franklin Resources, Inc. [NYSE: BEN]. Franklin Resources, Inc. is a global investment management organization operating as Franklin Templeton Investments, which provides global and domestic investment management to retail, institutional and sovereign wealth clients in over 170 countries. Through specialized teams, the company has expertise across all asset classes—including equity, fixed income, alternative and custom solutions. The company's more than 650 investment professionals are supported by its integrated, worldwide team of risk management professionals and global trading desk network. With offices in over 30 countries, the California-based company has 70 years of investment experience and over US$728 billion (over C$948 billion) in assets under management as of January 31, 2017.

For more information, please visit franklintempleton.ca or connect with Franklin Templeton on Twitter (@FTI_Canada) and read the Beyond Bulls & Bears blog featuring perspectives from Franklin Templeton investment professionals around the world.

Copyright © 2017. Franklin Templeton Investments. All rights reserved.

24/02/2017

What are the biggest retirement surprises? Unexpected costs, health issues, higher taxes: CIBC Poll
 Retired Canadians aged 50 and over are finding that unanticipated costs, health issues and higher than expected tax bills are their biggest surprises in retirement, finds a new CIBC poll. Complicating the situation for these retired Canadians is that many left the workforce before they expected to, putting pressure on their retirement income and leaving many wishing they had started planning sooner.

"There's a lot we can learn from Canadians about their retirement experiences to help us steer clear of costly surprises," says David Nicholson, Vice-President, CIBC Imperial Service. "Heading into the final weekend of RRSP season, it's important to remember retirement planning is much more than checking your annual RRSP contribution off the list. The key to mitigating surprises or coping with the cost of health issues is planning ahead for the life you want to live."

Key poll findings:

Retired Canadians who faced surprises upon retirement say they were most surprised by higher spending and unexpected costs (30 per cent) including repairs and renovations, financial support for children/grandchildren/parents and costs of long-term care; health issues (24 per cent); and, a higher tax bill (15 per cent).
Compounding the issue, nearly half of retired Canadians (48 per cent) stopped working earlier than expected. Reasons they retired earlier include:
33 per cent due to an unexpected health issue
22 per cent were asked to retire by their employer
In hindsight, retired Canadians with retirement regrets say they wish they'd started planning sooner (38 per cent), saved more outside of their RRSP (38 per cent), and would've retired later (22 per cent).
"Many Canadians underestimate their spending in retirement, or don't realize that they may have to retire earlier than they expect to leaving them unprepared to manage higher expenses than expected on a lower income than planned," says Mr. Nicholson. "While travellers can expect to spend more, those staying put may be surprised by the costs of all that free-time to explore new interests or may dip into savings for renovations put off during their working years."

Taxes can impact retirement cash flow Before 2009, when Tax Free-Savings Plans (TFSA) were introduced, Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP) were among the few tax-efficient retirement savings vehicle. The poll indicates that some retirees bulked up on their RRSP savings, and are now facing a surprising tax bill as they convert their RRSP income into Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs). As a result, some may also experience claw-backs on income-tested government benefits, which could have been avoided with earlier planning.

"Making the transition from saving for retirement to funding retirement can be complicated," says Mr. Nicholson. "Whether you retire earlier, later or not at all, it's important to work with an advisor to understand how your income will be taxed at different stages of retirement, and ensure you're not leaving any of your hard earned money on the table."

Tax tips for fewer retirement surprises:

Create your retirement plan - Getting a sense of your retirement goals and what they will cost you is the first step to building a tax-efficient retirement plan. Your retirement plan is personal to your goals and income needs, so speak to an advisor to help you build the plan that's right for you.

Maximize tax-advantaged savings as you near retirement – Now is the time to accelerate your savings by maximizing your RRSP and TFSA contributions. Not only will your savings grow without tax within these plans, when you withdraw funds in retirement you'll likely do so at a lower income so you'll pay fewer taxes (with an RRSP) or no tax at all (with a TFSA).

Withdraw RRSP funds strategically – and re-invest in a TFSA – Although funds can remain in your RRSP until age 71, consider how early withdrawals may help to reduce your overall tax bill in retirement. Use the CIBC Retirement Calculator to understand how all of your income sources (benefits, pensions, savings) work together, and identify where you may be able to top up income at lower marginal rates. For added savings, consider re-contributing after-tax RRSP withdrawals to your TFSA, to continue tax-sheltered growth.

Retiring early? Time your withdrawals to maximize your benefits: If you're retiring early or entering semi-retirement, speak to an advisor about the benefits of using your savings or delaying your CPP/QPP benefits to fit your income needs for retirement.

22/02/2017

Launch of retirement savings plan offers hardworking Canadians a chance to retire with dignity
 Today, SEIU Healthcare announced the first retirement plan aimed at the needs of modest earning Canadians. The My65+ plan is designed to be low-fee, portable, and structured to preserve government benefits.

"We asked our members what their number one challenge was, and the resounding answer we heard was retirement security," said Sharleen Stewart, President, SEIU Healthcare. "At SEIU Healthcare, we firmly believe that everyone deserves to retire with dignity, including the millions of Canadians who we know stretch their dollars to go as far as possible, every single day."

Starting July 1, 2017, My65+ will be open to SEIU Healthcare members and their family members.

"Mainstream RRSPs just don't pass the logic test for people earning less than $50 thousand per year," said Gail Nyberg, Executive Director of Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto. "They need a savings plan that won't end up costing them money in their most vulnerable time of life. SEIU's plan allows them to hold on to all the retirement income they're entitled to, and that makes so much sense."

Facts about My65+

Designed for working Canadians with no workplace pension earning less than $50,000 per year
Low, transparent fees

Portable – stays with the member from job to job and into retirement

Structured to preserve government benefits in retirement, allowing members to keep their Guaranteed Income Supplement

Open to SEIU Healthcare members and their families

Contributions can start as low as $25 a month
The plan can provide 3-4 times more retirement value for money than a typical RRSP
More information about My65+ can be found at my65plus.ca

"Retirement plans and products available today do not serve modest earning workers well," said Stewart. "We have created My65+ to address the financial realities and concerns of our members and many other hardworking Canadians."  
21/02/2017
Canadian pensioners not living as long as expected
Canada Pension Plan Changes Are On the Way. Is Your Organization Prepared?
 New research finds longevity for Canadian pensioners is lower than anticipated – which may actually be costing defined benefit (DB) plan sponsors.

Canadian male pensioners are living about 1.5 years less than expected from age 65, according to the latest data from Club Vita Canada Inc. – the first dedicated longevity analytics firm for Canadian pension plans and a subsidiary of Eckler Ltd. Female pensioners are living about half a year less than expected.

"Based on our data, some DB plans are overestimating how long their members are currently living and are therefore taking an overly conservative approach to funding their liabilities," explains Ian Edelist, CEO of Club Vita Canada. "Correcting that overestimation could reduce actuarial reserves by as much as 6% – improving Canadian pension funds' and their plan sponsors' balance sheets just by using more accurate, granular and up-to-date longevity assumptions."

The data comes from Club Vita Canada's first annual and highly successful longevity study completed in 2016 – one of the largest, most rigorous research studies on the impact of longevity on defined benefit pension and post-retirement health plans.

The newly created "VitaBank" pool of longevity data (provided by Club Vita Canada members) spans a wide range of industries and geographic regions in both the public and private sectors. VitaBank is currently tracking more than 500,000 Canadian pensioners from over 40 pension plans. Unlike the most widely used study to set longevity expectations – the Canadian Pensioners' Mortality (CPM) study, which relies on data up to 2008 – VitaBank includes fully cleaned and validated data up to 2014.

The Club Vita Canada study brings to the Canadian pension market leading-edge modelling techniques already used by the insurance industry and in other countries. Club Vita U.K. recently released similar results, noting £25 billion could be wiped off the collective U.K. DB deficit by using more accurate longevity assumptions.

"Naturally, the ultimate cost of a pension plan will be determined by how long its members actually live. But assumptions made today really do matter for such long-duration commitments," explains Douglas Anderson, founder of Club Vita in the U.K. "Club Vita's data gives DB plan sponsors the tools they need to evaluate their willingness to maintain their longevity risk or offload that risk to insurers."

About Club Vita Canada Inc. (clubvita.ca)

Club Vita Canada Inc. was created by Eckler Ltd. It is an extension of Club Vita LLP, a longevity centre of excellence launched in the U.K. in 2008 by Hymans Robertson LLP. By pooling robust data from a wide range of pension plans, Club Vita provides its members with leading-edge longevity analytics helping them better measure and manage their retirement plan.

