Meeting the needs of our Aging Population

CMHA Durham is committed to serving the needs of the aging population supporting the Central East LHIN's IHSP strategy of “Reducing the demand for long-term care so that seniors spend 320,000 more days at home in their communities by 2016” by developing new partnerships and connections, to enhance health and wellness services for seniors.
 
In recognition of the needs of an aging population, CMHA D has been pursuing resources to fully determine need and address them for a number of years.

In 2008 and 2010 CMHA D received New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) maximum grant funds to initiate, “Older Adults Mental Health and Wellness” Day Programs, first at the Oshawa site and subsequently at the Bowmanville program site. The success of these programs demonstrated the ongoing need and benefit for this population, moving CMHA D to reallocate resources to sustain them. These programs continue to operate strongly. The Bowmanville program operates in partnership with Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences and COPE of Community Care Durham.
 
During the past 18 months, the Housing Case Management program  received support to implement three strategies to further enrich the lives of seniors living independently in the community:
 
Strategy 1:  Resource Package Development

With the help of  Registered Nursing students from University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s Nursing program, CMHA D created a  resource package for aging clients in the community. The resource package incorporates medical and physical health teaching, used to compliment  health teaching and support for seniors  in the community.
 
Strategy 2: Peer-Led Social and Housing Committee Implementation

In 2012, CMHA D received a second New Horizons Seniors Proposal grant to meet its ongoing goal to effectively address the needs of seniors in the community. Success with this application has allowed CMHA D to initiate a new strategy and reach out to our senior population through Peer Led Social and Housing Committees in Durham Region. The program has seen great success rates with 40% of our clientele over the age of 55 attending focus groups and giving their input on remaining successful in their communities as they age. Seniors continue to participate in ongoing social and housing committees supported by CMHA D and improve their quality of life as they age in their communities.
 
Strategy 3: Implementation of VON Canada SMART® Program

Opportunities  to further enhance the quality of life of our seniors was made available through our community partnership with Victorian Order of Nurses for Canada (VON) and their Seniors Maintaining Active Roles Together (SMART®) Project. In this project CMHA D will receive training from VON trained staff in exercise techniques and strategies for seniors. CMHA D will contribute mental health specific training to VON project partners to enhance their understanding of mental health conditions and their impact on physical health and well-being.

Submitted by Mireille Huneault, Health Promotions/Media Relations Specialist, CMHA  Durham