Funding cuts are changing the landscape of our future
submitted by Jill Woodley
One of the benchmarks that determines a healthy and compassionate community is how we treat those who live in it. Action oriented responses ensure that no one is left behind, and that every person has an equal opportunity to thrive both physically and mentally. For seniors and adults living with physical disabilities, access to transportation, nutritious food and social activities enriches their quality of life and ensures that they remain a vibrant part of this community.
Decreased funding for support services in Ontario is a real threat to the quality of life for those aging at home. Seniors’ Community Services is a partner with our health care providers ensuring that older adults have access to supports that enhance their capacity to remain at home. Since 2008, there has not been an increase in annual base funding that supports our services. Despite the increase in demand for services and an aging community, there has been no proactive response to meeting these needs. Instead of increasing the funding to meet the needs, we are at risk at having to cut vital services.
On April 26th, SCS Executive Director, Dawn Rodger and Old Forge Community Resource Centre Executive Director Colleen Taylor co-presented to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs at Queen’s Park to advocate on behalf of our community and 31 other community support organizations. We need to initiate a program of change that would meet the needs of seniors by having the government endorse a 13% increase to our annual base funding.
“Fundraising 55% of our budget is no longer sustainable, the focus of our efforts should be on serving the client, rather than raising money purely as a means of survival.” – Dawn Rodger
Cutting services will have an impact on the lives of our seniors. They will miss medical appointments, medical procedures and life sustaining treatments. Earlier and preventable admissions to long term care will increase, and the impact of reducing supportive services will be felt by our local emergency departments that are already stretched beyond capacity. Isolation and loneliness lead to depression and a decline in physical health. Supportive programs like friendly visiting, exercise and the Diners’ Club contribute to the connection humans need to thrive
In her address, Dawn noted that “By providing adequate funding now, you are not only living up to promises made to seniors, but are supporting generations of taxpayers who have contributed to the financial well being of this province”, a statement that resonates with the profound responsibility we have to our older generation who are at risk of losing the opportunity to age in their home. The home is where they have the independence and the freedom to live the lifestyle that they have chosen. For the sake of our mothers and fathers, our grandparents and our older neighbours, we need to prioritize the need for community support services.
If you want to be a voice for change, write to your local elected official advocating on behalf of these important community services. We value the support of this community, and SCS is privileged to be a part in strengthening the future for those who live here. To donate to the programs and services at SCS, please visit us online at https://www.seniorscs.ca/donate or visit us in person at the centre at 215 Sanders Street, Suite 101, we’d love to see you.