About Eckler Ltd. (eckler.ca)

Eckler is a leading consulting and actuarial firm with offices across Canada and the Caribbean. Owned and operated by active Principals, the company has earned a reputation for service continuity and high professional standards. Our select group of advisers offers excellence in a wide range of areas, including financial services, pensions, benefits, communication, investment management, pension administration, change management and technology. Eckler Ltd. is a founding member of Abelica Global – an international alliance of independent actuarial and consulting firms operating in over 20 countries.

About Hymans Robertson LLP (hymans.co.uk)

Established in 1921, today Hymans Robertson is one of the longest established independent consulting and actuarial firms in the UK. The firm offers a full range of services including the provision of actuarial, investment consultancy, administration and general consultancy services to the trustees and sponsors of defined benefit and defined contribution pension schemes, and an enterprise risk management practice advising banks and life insurers. Hymans Robertson is also a member of the Abelica Global network.
 Retirement will look very different for millennials, baby boomers and others as the economy continues to change. The move towards Group Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), coupled with the decline of employer-sponsored defined benefit pension plans, brings a new retirement reality for many employees. This changing environment was the impetus for the expansion of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), a deal struck between the Federal and provincial governments in late 2016, to ensure a higher level of retirement security for Canadians in the future. Employers, including those that currently sponsor retirement plans, will have to ensure compliance with the governments' plan to move ahead with CPP changes.

Employers will have to take stock of their internal retirement and benefit offerings to ensure they are operationally and financially equipped to make the proper changes needed. In evaluating an organization's employee offerings, employers should equip their payroll, human resource and accounting staff with practical pension and benefit knowledge through the Canadian Payroll Association's (CPA's) Pensions & Benefits seminar.

Understanding Changes to the Canada Pension Plan

Employers will need to have the necessary changes programmed into their payroll systems well in advance to fulfil their legal responsibilities when the CPP expansion goes into effect in 2019. Employers should also anticipate that such changes may affect organizational policies, staff responsibilities and remuneration planning. The CPA offers its members payroll compliance resources, including the valuable e-Source legislative newsletter, Payroll InfoLine Q & A inquiry service (by phone and email), and a host of self-service web resources, to keep payroll, accounting and HR professionals up-to-date on regulatory and legislative changes impacting employers.

"With imminent changes to CPP, employers need to reassess their current retirement and benefit offerings for compliance, practicality, and financial preparedness," says Steven Van Alstine, Vice President of Education at the CPA. "Employers and employees alike will be impacted by such changes. Employers should make sure their staff and their organization are equipped with comprehensive retirement planning knowledge for the future."

Reviewing Your Full Offering of Benefits

Part of these preparations should also include an assessment of employer-sponsored benefits plans. Group health, disability and insurance plans should receive a thorough review to ensure that employees are receiving quality benefits without exorbitant costs to employers. Understanding the basics of such plans, how they are formed, and their tax and reporting considerations will help payroll, human resource and accounting staff to better support these functions within the organization and provide fundamental knowledge to help strike better deals at negotiation time. The CPA's seminars offer comprehensive overviews of these areas; Pensions & Benefits focuses on the key elements used to apply, administer or support pension and benefits functions within the organization, while the Best Practices of Employee Group Benefits seminar focuses on proper management and negotiation of group benefits.

For more information about the CPA and the many benefits that membership provides, visit payroll.ca / paie.ca.

About the Canadian Payroll Association:
Canada's 1.5 million employers rely on payroll practitioners to ensure the timely and accurate annual payment of $928 billion in wages and taxable benefits, $313 billion in statutory remittances to the federal and provincial governments, and $177 billion in health and retirement benefits, while complying with more than 200 federal and provincial regulatory requirements. Since 1978, the Canadian Payroll Association has annually influenced the payroll compliance practices and processes of over 500,000 organizational payrolls. As the authoritative source of Canadian payroll compliance knowledge, the Canadian Payroll Association promotes payroll compliance through education and advocacy. 

15/02/2017

Over half of Canadian employers provide access to financial advice in their group retirement and savings plan
Fifty-seven per cent of defined contribution (DC) plan sponsors and 61 per cent of group registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) sponsors say they provide their members with access to professional financial advice, according to the 2016 Capital Accumulation Plan (CAP) Benchmark Report, entitled Forecasting the future of group retirement plans.

"Canadians who work with an advisor have household assets over four times (4.2x)1 higher than those who don't," explains Christine van Staden, Vice-President, National Accounts, Group Retirement Distribution for Great-West Life. "I see a significant opportunity to improve the financial wellness of Canadians by offering advice in group retirement plans."

The report found a gap remains between large and small sponsors providing advice. Sixty-three per cent of sponsors with fewer than 499 employees provide advice, while only 52 per cent of sponsors with more than 500 employees do. It may not always be feasible for larger sponsors to offer the in-person services of an advisor, so "they may look toward their provider to offer member education and support," adds van Staden.

Other findings from the 2016 CAP Benchmark Report include:

Fifty-eight per cent of plan sponsors who offer a DC plan and 43 per cent who offer a group RRSP provide seminars for members who are getting close to retirement.

Twenty-seven per cent of plan sponsors who offer a DC plan and 22 per cent who offer a group RRSP offer advice specific to members who are getting close to retirement.

DC plans have a 90 per cent participation rate, while participation rates for group RRSPs and deferred profit sharing plans (DPSPs) are 60 per cent and 63 per cent, respectively.

Target date funds as the default investment option continue to grow – included in 50 per cent of DC plans (compared to 43 per cent in 2015) and 51 per cent of group RRSPs (compared to 43 per cent in 2015).
Fifty-seven per cent of plan sponsors require members to sign a waiver if they choose not to participate in their group retirement and savings plan, but only 17 per cent require a renewal of the waiver annually.

About the survey

Now in its 12th year and sponsored exclusively by Great-West Life, the 2016 CAP Benchmark Report represents an unbiased view of Canadian group retirement market trends.

The report summarizes the results of updated plan sponsor profiles in the Canadian Institutional Investment Network (CIIN), in addition to an online survey fielded by Transcontinental Inc.

Data was collected between March and August 2016 from 333 organizations offering a defined contribution (DC) plan, group registered retirement savings plan (group RRSP) and/or DPSP to their employees.

14/02/2017

When the dots don't connect: Canadians living longer in retirement but preparing less - RBC poll
Canadian Boomers aged 55+ are now facing a new reality – a retirement that could last for 30 years. Yet, while three of their top retirement concerns are longevity-related – maintaining their standard of living (39 per cent), having enough savings (37 per cent) and covering healthcare costs (34 per cent) – only one third (33 per cent) indicate they'll adjust their retirement lifestyle plans to prepare for three decades after they retire.

"Thirty years in retirement should be a huge gift of time, when you can do what you want, when you want – but you need to connect the dots between living longer in retirement and preparing for those additional years," advised Yasmin Musani, director – Retirement Client Strategies, RBC. "If you're in your 50s and haven't considered all of your retirement options – and yes, making adjustments – it's not too late to plan how to get the most out of all of your retirement years."

The RBC Financial Independence in Retirement Poll also found that almost half (46 per cent) of Canadians aged 55+ felt they were financially "somewhat short/nowhere close" to where they anticipated they would be at this point, in terms of their retirement savings. Their #1 question: "Will I have enough money in retirement?" That's also the most common question Bill Hill is asked, as he travels across the country speaking to groups of Canadians nearing retirement, in his role as national retirement planning consultant for RBC.

Hill says his response to this question is always the same: "Tell me what you want to do when you retire and then we can look at how much money that will take." He stresses to everyone that they need to talk through their thoughts about the retirement lifestyle they would like to lead, before they focus on the finances – and "there's no 'one size fits all'."

According to Hill, Canadians can start their retirement conversation by asking themselves a few questions:

Where will you want to live?

Do you have any travel plans in mind?

Will you be providing any assistance to younger or aging family members?

Have you discussed your plans with people close to you and with a financial advisor?

"You'll likely find your priorities – and their related financial implications – shifting as you approach and then enter retirement," Hill added. "That's why it's so important to have a conversation about your retirement thoughts with the key people in your life and then to sit down with a financial planner, to ensure you're taking all your options into consideration. Retirement plans need to be fluid, to adjust as you approach retirement – and flexible enough to support the lifestyle you lead once you are retired."

To further prompt Canadians to begin their retirement conversations, RBC has created a website with a comprehensive set of resources, featuring retirees in "People Like Me" videos and advice articles in "Big Questions. Big Answers." The site also has a series of "Retirement: Real Talk" videos, where Canadians give some surprising answers when asked about their retirement dreams and concerns. All resources are a click away, at www.rbc.com/next30.

