It’s projected that the number of seniors aged 65 and over will double from about two million or 14.6 per cent of the population to nearly 4.2 million or 24 per cent of the population in the next two decades.
An aging population and an already overwhelmed health care and social service network could compromise adequate health care for the elderly.
With this is mind, a new non-profit foundation has emerged to empower caregivers, families and communities through education, advocacy and financial assistance and other resources.
A-Supreme Foundation, the brainchild of sisters Winston Johnson and Vivienne Duett and close friend Vivienne Dickson, was launched last week inToronto. The Jamaican migrants – they arrived inCanadain 1971 – started A-Supreme Nursing and Homecare which provides nursing and therapy care for seniors throughout the province.
“Our elderly and infirm population is growing rapidly and caring for them can be quite overwhelming if individuals are not aware of the resources or they are not educated on the many aspects of their needs,” said Johnson, a breast cancer survivor. “We believe that adequate care for the elderly is achievable through education, advocacy and best practices and that we could do more than just offer services through our company.”
Former World Breast Cancer Foundation president Leila Springer is responsible for raising funds for A-Supreme Foundation.
“With an aging population and inadequate government support, it’s clear there is a gap that needs to be filled,” said Springer who co-founded The Olive Branch of Hope 12 years ago to motivate and inspire breast cancer patients. “We will be going after any source of funding to secure resources to assist those who can’t afford the care and services they need.”
A-Supreme Foundation president Nadine Spencer said the organization is committed to providing compassionate and dignified care and financial assistance.
“There is a huge difference between what’s available and what should be available and we are here to fill that void,” she said. “This is about excellence in senior care for everyone. The work we do today will set a standard for the next generation.”
Member of Provincial Parliament Mitzie Hunter attended the launch.
“We know that 85 per cent of all jobs created in our economy inOntariocome from innovative small businesses like what is happening here,” she said. “So we have to support that and allow it to grow and expand. You have seen a gap and you are seeking to close it by educating the public on senior’s care and help the community deal with our aging population. You are providing a vital service that is very much needed.”
Last month, theOntariogovernment launched a Seniors Community Grant Program that will provide funding for non-profit community groups for projects that encourage greater social inclusion, volunteerism and community engagement for seniors across the province.
This is the first grant program in the province dedicated solely to supporting seniors.
“The work you are doing relates to this, so I encourage you to access this fund,” Hunter, the parliamentary assistant to Minister of Community & Social Services Ted McMeekin, said. “This grant is part of our government’s action plan for seniors and it strives to help them stay safe, healthy, vibrant and active by investing in long-term care…By working with our local communities, the Ontario government wants to make the province the best place in the world to grow old.
“I believe that organizations like A-Supreme Foundation will help make this vision a reality. As a society, we need to protect our most vulnerable citizens and by working together, we can provide services for our community and our province with the best care possible in order to live long, active and healthy lives.”
Spencer, Dickson and Beverley John are A-Supreme Foundation’s board directors while the management team comprises Johnson, Springer, Spencer, Duett, Jackie Delfosse and Krystle Francois.