Seniors’ Month also recognizes the important role communities play in keeping seniors active, engaged and learning. Mario Sergio, Minister Responsible for Seniors Affairs, said: “This year we are celebrating Seniors’ Month under the theme of “Seniors Making a Difference.” It is fitting, given how our seniors have built our communities and continue to contribute their time and talents today in so many ways.”
To help ensure seniors have ready access to centres and programs in their communities that promote healthy, active aging and wellness, the government intends to introduce legislation on Wednesday that, if passed, would:
- Give the Elderly Persons Centres (EPCs) program a new name, the Seniors Active Living Centres Program, which affirms its mandate to keep seniors healthy and engaged.
- Give the program more flexibility to be responsive to the needs of local seniors by cutting red tape.
- Reaffirm the valuable partnership that EPCs currently have with local municipalities, while enabling the centres to develop future partnerships, in addition to municipalities, with other local community organizations and in First Nations Communities.
- Foster EPC locations as community hubs that provide a central access point for a range of health, social and cultural services for seniors.
- Encourage innovations in the sector by creating opportunities for future investment and partnerships while adding funding flexibility.
Celebrating Seniors’ Month is part of the government’s plan to help seniors stay active, safe and engaged in their communities.
Current EPC legislation has been in existence since 1966 and has not been substantially updated since that time.
There are currently 263 EPCs across Ontario that offer a range of social, cultural, learning and recreational programs for seniors. Each centre is different and has different programs, including classes in fitness, computers, arts and cooking, as well as drop-in programs, all with a view to promoting the health, well-being and involvement of seniors in the community.
Throughout the month of June, hundreds of events are hosted by seniors’ organizations across the province. These events provide information to seniors on healthy living, programs and services; distribute resource materials; and raise awareness of community supports.
There are more than two million seniors older than 65 who live in Ontario. This number is predicted to more than double in the next 25 years. – CINEWS