Top 6 retirement questions on the minds of Canadians 55+

46%: Will I have enough money in retirement
26%: How do I make the most of the money I have saved
20%: How will I deal with inflation in retirement
19%: What lifestyle changes should I expect in retirement
15%: How will I manage debt in retirement/How will I earn income while I'm retired
13%: Should I downsize/sell my home

Top 6 activities retired Canadians are doing in retirement

62%: Taking time for myself
45%: Spending more time with my spouse/partner
43%: Getting more rest
42%: Travelling
38%: Improving my health
32%: Spending more time with my family (other than my spouse/partner)


About the RBC 2017 Financial Independence in Retirement Poll

These are some of the findings of the 27th Annual RBC RRSP Poll conducted by Ipsos from November 25 to 30, 2016 on behalf of RBC Financial Planning, through a national survey of 2,033 Canadians ages 18+ who completed their surveys online. Quota sampling and weighting are employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±2.4 percentage points had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

09/02/2017

Seniors in York Region Need Long-Term Care Homes Modernized and More Specialized Care
 Seniors living in new or newly renovated long-term care homes are experiencing first-hand the tremendous benefits these homes provide for their care and comfort. With 90% of residents living with some level of cognitive impairment in long-term care homes province-wide, newer homes create a better, safer environment for all residents and staff.

"The needs of seniors entering long-term care have risen dramatically in recent years," said Candace Chartier, CEO of the Ontario Long Term Care Association. "Too many seniors are living in homes that need to be rebuilt and modernized. Too many seniors with dementia aren't getting the supports they need to ensure their comfort and safety. Our seniors deserve better care."

At a long-term care home in Aurora, Ms. Chartier outlined the challenges facing seniors York Region:

There are currently more than 72,500 seniors over the age of 75 living in York Region. This number is expected to grow by 76.7% in the next 10 years and 182.9.6% in the next 20 years. On average, York Region will see an increase of 18 seniors per day until the year 2027.
Almost one-third (30%) of York Region's long-term care homes are outdated and need to be modernized. This means more than 630 seniors in York Region are living in outdated homes.
The Association's plan for action, "Better Seniors' Care," is calling for immediate action to improve seniors' care in Ontario, including:

Implementing a plan to modernize every long-term care home in Ontario that has been classified as outdated by the province – increasing the quality of care to the 35,000 seniors who live in these homes.
Ensuring seniors outside of urban centres have sufficient access to care close to home.
Providing a more predictable approach to funding and ensuring specialized resources are enhanced to support residents with increasing needs.
To help raise awareness of the challenges facing seniors living in long-term care, the Association is undertaking a province-wide tour to meet with residents and families. Today's stop was at Chartwell Aurora.

"Thanks to the dedicated staff here at Chartwell Aurora, we continue to provide the highest quality of care possible to our residents." said Greg Boudreau, Administrator at Chartwell Aurora. "But our home was not designed for today's residents. Homes that have been modernized offer a safer environment from an infection prevention and control perspective, allow residents more privacy, and increase movement throughout the home for many residents who are in wheelchairs."

Chartwell Aurora was originally built in the 1970s, and more recently added a new wing. The long-term care home paints a clear picture between the challenges that older long-term care homes face and the art of the possible.

"We know there is more work to be done to ensure all long-term care residents across the province get the care they require as their needs continue to increase," said Brent Binions, President and CEO of Chartwell Retirement Residences. "We need a system where every home has been updated and where staff are provided with the improved resources required to care for seniors with dementia and other complex health conditions."

"We need our elected officials to make providing better seniors' care a priority for the long-term," said Chartier. "We know that Ontarians share our concern about our ability to care for their parents and grandparents. Our seniors need to know that when they can no longer be cared for at home, the long-term care services they need will be there for them. The time for action is now."
02/3/02/2017
Care Confirmed Launches a New Live Video Service to Help Seniors Remain Living in Their Own Homes
Maximizing Your Assets in Retirement
As a greater percentage of the population continues to age, demand for affordable senior care is exploding and for good reason: the cost of retirement homes continues to rise, seniors are living longer and care givers such as children have busy lives.

However, many children are wondering how to provide care and companionship for their parents. Seniors themselves are looking for ways to continue to live independently within their own homes. Now, they can get the services they need to remain in their own home. A new service called Care Confirmed has been launched that uses tablet technology to connect seniors with Care Agents using live video. This exciting new service allows seniors to see their Care Agents.

Care Confirmed was developed by Ted Hodge and Ian Macfarlane who have been involved in Public Health Research and Consumer Technology for over 25 years. This service is an example of using the latest in tablet development to address the real needs of seniors in a very easy and intuitive way, making it easy for seniors to use technology. The new service can be easily ordered online (www.careconfirmed.com) or through the App store.

Care Confirmed, using live Care Agents, offers friendly companion calls and can arrange the services seniors need. Additional services offered by Care Confirmed include Fraud Prevention and Call Assist (for 3 way calling to help through complicated invoicing statements). At the conclusion of each call, an electronic notification is sent to a seniors sponsor (ex. children) to let them know how their loved one is doing.

"On a personal level my own parents were reaching an age where they required more regular support and care. I wanted to develop a service that would provide regular updates when I was travelling and assist them when I couldn't be there. I'm pleased to introduce an affordable service that gives seniors another option to consider when looking at the high costs of retirement living," Ted Hodge CEO, Care Confirmed..
 (Family Features) No matter how diligent you may have been about saving for retirement, unexpected life changes and economic realities can negatively impact your retirement budget. Sustained low interest rates have suppressed yields on income from bonds and rising health care expenses have affected retirees of all ages.

Many retirees are surprised to learn that one of the most valuable assets in their portfolios may be a life insurance policy that they no longer need.

It's not uncommon for people to outlive their need for life insurance, and if you no longer need the policy or can no longer afford the premiums, you could consider selling the policy through a life settlement. This is a financial transaction in which a policy owner works with a company, such as Coventry Direct, to determine if they qualify to sell their life insurance policy. The policy seller receives an immediate cash payment while the buyer assumes all future premium payments. Most life insurance policy types qualify, even convertible term life policies.

Consider this story about a financial advisor who recently retired from a long, successful career. He decided the money he was spending on the rising premiums for his $799,975 life insurance policy could be used to help fund his retirement. After some research, he called Coventry Direct and was happy to learn he had an option other than just letting the policy lapse. He sold his policy through a life settlement for $25,000, which was more than four times the value he would have received if he surrendered the policy back to the insurance company.

If you don't own a life insurance policy or still need your coverage, you may want to evaluate the real estate you own. Think about downsizing to a smaller home or selling other property you no longer need. Many retirees discover that they have significant equity tied up in real estate -- equity that could be used to help fund expenses.

Another useful exercise is reviewing your investments. If your retirement income is failing to produce the amount needed to maintain your lifestyle, you may need to rebalance your portfolio in order to meet your changing needs.

If you find your retirement income is insufficient, there are options available to maximize your assets. For many retirees, an existing life insurance policy may be a hidden asset that can be utilized to generate cash. To learn more about life settlements, visit coventrydirect.com/lifesettlements or call 888-858-9344.
Ontario Long Term Care Association calls for federal government to make seniors' care a priority
Last year, more than 100,000 Ontarians relied on services provided by long-term care homes, the majority requiring care for complex conditions such as dementia. The needs of seniors will continue to rise and it is imperative that our system is sustainable and set up for continued success.

"Over the next decade it is anticipated that there will be 50% more seniors over the age of 75 and, by extension, a growth in the number of people with complex needs who require long-term care," said Candace Chartier, Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Long Term Care Association. "While we recognize there is a need to be fiscally prudent in times of economic uncertainty, we ask the federal government to reconsider its stance, make health a priority and support the province's advocacy for an improved federal health transfer."

Last year, Ontario's 78,000 long-term care beds supported more than 100,000 seniors, and yet remarkably, over 20,000 remained on the wait list for care. Further, with the ongoing growth in commitments to keep seniors at home, the resulting impact on long-term care is an older, more medically complex resident to care for. In fact, this past year new statistics highlighted that approximately 90 per cent of residents in long-term care have some form of dementia, a significant change from what we saw just two years ago. The need for specialized care for people with dementia is growing, and so too should the investments that support their care.

Much like the broad challenges we face with aging infrastructure across Canada, Ontario's long-term care sector is in need of increased investments to rebuild and renovate more than 30,000 long-term care beds whose licenses expire in 2025. Without a growth in investments and support from Ottawa, Ontario's Enhanced Long-Term Care Home Renewal Strategy could be further impacted, thus affecting the likelihood that these beds will be redeveloped. Should these beds go offline, the resulting impact could be catastrophic.

