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Tuesday, December 05, 2017

New Action Plan Offers One-stop Websites and Information Lines to Help Seniors Better Connect with Health Care Services and Support

December 5th, 2017 -- Rita has high blood pressure, an overactive thyroid, and heart disease. She also finds it difficult to get around at times. Despite her ailments, she is a very independent 74-year-old. She lives at home in Northeastern Ontario and wants to remain there, but she needs support. Rita is one of two million seniors in Ontario looking to make their own choices when it comes to their care, independence, and access to services.

On November 7, the Government of Ontario announced Aging with Confidence: Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors. The plan focuses on helping seniors, like Rita, live independently for as long as possible, and stay connected through social, recreational, and volunteer activities. The plan also highlights the important role that Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) have in harnessing their local expertise, and engaging with patients and partners to plan, coordinate, and deliver health care in communities.

The North East Local Health Integration Network (NE LHIN) is helping to ensure seniors are able to access the support they need – at every stage of their life. A brand new one-stop website, created as part of the action plan will help seniors find information about tax credits, drug coverage, powers of attorney, recreation programs, and more. It can be accessed here: www.ontario.ca/page/information-seniors.

The NE LHIN also supports a website that provides up-to-date online information about health services available to Northerners, www.northeasthealthline.ca helps people connect with services they need to stay healthy and independent at home – services like meal delivery, transportation, adult day programs, assistive devices, palliative care, and caregiver respite. All the information contained in Healthline can also be found on the new one-stop website.
Seniors can also call the North East LHIN’s patient information line, 310-2222 – or speak with someone at 1-888-910-1999 TTY: 1-800-387-5559 to get information over the phone in more than 150 languages.

“Each of these resources are helping seniors and others to learn more about available health care programs and services,’ said Kate Fyfe, Interim CEO, North East LHIN. “These resources also show people where they can go for social activities and how they can get around in their community. It helps them to stay connected and engaged, which ensures they enjoy a high quality of life.”

One example of the services seniors can find through these resources: close to 300 free exercise classes, offered in communities across Northeastern Ontario to help older adults prevent falls. They’re part of a falls prevention strategy, Stay On Your Feet (SOYF), developed through a partnership with the NE LHIN, five public health units, and other partners.

These resources are intended to better help seniors in the Northeast stay independent, healthy, and active by helping to increase awareness of what’s available to them in their communities.

FACTS:
• www.northeasthealthline.ca has an average of 28,000 users each month.
• About 70 per cent of seniors go online every day.
• Older adults make up Ontario’s fastest-growing age group. There are now more people in Ontario 65 or older than under 15.
• Almost half of seniors are worried about being alone. Social isolation is a risk factor for an array of negative outcomes among older people, including elder abuse, a higher risk of falls, hospitalization, and depression.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
• Aging with Confidence: Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors
• Guide to programs and services for seniors
• Find a long-term care home
• Where to get the flu shot
• New one-stop website for seniors
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Link to connect.northeasthealthline.ca