Aging Issues

Frequently Asked Questions

Aging and Developmental Disabilities

This document is meant to be used as a tool for Christian Horizons staff, as well as community members looking for information on aging. Some of the information such as who to contact will not be relevant to community members.

It will answer the following questions: 

FAQ Index:

What CH is Doing

Long Term Goals

Needs Within West District

Future Trends

Transition Guide

OPADD Resources

ODSP Eligibility

Where to Get Resources

More notes on LTC

Supports Available


Click here to view in PDF format for easy printing.

What is Christian Horizons doing about the people supported who are aging?

Long Term Goals

Christian Horizons Ontario Vision 2012 Strategic Plan clearly outlines Enhancing Senior Services as one of its Strategic Initiatives. Some of the activities undertaken to date to realize this initiative include membership with organizations such as OPADD (Ontario Partnership on Aging and Developmental Disabilities) and local aging working groups and committees, as well as participation in trainings, workshops and educational seminars available across the province. In addition, a provincial working group was formed “to explore and articulate models, philosophy, approaches for seniors’ services and metrics of success and to provide ongoing advice and consultation.” The suggestions, links and steps below fit with Christian Horizons Personal Planning Process.

Aging Needs within the West District

Across the province, staff members actively participate in local and provincial committees addressing aging in people with developmental disabilities. Staff members have and continue to participate in organizing workshops, symposiums, focus groups and other educational events to learn and inform others on aging issues. In addition, a number of tools have been created in conjunction with these committees to assist with supporting people supported by CH as they age. Resources such as a binder have been created with numerous resources, tools and contacts for meeting aging needs within our communities.

Snap Shot of Statistics From One of Our District (2010) - Christian Horizons West District supported three hundred and twenty (320) people. Of these 320 people, the most common age of people supported falls in the age range of forty-five to fifty-four (45 - 54) years of age There are 74 people supported between the ages of forty-five and fifty-four, 35 people between the ages of fifty-five and sixty-four, 17 people between the ages of sixty-five and seventy-four and 3 people over seventy-five.

Anticipated Future Trends and Facts

One of the most common struggles within the programs supporting people over 45 years is the need for increased staffing to provide adequate support to meet the changing health needs. Despite the fact that every effort is made to provide for the needs of people supported as they age, the developmental services sector and the health and LTC sector both face system constraints and fragmented business processes that lead to unmet needs among aging and ailing seniors with developmental disabilities. In addition, each area across the province and even within a district have fragmented understandings between the ministry of community and social services and the local agencies supporting people with Developmental Disabilities and LTC health supports such as CCAC and LTC residential providers. 

Some people believe that moving people with Developmental Disabilities into long term care residences equals re-institutionalization. The biggest concern seems to be the fear that the person will lose the ability to maintain their quality of life while adapting to the aging process. We need to work together to make sure this doesn’t happen for the people we support.  We need to educate the ministry, CCAC and the long-term homes about the needs of people with Developmental Disabilities and sometimes the need for our staff to remain involved in their lives after a move. In addition, just because a person moves into LTC does not mean that CH staff are not involved in their lives anymore if it is appropriate and desired by the person.

Each person entering the aging process should complete or have assistance completing the Transition Guide available online at www.opadd.on.ca

This website offers a number of resources and information sharing processes on their website.  Included is the Transition Plan. This plan was created for caregivers to complete with/for a person who is beginning to show signs of aging with an increase in needs. It enables the caregiver, as well as professionals involved in a person’s life, to determine the current situation and plan for supports as they continue to age. If the person is considering LTC as an option, this tool will help you prepare for CCAC intake. It will enable you to have the answers CCAC is looking for. Remember, it is your place to educate the CCAC staff on this person’s needs and strengths.

Other Resources OPADD offers:

Changes to ODSP eligibility as People Age

When a person turns 60, they are eligible to receive Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). This must be renewed each year and completing an income tax return does this. When a person turns 65, they are eligible to receive Old Age Security (OAS) pension.  They must have lived in Canada for at least 10 years to be eligible. Go to http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/oas-cpp/index.shtml to apply. Please note that you can receive maximum $723.65 per month GIS so it is best to wait until the person turns 65 to apply for both OAS and GIS. Maximum amount for OAS is $533.70. (Rates as of August 2011)

Where can I go with individual questions or the need for resources or direction for the people we support?

When staff is supporting a person who is facing new challenges due to aging, they need to realize that they do not have to solve the current issues alone. There are similar issues and struggles across the province and sometimes touching base with the right person can solve our problem or lead us in the direction we need to go to find the solutions to meet that persons needs. The following steps should be considered:

You need to seriously consider what is best for each person at this later stage in his or her life. Christian Horizons has historically planned to support people from cradle to grave. For some people, this may not be possible, for many others, this can still happen. It is important to keep in contact and build the relationships with people from CCAC and LTC to stay informed and aware for the people in our care.

Further notes on LTC:

Be aware that there is a strong push within the local health networks for people to age at home. This includes people supported by the DSS, whether they are in group homes, family homes or semi-independent living arrangements. The concept of aging-in-place means remaining in one’s home regardless of age, income or ability level for as long as possible. There are initiatives underway for communities to develop innovative services that enable this to happen. Each community is unique and some communities are further along then others. If you are pursuing LTC for someone supported by CH, please contact your CDM for tips, techniques and things to be aware of.

What supports are available in the community?

One of your main sources of support within the community is the Community Care Access Centre. They can be reached at 310-CCAC (310-2222) or you could go to their website at http://www.ccac-ont.ca/ . Wherever you are located, it is easy to find the in-home community-based health care services. Search www.310CAC.ca.  They can offer care in the home. Their goal is to help people remain in their homes as long as possible. This includes people supported within community agencies who are aging and facing health related problems. “Each CCAC is staffed by caring and knowledgeable professionals who will assess your needs, determine your requirements for care, answer your questions and develop a customized care plan that meets your individual needs. Then, if services are provided to you by your CCAC, we’ll arrange for quality health-care professionals – nurses, physiotherapists, social workers, registered dietitians, occupational therapists, speech therapist and personal support workers – to provide a range of care and supportive services to help support you at home and help you enjoy the best possible quality of life.” (Taken from website)

Social Planning Councils in most communities can hook you up with the supports you are seeking within your community. For Kitchener Waterloo, phone 519-579-1096 or email spckw@waterlooregion.org. For Hamilton Niagara, contact (905) 522-1148. For Halton, contact (905)632-1975. For Peel, contact (905) 629-3044.

There are often other supports in each community that are available to people who are aging. Some examples include: seniors day support programs, recreational support programs geared to seniors, meals on wheels, foot care, etc. Call your local social planning council or CCAC to get the complete list.

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