"We need our elected officials to make providing better health care a priority for the long-term," said Chartier. "We know that Ontarians share our concern about our ability to care for their parents and grandparents. The time for action is now."
A Christmas Surprise for our Senior Veterans
 Christmas is a time of giving, not just of gifts but of time and of ourselves. This is the message that Canadian retailer Giant Tiger wanted to bring home this holiday season. Giant Tiger organized a very special celebration for a group of senior Canadians whose lives have been all about giving: the veterans at the Perley and Rideau Veterans' Health Centre.
  "Giant Tiger is a proud Canadian company and giving back is in our DNA," says Thomas Haig, President & COO. "During the holiday season, it is particularly important to remember and spend time with those who need it most. Our Canadian veterans have given so much, to be able to give back to them is not only a reminder of our shared values but is a true honour and privilege. "

The Centre's Lupton Hall was transformed for the tea into a wintery scene of traditional carolers, twinkling snowflakes and beautifully decorated Christmas trees. Tables were set with treats of the season and Giant Tiger and Perley Rideau staff were the servers. Each senior in attendance received a comfy cozy Christmas gift. Although everyone received gifts from Giant Tiger, the true gift was being able to spend time with one another, listening to stories and learning from our senior veterans.

"We wanted to give our veterans a special surprise," says Karen Sterling, Vice President Marketing. "The holiday season isn't just about the gifts under the tree, it's the gift of time that makes the season bright. Each person in attendance was deeply moved by the people we met, the stories we heard and the day overall. Our hope is that by sharing the afternoon with all Canadians through video they will get to experience a bit of the holiday magic as well."

Everyone from Giant Tiger who participated in the event were in fact the recipients of the most meaningful gift of all -- time, sharing and remembrance.

"Giant Tiger is a great Canadian company caring for great Canadian seniors and veterans," says Daniel Clapin, Executive Director of the Perley Rideau Foundation. "Especially as Canada celebrates its 150th, it's time to remember our seniors and in particular our veterans".


Giant Tiger Stores Limited wishes all Canadians a holiday season surrounded by love and a very happy New Year.

About the Perley and Rideau Veterans' Health Centre

The Perley Rideau is an historic and thriving Ottawa institution that delivers top-quality care in a personalized and compassionate manner. Established in 1897, today it is home to 250 Canadian war veterans and 200 seniors. The Perley Rideau has long been at the forefront of seniors' care and housing, and also provides respite and convalescent care. In addition, the Perley Rideau's two apartment buildings accommodate up to 225 independent seniors; other independent and assisted-living options are available in the surrounding community. To learn more about the Centre and to donate, visit www.perleyrideau.ca.
HOOPP Research Suggests Nearly 323,000 Canadians have Inadequate Retirement Income When Long-Term Care Costs Are Factored in
 Recent research conducted by The Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) and the University of Toronto's Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME) provides an unprecedented analysis of the impact of out-of-pocket healthcare expenses on Canadian retirement security.

The study's findings demonstrate that approximately 323,000 Canadians have inadequate retirement income once long-term care costs are factored in, which can grow to approximately 815,500 by 2038 if factors remain unchanged.

And the percentage of 85-year old women with inadequate retirement income rises from 25% to 44% when long-term care costs are considered (the study defines inadequate retirement income as those with less than a 50% net income replacement rate).

"There is a domino effect caused by the erosion of personal savings and earnings among the elderly," says Victoria Hubbell, Senior Vice-President - Strategy & Stakeholder Relations at HOOPP. "This retirement insecurity will eventually impact Canadians who support the GIS, OAS and the entire healthcare system."

HOOPP's research takes into consideration the wide range of costs associated with long-term care including:

Publicly funded nursing homes;
Publicly funded home care;
Privately funded assisted living in seniors' residences.

In 2015, there were 500,000 women in Canada over the age of 85 of which 13.2% experienced negative net income replacement rates. For these individuals, post-retirement consumable income is too little to cover long-term care costs, leaving no room for anything else.

Family Caregiver stress peaks during the holiday season
With the holiday season upon us, many Canadians are scrambling to fit a host of extra errands and activities into their already jam-packed lives. For most of us, stress levels can rise during the holidays, but new data from Elizz shows this time of year can be especially challenging for the millions of Canadians who act as family caregivers.

Elizz, Canada's go-to place for all things caregiving, has spent the last year connecting with and helping family caregivers and those who depend on them. Launched in October 2015 by Saint Elizabeth, a national health care provider, Elizz has received close to 600,000 visitors to its caregiver website, Elizz.com. Among its many online resources is a simple self-assessment presented to caregivers when they enter the site: 'How are you feeling today?'

This tool takes a daily temperature of Canadian caregivers and the results during key holidays are telling.
.
     37% of caregivers were 'feeling stressed' or 'in crisis' in December 2015, a 10% bump over the monthly average reported.
Easter and Thanksgiving also showed peak stress with 34% and 37% reporting stress or crisis in the respective periods.
A recent poll on Elizz.com revealed that 45% of family caregivers find juggling extra holiday errands with work and caregiving duties is a key factor in their rising stress.
The same poll found that 15% of caregivers stress about how to include aging parents with health issues in holiday celebrations.
"'How are you feeling today' is a cornerstone of the Elizz brand," said Allyson Kinsley, Senior Vice President of Brand Experience and Strategy for Elizz and Saint Elizabeth. "So often people only ask about the health of an aging parent or relative, forgetting that family caregivers can also be under tremendous pressure and dealing with high levels of stress and anxiety."

What do caregivers ask for most? In a word – help. Help managing the health needs of their family members, with 25% of caregivers asking for professional in-home assistance.

Having mom or dad visit during the holidays can mean helping them get washed, dressed and fed or tending to other personal needs and medical care. This can be time-consuming on the best of days, making quality time during busy family gatherings especially difficult. When an aging parent or relative has complex health needs, or is in hospital or long-term care, bringing them home for any length of visit may seem virtually unmanageable.

The phone lines at Elizz are already lighting up with requests from families looking for home health care assistance over the holidays, whether it's help with personal care, medications or specialty nursing services such as dementia and palliative care. Virtual services such as the Caregiver Coach are also available to help guide families through the health care system based on their own unique situation.

Five holiday tips for caregivers of seniors

1.
Try to spend as much time as possible with the elderly person you're caring for before, during, and after the holidays. The holiday season can be a lonely time for seniors, especially if they are living in a long-term care facility, and can bring back memories of family and friends who are no longer here.


2.
Involve your elderly parent in your plans for holiday festivities. For example, asking someone their opinion on the menu for Christmas dinner may seem trivial to you, but it could mean the world to a senior who may be feeling a bit neglected.


3.
Try creating a new holiday memory or tradition with them. Try to find senior-friendly activities in which they are easily able to participate, such as window shopping at the mall during an off-peak time, or visiting their old friends.


4.
If possible, suggest having a small holiday gathering of your parents' friends at your home or facility where they live. Make this a family activity by enlisting the help of other family members, especially any older children or teenagers, to help in the preparations, serving, and clean-up.


5.
Encourage the elders in your care to stay active with light exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. If 30 minutes is too much, try starting with five minutes of easy stretches or walking around the house, and gradually adding more minutes as they build up their stamina.


Find more holiday caregiving tips, expert advice and other excellent resources at Elizz.com.


A moment of silence for the tragic loss of eight elder patients in South West Ontario
The members of the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS) are shocked and saddened by the tragic news announcement today by the Ontario Provincial Police that a registered nurse is the subject of a homicide investigation involving the deaths of eight long term care home residents in Woodstock and London, Ontario.

We wish to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of James Silcox, Maurice Granat, Gladys Millard, Helen Matheson, Mary Zurawinski, Helen Young, Maureen Pickering, and Arpad Horvath.

While the homes involved are not OANHSS members, this is deeply distressing to all staff who work hard every day to provide safe and high quality care to the residents in Ontario's long term care homes.

Horrifying events of this nature must be examined carefully to inform the appropriate action necessary to guard against recurrence. OANHSS and its members are always committed to working with government and stakeholders to continuously improve resident care and safety.
While the police investigation is ongoing, OANHSS will comment no further on this matter.

OANHSS is the provincial association representing not-for-profit providers of long term care, services and housing for seniors. Members include not-for-profit long term care homes (municipal, charitable and non-profit nursing homes), seniors' housing, supportive housing, and community service agencies.

During SEIU Healthcare's 2016 Nursing Convention (October 24 - October 26, Scarborough, ON), a moment of silence was held in light of the tragic loss of eight elder patients in South West Ontario.

As investigations continue, "SEIU Healthcare encourages all the parties involved to fully cooperate with the investigation. Nothing is more important than the safety of all people in Ontario's Nursing Homes," stated Sharleen Stewart, President of SEIU Healthcare.
Don't Underestimate the Danger of Osteoporosis, Warns IOF
You’'ve spent a lifetime building your good name and the last thing you need is for your hard-earned retirement to be derailed because somebody has turned that good name to mud. Identity theft is an unfortunate fact of life in the 21st century; one exacerbated by the myriad of new ways data may be compromised.

