Health & Wellness

More Money to Help Seniors Cope With COVID-19

Both the federal and Ontario governments have announced more funding and resources for seniors

By Erika Morris

Photo: iStock/vchal.

The federal government will contribute $9 million to United Way Centraide Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors project. The funds will go to support organizations providing services to Canadian seniors including grocery delivery, medications, home care, and personal outreach connecting seniors to community support.

United Way  initiated the New Horizons project because seniors are disproportionately at risk in the novel coronavirus pandemic, especially those in isolation or poverty. The project, which serves more than 5,000 communities and extends to rural areas, as well, is intended to ensure that seniors are not cut off from support systems, are able to get groceries, and can fill their prescriptions.

“Through this partnership with the Government of Canada, we will be able to quickly deploy funds to social service providers who are on the front lines of community serving vulnerable seniors and ensure they can be supported through this challenging time,” United Way president and CEO Dan Clement said in a statement.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that his province is putting $10 million aside for seniors living at home in addition to the $20 million the province has invested in retirement home protection over the last two years with better infection control and screening procedures.

Like the federal initiative, the goal is to make it easier for seniors to practice social distancing safely. The $10 million will be going to subsidize food, medicine, and other essential home deliveries to seniors by volunteer and non-profit organizations.

“We need to put an iron ring around our seniors and other vulnerable populations. We need to protect them,” Ford said in a press conference. “I want our seniors to know we are doing everything in our power to make sure you have access to medicine and other essential items.”

Ontario is also putting aside another $243 million for retirement homes to make sure they stay clean and sanitary, have 24/7 screening, accommodate more patients, and can hire more staff in these demanding times.