Senior Task Force Area Needs

Identified Areas of Need:

The following key areas of need for seniors in the Town were identified by the Task Force. 

Transportation
Transportation has been identified as being a barrier for Senior Citizens living in East Gwillimbury. For residents facing the loss of their driver’s license or for those having mobility issues, this often limits their community participation and increases instances of social isolation leading to a feeling of being shut-in. Public transit options are limited and costly for those on limited incomes. 
Currently, York Region Transit is offering a pilot program (Dial-A-Ride) that supports residents in accessing services. Community Home Assistance to seniors (CHATS) also offers transportation support to seniors but the service is often costly and very limited in the amount of usage per rider. 

Seniors Food Bank Use/ Food Sustainability for Seniors
A report by the Ontario Association of Food Banks found a growing number of seniors are relying on Food Banks for hunger relief. This year there was an estimated 35 percent increase in the number of senior citizens accessing food support services in York Region. With the increasing cost of food and the high cost of living, more seniors are having to access Food Banks or are simply going without. Network North Collaborative and The East Gwillimbury Public Library have partnered to open a Food Pantry in Holland Landing. Over twenty percent of users are seniors and ninety percent of the Food Pantry volunteers are also seniors.

Affordable Housing/Aging in Place
A need for next steps housing options should be addressed within East Gwillimbury. A majority of residents wish to age in place but the options are very limited. Seniors are forced to leave their community when they can no longer live in their homes. We would encourage builders and members of Council to support this need by ensuring that the building and creation of various next steps housing options are available for seniors throughout East Gwillimbury. Partner agencies such as CHATS, Citizens for Affordable Housing and The Region of York may offer insight into supports and services that can be offered for residents not wishing to leave their community.

Lack of Centralized Programs and Services
The Town needs to offer its Senior Citizens co-ordinated programs and services to support the needs of an aging population. There are some limited programs provided by the Community Parks, Recreation and Culture Group and there are some clubs for older adults in individual communities but there is no centralized organization to provide and co-ordinate town wide senior activities or to act for senior citizens.