While there are many perfectly legitimate reasons to share your personal information both in the real world and online, it’s important to remember there may be dangers lurking and seniors can be a prime target for fraud or theft.

November is National Community Safety and Crime Prevention month and this year, the Canada Safety Council and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada want to remind you to stay alert and on your guard when it comes to identity theft and online scams.

“Protecting your identity is a lot like preparing for a secure retirement. You do your homework, make sure safeguards are in place, revisit your decisions regularly and stay prudent,” says Privacy Commissioner of Canada Daniel Therrien.

“A secure identity is just like the funds you have put aside for your future.”

“Seniors represent one of Canada’s most vulnerable groups of society,” says Jack Smith, President of the Canada Safety Council.

“Unfortunately, this makes you a frequent target for fraud, theft and malicious activity. This reality makes it all the more crucial for you to take steps to safeguard your information and keep a close eye on what you are sharing.”

Just as you’ve researched your savings and investment options, you need to take stock of your privacy vulnerabilities.

Start with your pocketbook. Take an inventory of the personal information and cards that you carry. Leave items you don’t need somewhere secure, such as in a safety deposit box. This includes your birth certificate and Social Insurance Number, the latter of which is only needed for income reporting and should only be shared when absolutely necessary.

If asked for personal details to participate in a promotion, to return an item to a store or by a charity you’ve made a donation to, be sure to ask questions about the organization's privacy policies and how your information will be protected. Don’t let businesses make a copy of your ID unless it’s for a legitimate reason.

Here are a few other tips and tricks to keep your information safe from prying eyes:

•          Get acquainted with the devices you use, including smart phones, tablets and laptop computers. Find out how to use the safety features and how to disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when they’re not in use. Enable the password protection and lock features for an extra layer of safety.

•          Ensure that your mailbox has either a lock of a drop slot on it. Mail theft can lead to identity theft if there’s sensitive personal information in the stolen correspondence. Keep track of bills you’re expecting in the mail and don’t be afraid to call the companies issuing them if they don’t arrive on time.

•          Burn or destroy documents that contain personal information when they’re no longer needed.

•          Never give personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call and you trust the person on the other end.

•          Change your passwords regularly, avoiding easy-to-guess passwords like “12345” and “password.”

•          Use caution and judgement when opening emails. Malicious messages may contain viruses, financial scams or requests for personal information from people or institutions you don’t know. If something looks odd, don’t hesitate to ignore it.

•          Avoid transmitting any personal information when using public Wi-Fi (for example, at a coffee shop or an airport.)

It's also a good idea to educate yourself about Canada's privacy laws. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has numerous online resources that can help, or you can call the Information Centre toll-free at 1-800-282-1376.

Older Canadians are often admired for the good examples they set and they can be role models to their children and grandchildren—anybody, actually—by passing on what they learn about protecting personal data and following good habits.

You can access the non-condensed version of this news release on the Canada Safety Council’s website.
Don't Underestimate the Danger of Osteoporosis, Warns IOF
Today, on World Osteoporosis Day, the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) urges all adults to be alert to their risk for osteoporosis, a 'silent' disease which causes bones to become fragile and break easily.

People with osteoporosis can suffer broken bones as a result of a mere bump or fall from standing height. Worldwide, fractures due to osteoporosis occur in approximately one in three women and one in five men, aged 50 and over - with a fracture occurring every 3 seconds.

"The danger of osteoporotic fractures to quality of life and independence at older age cannot be overstated," warned IOF President John A. Kanis. Within a year of a hip fracture, 33% of patients remain dependent or require nursing home care, and up to 24% die. In women over the age of 45, osteoporotic fractures result in more days spent in hospital than many other diseases, including diabetes, heart attack and breast cancer.
Be alert to your personal risk factors!

A bone-healthy lifestyle lays the foundation for good bone health. This includes a calcium, protein and vitamin-rich diet, adequate vitamin D, regular weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercise, and avoidance of smoking or excessive alcohol intake.

Unfortunately, many osteoporosis risk factors are out of a person's control. These include a parental history of osteoporosis/fractures, and certain diseases or medications which damage bone health. For example, people with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coeliac or inflammatory bowel disease are at increased risk, as are people who take glucocorticoids, androgen deprivation therapy, or aromatase inhibitors.

The IOF One-Minute Osteoporosis Risk Test is an awareness tool which alerts you to possible risk factors. Your doctor may also carry out a FRAX® assessment to determine your 10-year risk of osteoporotic fracture.

Professor Kanis added: "If you have risk factors I urge you to ask for a bone-health check-up and to make any necessary lifestyle changes. If you are at high risk, you must consider appropriate treatment options for optimal protection against potentially devastating and life-threatening fractures."
Slip and Fall Prevention Key to Safer Senior Living
Think a slip or fall is a minor accident? While many people may slip or fall without serious injuries, over 18,000 Americans die annually from an everyday accident. The risks for severe injury or even death increase with age and musculoskeletal conditions like arthritis, traumatic injuries, osteoporosis, and spinal deformity.

To date, approximately 8,400,000 Americans receive long term care support, while an estimated 12,000,000 Americans need long term care. The care gap leaves many Americans, a majority of them senior citizens, vulnerable to slip and fall accidents.

In support of Bone and Joint Health National Awareness Week and to increase accident prevention awareness for seniors, Koffler Sales Company, a Chicago-area business specializing in wall and floor protection supplies, is donating $1 from every sale during the month of October to benefit Advocate Lutheran General Hospital.
  "As a part of our Bone and Joint Health National Awareness Week recognition, Koffler Sales has chosen to donate a portion of our sales to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital," said Ron Starr, President, Koffler Sales Company. "We believe Lutheran General is an exemplary leader in patient safety and we are honored to have an opportunity to support its efforts to become one of our nation's premier zero-falls hospital."

Koffler Sales Company recommends a variety of safety recommendations for better accident prevention in senior living and long term care facilities, or even do-it-yourself improvements that can be installed at home.

Slip and Fall Prevention Tips from Koffler Sales:

Install handrails and grab bars in slippery areas, like bathrooms. For at-risk residents in a long term care facility, or those who are living independently, placing handrails and grab bars between the sleeping and bathroom area can greatly reduce slips and falls.

Smooth transition edging is a type of floor trim that ensures a seamless transition between two types of flooring. It is inexpensive and easy to install and can help people from losing their balance as they walk from one surface to the next. Smooth transition edging also makes mobility easier for people in wheelchairs or those with rolling medical equipment.

Grip tape can be used anywhere one needs extra traction, from bathtubs and showers to stair treads. Koffler Sales offers a wide selection of grip tapes that can be used inside or outside, and in a variety of colors and sizes. Consider installing glow-in-the-dark grip tape for areas that are trafficked in the dark to help prevent falls.

With a few quick installations of new safety features, long term caregivers and consumers can proactively increase underfoot safety and prevent slip and fall accidents. To learn more about how Koffler Sales Company can help senior living and long term care facilities can improve residents' quality of life while remaining cost-effective, please call (888) 355-6287.
Immigration Will Help Alleviate Canada's Aging Population Challenges, But Not Solve Them
OTTAWA, Oct. 06, 2016 /CNW/ - Higher immigration levels can help soften the effects of an aging population on the Canadian economy. However, population growth alone will not completely offset the effects of aging demographics, according to a new Conference Board of Canada report released today.

"Immigration provides an important source of labour and helps Canada generate stronger long-term economic growth. However, increasing immigration alone will not reverse Canada's aging trend," said Matthew Stewart, Associate Director, National Forecast, The Conference Board of Canada. "In order to fully address the significant cost strains on the Canadian system from an aging population, policy makers must also consider other solutions."

The share of Canada's population aged 65 and over is expected to reach over 24 per cent over the next 20 years.

Increased immigration levels would help boost Canada's labour force and generate stronger long-term economic growth.
  But, higher immigration levels only soften the cost strains on the Canadian system, implying that Canada needs to consider other solutions to fully address the impact of an aging population.

Currently, Canadians aged 65 and over make up about 16 per cent of Canada's total population. Over the next 20 years, this figure will continue to rise to over 24 per cent. As baby boomers leave the workforce, Canada's labour supply growth will be limited and economic growth will be constrained. All else being equal, this will result in economic growth slowing from the already modest current trend of 2 per cent to around 1.6 per cent by 2050.

