Aging in place, or aging in the community

A person’s ability to continue living independently at home and/or in their community through the provision of necessary supports and services.

Aging in place is often the first choice for older adults. It can prevent the emotional and physical hardships associated with leaving home to live in institutional settings. It can also help older adults be active, engage in social participation and maintain their social networks with family, friends, and community members, thus supporting their mental health and maintaining their personal identity.

In order to meet their care needs, older adults often rely on home and community care programs and services, provided by governments and service organizations. “Home and community care” services help people receive care at home, rather than in a hospital or long-term care facility, and to live as independently as possible in the community. These services not only allow older Canadians to age in place, but also save governments money, as they are less expensive than providing institutional care in retirement residences or long-term care facilities. Regulated health care professionals (for example, nurses), non-regulated workers, volunteers, friends and family caregivers deliver home and community care.

The goals of home and community care are to:

  • help people maintain or improve their health status and quality of life,
  • assist people in remaining as independent as possible,
  • encourage people to remain physically and socially active,
  • support families in coping with a family member’s need for care,
  • help people stay at or return home and receive needed treatment, rehabilitation or palliative care, and
  • provide informal/family caregivers with the support they need.

Core Community Supports include:

  • Home care services : health-related supports that include a wide range of services including personal care, therapy and rehabilitation and nursing care;
  • Home supports: including meal provision, housekeeping, home maintenance, meal services, transportation, as well as social participation and companionship programs, and physical activity and educational/recreational programs; and
  • Financial supports: income subsidies, as well as grants and subsidies to defray housing costs and fund home renovations designed to improve accessibility.

The purpose of this report is to inform policy reflection by providing information regarding how well older Canadians are served for the purposes of aging in place and community, by the home and community support services currently available. This will be achieved by:

  • describing the home care services, home supports and financial supports that help older adults age in place, as well as the roles and responsibilities of the federal, provincial and territorial governments in delivering them;
  • determining how the needs of Canadians older adults aging in place are being met by identifying gaps, challenges, trends, best practices and innovative approaches in the provision of these supports;
  • identifying best practices and innovative approaches used in Canada and internationally.

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