In addition to the impact on the labour market, an aging population will also put a major strain on health care and Canada's retirement income support systems. Without significant changes to how health care is delivered in Canada over the next 20 to 30 years, the share of government revenues directed to health care is expected to rise from 37 per cent today to 44 per cent. With the provinces already struggling with large deficits, this added burden would be unsustainable.

The report, A Long-Term View of Canada's Demographics: Is Higher Migration Part of the Response to Canada's Aging Population?, finds that if immigration levels were to increase steadily to reach 407,000 immigrants per year by 2030 and we were to target younger immigrants, Canada's trend pace of economic growth would improve to 2.3 per cent by 2050 from its current trajectory of below 2 per cent. However, the proportion of the Canadian population aged 65 and over would still rise to about 20 per cent. The share of provincial government revenue spent on health care would remain at or close to the 44 per cent mark. Some improvements in the share of provincial revenues required to fund health care would be realized, but not until 2060. In the meantime, spending on Old Age Security (OAS) would drop from 12 per cent to below 10 per cent.

A Long-Term View of Canada's Demographics: Is Higher Migration Part of the Response to Canada's Aging Population was funded by the Century Initiative and is publically available from our e-Library.
Bucket list versus inheritance? Canadian seniors pick wish list
TORONTO, Sept. 28, 2016 /CNW/ - When it comes to bucket list versus inheritance, Canadian seniors have spoken: 86% are unwilling to forgo doing, achieving or acquiring something in order to provide a larger inheritance to their adult children.

That's according to the results of an August, 2016 Seniors' Views of Inheritance study conducted by HomEquity Bank and Ipsos Canada.

"Seniors are not feeling pressured about leaving an inheritance," explains Yvonne Ziomecki, SVP, HomEquity Bank. "They're very comfortable with wanting to enjoy their retirement. And, with the majority of our clients, they know there will still be an inheritance that will go to their children. In fact, on average, our clients have more than 50% of the equity left in their homes at the time of sale."

According to the Canadian government's Office of Consumer Affairs, spending by senior husband-wife households (typically without children at home) grew the fastest from 1997 to 2002, increasing at an average annual rate of 4.7 percent.
Here, below, are the key findings of the Seniors' Views of Inheritance study:

86% of Canadians aged 55+ would not give up doing, achieving or acquiring something in order for their children to receive a larger inheritance

62% of Canadians aged 55+ are not very concerned about ensuring there is an inheritance left for their children after they have supported their own needs and wants. Older Canadians aged 65+ feel even more strongly, with 71% stating they are not very concerned about leaving an inheritance

19% of Canadians aged 55+ still have a child who depends on them financially; and, statistics show this is more prevalent for those with a post-secondary (26%) or University education (24%)
"Canadian seniors are willing to tap into the equity of their home to help finance their lifestyle. They've watched the value of their home increase dramatically and they are accessing this equity to enhance their golden years," adds Ms. Ziomecki.

The Seniors' Views of Inheritance poll was conducted by Ipsos Canada from August 22-24, 2016 on behalf of HomEquity Bank. A sample of 750 Canadians aged 55+ who have any children (including adult children) self-completed surveys online. The results are weighted to balance demographics to ensure the sample's composition reflects that of the age 55+ population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±4.1 percentage points had all Canadian adults age 55+ with any children been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to, coverage error, and measurement error.

HomEquity Bank, the only Canadian bank working exclusively with seniors, helps elderly people remain in their homes through its CHIP reverse mortgage solution www.chip.ca. Seniors can supplement their income via reverse mortgage monthly or lump sum payments.


 City of Toronto increases access to dental care for low-income adults and seniors through Poverty Reduction Strategy 
 

Mayor John Tory and Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell (Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale) today announced expanded emergency dental services access in all City of Toronto dental clinics for low-income adults and seniors. This partnership provides Ontario Works clients seeking emergency dental services access to 18 additional Toronto Public Health dental clinics, an increase from the five provincially funded Toronto Public Health clinics offering this service last year.

This increase is a result of Toronto Public Health (TPH) and Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS) working together to improve the level of dental services for adults and seniors receiving Ontario Works as part of the Poverty Reduction Strategy. Thanks to this initiative, there has been a 60 percent increase in the number of Ontario Works clients accessing dental services and an improved level of available dental care.

"By making this investment we are providing dental care to the people who need it most. This program will dramatically increase the quality of life for seniors and adults by reducing dental diseases and promoting healthy dental care,” said Mayor Tory. “Initiatives like these showcase how innovative partnerships can improve the lives of vulnerable residents in our city. This is one of the many proactive steps we are taking to move Toronto's Poverty Reduction Strategy forward." 

This dental care initiative is part of the City’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. In the 2016 budget, the City invested over $100 million to fight poverty and help our most vulnerable residents. Poverty reduction initiatives include providing student nutrition programs for children, expanding homemaker and nurses programs for seniors in long-term care, keeping libraries open longer on the weekends, and providing young people and single parents access to good jobs. 

The first phase of implementing the Poverty Reduction Strategy's recommendations, as of May 2016, resulted in all adult recipients receiving Ontario Works to have the additional option of being treated for emergency dental care at any of Toronto Public Health's 23 dental clinics.

During the period of January 1 to June 30, 2015, 468 Ontario Works adult clients accessed dental treatment in the five provincially funded, TPH-managed dental clinics. In comparison, that same time period in 2016 resulted in 768 Ontario Works adult clients accessing dental treatment in the 23 available TPH dental clinics. 

"The expansion of emergency dental services for Ontario Works recipients marks an important milestone in the implementation of the Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy," said Deputy Mayor McConnell. "I am so pleased that Toronto Employment and Social Services and Toronto Public Health have collaborated on this initiative to improve health outcomes and employment opportunities for Torontonians who are living in poverty."

"Dental cavities and tooth decay can cause pain, infection, and lead to further gum, mouth and health problems. They can also impair important functions to our well-being such as eating, drinking and speaking," said Dr. Howard Shapiro, Toronto's Acting Medical Officer of Health. "Improving access to oral and dental health services in Toronto is an important part in reducing poor health outcomes and diseases for low-income residents."

Toronto Public Health now offers eligible residents free and low-cost dental services, including:
• non-emergency and emergency dental care services offered in 23 clinics across the city to eligible children and youth up to age 18, parents enrolled in Toronto Public Health's perinatal or parenting programs, and low-income seniors (65 years+)
• working with community health centres, agencies and dentists to ensure treatment and services are available to vulnerable populations and low-income residents, and
• the mobile dental clinic, which provides dental services throughout the city for eligible patients who are socially marginalized.

More information about City of Toronto dental services is available at http://bit.ly/1Qu3Ic0.

More information about the City of Toronto's Poverty Reduction Strategy is available at http://bit.ly/1HLCL2A.

The Poverty Reduction Strategy is known as TO Prosperity. Through this 20-year plan, Toronto is addressing issues, creating solutions and driving systemic change in an effort to create a city where everyone has access to good jobs, adequate income, stable housing, affordable transportation, nutritious food and supportive services. Visit http://www.toronto.ca/toprosperity to see how the City is working toward that vision.
Loss of independence, greatest aging fear
CARP is urging Canadians and government to understand the severe consequences of the flu to help seniors maintain independence

The Canadian Association for Retired Persons (CARP) recently released their findings from the CARP Health Survey Poll™ on healthy aging and the effects influenza (flu) can have on seniors. With almost 10,000 Canadian respondents, the survey results highlighted seniors' misconceptions about the flu's impact and almost half of respondents said their biggest fear of aging was loss of independence.1

The survey, which was done in partnership with Sanofi Pasteur, revealed that 93 per cent of respondents believe it's possible for seniors to stay healthy all year round.1 However, seniors are at high-risk for the most severe consequences of flu including hospitalization and death.2 It is estimated that up to 91 per cent of flu-related deaths occur in those 65 years of age and older.3

"There is a lot of education that needs to happen when it comes to the flu and its realities for many seniors, such as understanding that the flu can exacerbate a pre-existing condition," says Anthony Quinn, Director of Operations at CARP. "Our CARP Health Survey Poll™ provides an opportunity to understand our members' perception of flu, to raise awareness on the impact of flu on our aging population and newer prevention options to ensure seniors can stay active and live independently as long as possible."

Over two thirds of survey respondents are unaware that people over the age of 65 generally have weakened immune systems and are at a higher risk of developing flu related complications.1,4 Further, it's not widely known that seniors are at risk of functional decline as a result of flu, with the potential for significant decline in independence and mobility.5

"Reducing the rates of the flu in this population is a key public health priority," says Dr. Janet McElhaney, specialist in seniors' health, Scientific Director of the Health Sciences North Research Institute in Sudbury, Ontario and holder of the HSN Volunteer Association Chair in Healthy Aging. "Today, there is a new high dose flu vaccine which has been demonstrated to provide a better immune response in adults 65 and older, which helps improve protection against the flu greater than regular flu vaccines."

Survey results indicated that almost 70 per cent of respondents would request such a flu vaccine from their doctor or pharmacist to reduce their risk of getting the flu.1

CARP and Sanofi Pasteur would like to ensure that seniors are provided with the knowledge and resources to help protect themselves against the flu.

Through their partnership they have released the results from the CARP Health Survey Poll™ and CARP has developed the Faces of Flu awareness video. This video illustrates the first-hand impact the flu can have on seniors. Highlighting stories from individuals directly affected by the flu, viewers can get a better understanding of the dangers and risk associated with this debilitating virus.

Anthony Quinn of CARP is urging the Canadian government to make seniors' health a priority.

"Governments need to support immunization options that help adults over 65 years of age to stay as healthy as possible," says Anthony Quinn. "We should strive to improve healthcare for the aging population and ensure this new flu vaccine developed for seniors is publicly funded."

To view the Faces of Flu awareness video and/or for information about how you can do your part to help ensure this new flu vaccine is publicly funded, visit www.CARP.ca.

About CARP
CARP is Canada's largest national non-profit, non-partisan organization whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for Canadians As We Age. CARP has over 300,000 members, a network of 60 chapters across Canada, and is on a "March to a Million" membership campaign. Most CARP members also receive 9 issues of ZOOMER magazine. For more info, please visit www.carp.ca.

About Sanofi
Sanofi, a global healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients' needs. Sanofi has core strengths in diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, consumer healthcare, emerging markets, animal health and Genzyme. Sanofi is listed in Paris ((EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, provides more than 1 billion doses of vaccine each year, making it possible to immunize more than 500 million people across the globe. A world leader in the vaccine industry, Sanofi Pasteur offers a broad range of vaccines protecting against 20 infectious diseases. The company's heritage, to create vaccines that protect life, dates back more than a century. Sanofi Pasteur is the largest company entirely dedicated to vaccines. Every day, the company invests more than EUR 1 million in research and development. For more information, please visit: www.sanofipasteur.com or www.sanofipasteur.ca.

References:
_________________________________
1 Canadian Association of Retired Persons. Important Survey on Seniors' Health. May 2016. Survey results on file.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What You Should Know and Do this Flu Season If You Are 65 Years and Older. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/65over.htm. Accessed May 2016.
3 Public Health Agency of Canada. FluWatch Report: August 16 to August 29, 2015 (Weeks 33 & 34). http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2015/aspc-phac/HP58-1-2015-34-eng.pdf. Accessed May 2016.
4 Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. People at High Risk of Developing Flu Related Complications. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm. Accessed May 2016.
5 Barker et al. A study of the impact of influenza on the functional status of frail older people. Arch Intern Med. 1998 Mar 23;158(6):645-50.
 

Taking action to reduce social isolation among seniors in Hamilton

"With the rising population of seniors in Canada, our government understands the importance of creating awareness and supporting seniors who are, or who may be, at-risk of becoming socially isolated. By joining forces with organizations and partners, we can put systems and services in place to reduce and prevent seniors' social isolation. I believe that these new projects will have a positive impact in the lives of those who need it most."     
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
A new collaborative initiative is being launched in Hamilton to help prevent and reduce social isolation among seniors. The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, along with Filomena Tassi, Member of Parliament for Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas, and Bob Bratina, Member of Parliament for Hamilton East–Stoney Creek, made the announcement while visiting AbleLiving today.

Seven organizations are collaborating through their individual projects to attain measurable results under the Hamilton Seniors Isolation Population Impact Plan. Their goal is initially to target neighbourhoods where the risk of social isolation among seniors is greatest. Most at-risk seniors are those who live alone, have disabilities or poor health, have low income, have language barriers or have reduced access to services. More than $2 million in federal funding is being invested in these projects through the New Horizons for Seniors Program.

Focus groups and interviews with local seniors and service providers will lead to the creation of a city-wide plan to address the issue. A one-day conference will start work on raising awareness and changing the public's attitude towards seniors facing social isolation in Hamilton. As well, an interactive referral system will be created to link all 110 Hamilton community support service agencies; training will also be available for volunteers and service providers using this system.
Quick Facts

  • Employment and Social Development Canada received over 200 project proposals through the 2015–2016 NHSP Call for Proposals for Pan-Canadian Projects, which was open from May 29 to July 10, 2015.

  • Since 2004, the NHSP has funded close to 17,800 projects in hundreds of communities across Canada, with a total Government of Canada investment of more than $360 million.
 
Steve Sherrer, Chief Executive Officer, ThriveGroup and AbleLiving said, "As community organizations, we know how crucial the need is to support our rising population of seniors.  Through the New Horizons for Seniors Program we will be able reduce seniors' social isolation in the City of Hamilton. This impact plan truly is a combined effort by many community leaders and organizations, and we are all excited to be able to come together to work on our objectives to buildHamilton's capacity to identify, reach and connect isolated seniors and prevent isolation in future."

Specifically for the benefit of seniors, a Care Connector program available through Hamilton hospitals will assist seniors transitioning from hospital to home and their community. Connectors will follow up with patients and link them to available resources until they are anchored into community services. Similar projects will recruit volunteer Connectors to identify isolated seniors and engage them in physical and social activities in their communities. Connectors will complete needs assessments and develop action plans for each senior who needs help, and will provide support.

The Hamilton Impact Plan includes the following partners: AbleLiving, St. Joseph's Home Care, Hamilton YWCA, Thrive Group Support Services, Wesley Urban Ministries, Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging at McMaster University, and Hamilton Council on Aging.
Ageism Widespread in Canada, Limiting Independence and Choice for Older Adults
   Ageism is the most tolerated form of social prejudice in Canada compared to racism and sexism, and many well-intentioned Canadians are, in fact, depriving their elders of the independence and choice that are crucial to aging well. These are among the findings of the Revera Report on Ageism: Independence and Choice As We Age, released today by Revera and the Sheridan Centre for Elder Research. The report accompanies the launch of the Revera Innovators In Aging program, a $20 million commitment by Revera to bring promising innovations to life that help seniors maintain their independence.

"Ageism is the next great social issue that demands our attention, and together, individuals, organizations and governments need to take action," said Thomas Wellner, President and CEO of Revera. "In addition to conducting research on ageism and raising awareness of this issue through our Age is More initiative, Revera is committing $20 million to fund entrepreneurs who have developed innovative new products and services that will enhance the aging experience and help seniors live life to the fullest."

Ageism: A Widespread Problem

According to the report, more than four in ten Canadians (42 per cent) feel ageism is the most tolerated form of social prejudice; more than double that of racism (20 per cent) and sexism (17 per cent). Additionally:

Fully one in four (25 per cent) Canadians – from Gen Y to Boomers — admit they have treated someone differently because of their age.
More than half (51 per cent) of Canadians ages 77+ report that others assume they can't do things for themselves.
One in four (26%) respondents 77+ report that, because of their age, people make choices for them without asking their preference.
The Importance of Independence: A Perception Gap

Canadians strongly agree that independence is important, but younger adults have a blind spot when it comes to older Canadians:

Almost 100 per cent of Canadians, in every age cohort, agree that maintaining independence is important to them personally.
However, younger adults (ages 20-34) are more than five times as likely (21 per cent) to say that independence is not important to those 75+ than those who are near or at that age themselves
"Ageism is getting old! Every person, young or old, can live life with purpose," says 95-year-old former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, now Chief Elder Officer at Revera and Chancellor of Sheridan College. "This purpose doesn't end when you get older; society must recognize that older people can and want to continue to make a contribution, and this begins with tackling ageism."

Making Decisions for Others: Helpful or Hurtful?

The report finds that in many cases, well-intentioned efforts to help by family and friends may be hindering older adults from maintaining the independence they want. For example:

Canadians use words like "helpful" (32 per cent) and "responsible" (26 per cent) to describe the way they feel when they make decisions on behalf of another adult in their lives. Conversely, those 77+ say they feel "controlled" (28 per cent) and "annoyed" when choices are made for them.
"Taking immediate steps to address and reverse negative stereotypes and assumptions about older adults is something all Canadians can do, and the positive outcomes are well documented," said Pat Spadafora, Director, Sheridan Centre for Elder Research. "Every social movement begins with awareness, and we are confident that the Revera Report on Ageism will also inspire action."

Recommendations

The Revera Report on Ageism includes a number of key recommendations, among them:

For non-seniors: Avoid making assumptions about what older adults want or can do. More than half of Canadians ages 77+ feel others assume they can't do things for themselves. By removing this prejudice and allowing older adults to try things themselves, they will feel less frustrated and more independent. Support can always be offered, but should not be automatically delivered. It is also important to recognize your own stereotypes and prejudices about aging, and how that might be perceived by others.
For seniors: Don't let yourself be defined by a number. By not accepting self-limiting beliefs and unintentionally contributing to outdated age-based stereotypes, you can help others to remember that you are not defined by your age.
For policy makers: Ensure consultation on public policy permanently includes the voice of older Canadians. Older Canadians of all ages, including those 75+, should always be at the table when discussion takes place to ensure their needs and wants are addressed. Consider health care service delivery options that allow the end user to have more choice in how their care is delivered.
For organizations: Invest in innovation that will support older people's desire for independence as they age. Independent-minded seniors represent a large opportunity for innovative product and service providers that should not be overlooked. Recognize older adults as their own consumer market with diverse needs and interests.
Revera Innovators in Aging

Revera is earmarking $20 million to invest in some of the companies that participate in the Revera Innovators in Aging program, focusing on innovations expected to bring the most benefit to older adults, families and staff. Through this program, entrepreneurs will partner with staff and residents in Revera's retirement communities and long term care homes to test and evaluate new innovations designed to improve quality of life, enhance independence and choice, and help people age well.

Revera Report on Ageism: Independence and Choice As We Age

The report is based on a survey of over 2,400 respondents in Canada, including a robust sample of almost 600 people ages 77+. The complete report, including all of the recommendations and the survey methodology, may be accessed at AgeIsMore.com. Also available on the site are videos of older adults talking about independence and choice, an infographic of the survey findings, the Revera Report on Ageism (2012), and an opportunity to take the "Are You Age Aware" self-assessment test.

About Revera Inc.

Revera is a leading owner, operator and investor in the senior living sector. Through its portfolio of partnerships, Revera owns or operates more than 500 properties across Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, serving more than 50,000 seniors. The company offers seniors' apartments, independent living, assisted living, memory care, and long term care. With approximately 45,000 employees dedicated to providing exceptional care and service, Revera is helping seniors live life to the fullest. Through Age is More, Revera is committed to challenging ageism, the company's social cause of choice. Find out more at ReveraLiving.com, Facebook.com/ReveraInc or on Twitter @Revera_Inc.

About the Sheridan Centre for Elder Research

The Sheridan Centre for Elder Research is an organization that develops innovative approaches and creative interdisciplinary partnerships that focus on enhancing the lives of older Canadians. The Centre does this by providing a unique environment for conducting applied research into areas of practical concern and immediate relevance to older adults and their families. The Centre for Elder Research was launched in 2003 at the Oakville, Ontario campus of Sheridan College. The Centre has an established track record in applied research and a reputation as a leader that challenges traditional thinking, creating possibilities that transcend historical boundaries.
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More Support For Alzheimer's Patients Who Wander Away Coming To Ontario

The Finding Your Way program is a multicultural safety campaign that helps people with dementia stay safe and active, while helping to prevent the risk of wandering and going missing. The program's training services will be enhanced this year to include first-responders as well as supportive housing and retirement homes staff. The funding will help launch an enhanced website, educate the public with new eLearning seminars and town halls, distribute 20,000 new brochures and increase volunteer recruitment activities on campuses and in the private sector. The Finding Your Way program safety kit is available in 12 languages: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, Cantonese, Mandarin, Punjabi, Tagalog, Arabic, Urdu and Tamil.
In March the Government of Ontario announced that it was investing $761,500 in the Alzheimer Society of Ontario's Finding Your Way program to help improve training and reach more people who come into contact with persons affected by dementia. Altogether Ontario has invested more than $2.8 million in funding to the Finding Your Way program.

Considering that by 2020 it is expected that almost 250,000 seniors in the province will be living with some form of dementia this is a positive step in the right direction.

Wandering away from home is a real issue for those who live with dementia. Three out of five people with dementia go missing. There is greater risk of injury, even death, for those missing for more than 24 hours. Every day Toronto's 9-1-1 desks handle 5 to 7 calls about missing people with dementia. While most are found in a few hours those who are lost can be found too late. When weather conditions are risky there are often tragic results.

Chris Dennis, CEO for Alzheimer Society of Ontario, said, "“This program is the result of an extraordinary network of committed people. This year, since we know that 95 per cent of missing incidents happen with seniors who still live at home, the expansion into educating community workers who have direct contact with people with dementia, their families and caregivers makes sense. We appreciate the support of the Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat and First Responder groups to help us develop materials that will educate Emergency Service Workers, retirement home and supportive housing staff about the risks of going missing for people with dementia and how to respond to missing incidents when they do occur.”
Reading Glasses Make Some Canadians Feel Old, According to Survey
Twenty-six per cent of Canadians believe reading glasses make them feel old, according to a recent survey by Leger.

Fifty per cent of surveyed Canadians who wear reading glasses or contact lenses said they would feel helpless without their reading glasses, and were asked what they would sacrifice if it meant total freedom from them. Interestingly, 25% of Canadians who wear reading glasses or contacts would be ready to spend an extra 30 minutes on their daily commute. Twenty-one per cent would agree to pack on five more pounds if it meant they could discard their reading glasses. People rely on their reading glasses most when shopping, with more than two-thirds needing them to read the fine print on products.  >> Read more
Aging and New Age Thoughts: A Conversation With Ian Brown
Regrets? For journalist Ian Brown there are a few but not for the big things. Ian regrets the book not read, should he read three long classics or just the one he knows he will enjoy, does he have enough time to finish?

Face to face Brown is the kind of man you just want to be friends with; smart, funny, educated and able to hold his own in a conversation. His takes on life have you laughing and thinking at the same time just as they do in his recent memoir 'Sixty,' shortlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize.

In Sixty Ian kept a journal of his 60th year with a touching honesty that left no wart untouched. Baring his soul was powerful and in many ways liberating for him giving him an outlet to vent all of his emotions of a mentally challenging year. Putting words to paper is what writers do but baring your soul can be like walking into a minefield.

Catching a bite at Fresh and Wild during a lunch time interview Ian Brown is reflective of his life with biting humour. There's something about looking into the mirror feeling like a young man and being shocked that the image staring back at you is old. The mirror tells only one side of the story, Ian rounds that story out with his personal observations.

Chatting as Ian fueled up for a busy end of the week and beginning of whirlwind events for the RBC Taylor Prize (Sixty is a finalist) we touched on those unspoken topics that come with getting a little longer in the tooth like forgetting your keys or using hair gel as facial cleanser.

One of the issues we face as we get older is that our parents are aging at the same time. After his mother died Ian was able to build a stronger relationship with his father. While some may find caring for a parent when their bodies begin to fail Ian is grateful for those moments where father and son grew closer. In thoughtful reflection Ian mused that the act of cleaning up his father as he grew frailer left him feeling like time had reversed but those moments were some of the most touching memories that he has.

More aware of fitness Ian admits he starts his day off with 'boring' exercise with a sheepish grin. It's a way to beat back the clock and stay young. Ian talks about how we are always aging, our brains lose cells early on, our bones get dusty by the time we hit 40- but the process doesn't catch up to us mentally until later. Then out of the blue one day we see this old person in the mirror and realize that those things we wanted to do but put off for later just might not ever get done.     

As he ages Ian is less likely to keep his thoughts to himself, poking fun at the little changes in daily life as he ages. At times he starts off with saying that his ideas may be a might New Age, but his thoughts are what others internalize and don't have the courage to say out loud. His honesty is refreshing in a world that glorifies youth making the feat of getting older (and looking older) almost a criminal offense.

Don't worry though that Ian is going to become a grouchy old man. Any one who has a bio of Dylan on his work desk isn't going down for the count any time soon. He has more stories to get out for the Globe & Mail. And that's a good thing for us all! 
Ian Brown
 

ACTIVE LIFESTYLES

Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area
Sunshine Centres for Seniors
 Ontario Senior Games
Volunteers are the heart and soul of Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area. Join the 10,000 volunteers who contribute over 100,000 hours each year to supporting Habitat for Humanity GTA! Whether you're an individual, corporate team, community group, a small group of friends, with skilled experience or not, there are many different ways for you to volunteer.

What makes Sunshine Centres so special? It might be a ray of sunshine dappling over our programs, or our welcoming atmosphere where seniors from all walks of life find friends and community. Whether you call it a seniors’ social, recreational and health promotion program; a multicultural and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender friendly atmosphere; or a fun place to volunteer – it’s always a great place to be!
The OSGA 55+ mission is to provide older adults (55+) in Ontario with an opportunity to:

increase their social interaction with others,
increase their physical and mental well-being,
maintain and enhance their psychological and physiological well-being through participation in recreational activities and sports.