YOUR GUIDE TO AFFORDABLE RESOURCES FOR SENIORS

August 15, 2014

As a senior you are welcome to use any of the following services which were all created by good people for you to enjoy a better quality of life:

 

OLD AGE SECURITY (OAS)  1-800-277-9914 (Toll Free)

This is important. Many people do not know you have to APPLY for Old Age Security in order to receive it. It is recommended that you send in the application six months before your 65th birthday. ODSP and OW automatically cut you off at age 65, so make sure that you apply for OAS in time to not miss any of your rental payments. OAS does not back-pay you if you apply later than six months before you turn 65, so avoid getting into this situation. To receive Old Age Security you need to be 65 or older and a Canadian citizen and have lived in Canada for ten years or more after age 18. A single person presently receives $551.54 per month from OAS.

 

GUARANTEED ANNUAL INCOME SUPPLEMENT (GAINS)  1-866-668-8297 (Toll Free)

 

In addition to Old Age Security you may also qualify for GAINS. You do not have to pay income tax on either one. You need to apply for GAINS six months before you turn 65 (in addition to your OAS application), plus you need to renew your GAINS each year by filing your income tax return, and then the amount is decided each July. The amount you receive from GAINS varies each year according to your taxable income for the previous year. The maximum TAXABLE income (not including your OAS and GAINS which are not taxable) for which GAINS is provided is $16,713. The more money you make the less GAINS income you receive because it is just designed to make sure that everyone receives at least a certain minimum income per month, one way or another. If you are transferring from ODSP or OW to OAS and GAINS and you have had no taxable income for the past year, you would receive $747 per month from GAINS, plus your $551.54 from OAS for a total of $1,298.54 per month. You would still get a drug card; call 416-503-4586 for information about it. You would no longer get a dental card, but you would have a higher monthly income. If you regularly go to your dentist for preventative cleanings, x-rays and examinations, you can avoid most emergencies and keep the costs down.

 

CANADA PENSION PLAN (CPP)  1-800-277-9144 (Toll Free)

 

It is based on the contributions you have made while being employed. You need to APPLY for it six months before you would like it to begin. You receive more if you leave it in and do not take it out when you turn 65. If you wait until six months before you reach age 70 to apply you receive more money.

 

COMMUNICARE ACCESS CENTRE  416-506-9888

 

Their goal is to enable seniors to live in their own homes as long as possible. They come under the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and their services are covered by OHIP. They also offer referrals to other services which may not be covered, but for which you may be able to apply for a subsidy. They help those that are homebound and of limited mobility. They provide personal care, which means helping with a bath or shower. They also provide nursing care if you have a referral from a doctor. You can call them about any need and they will either provide it or refer you to someone who can. Ask them for help if you need an occupational therapist, walker, wheelchair, social worker or physiotherapy. If you know of a neighbour stuck at home without help, you can phone the Communicare Access Centre on his or her behalf only with the neighbour’s verbal consent. If so, have ready their OHIP card, date of birth, address and phone number. If you have a neighbour in distress who will not agree to get help, the police can check on them to see if they are O.K. The Communicare Access Centre has branches all over Ontario. They are the ones to ask to assess your health if you think you are at the stage of wanting to move in to a nursing home. If you qualify, you can apply to up to five nursing homes anywhere in Ontario, but choose ones you would say ‘yes’ to living in, because if they offer you one and you say ‘no’, you have to apply all over again and it could even take a couple of years because there is a waiting list.

 

CNAP   1-877-540-6565 (Toll Free) Monday to Friday – 9 AM to to 5 PM

 

They serve persons age 55 and up. Their services include housekeeping, laundry, shopping, transportation, escort to doctor, social worker (if you are mobile to go to see him or her), help with filling out papers such as CPP, and Meals on Wheels. You pay, but the fees are reasonable and you can apply for a subsidy. You need a financial assessment to get the subsidy. They also have all-day programs for you to get out and socialize with other seniors. They pick you up and bring you back. The transportation is less than a taxi and is done by volunteers. The $7 or $8 cost of your outing includes your lunch and snacks.

 

ENTERTAINMENT

 

YOUR WARD NEWS  416-693-6325 has wonderful singers and musicians who come out and entertain seniors on a voluntary basis. Invite them to your next B-B-Q or other senior’s event.

 

MEDVISIT  416-631-3000

 

Seven days a week, 8 AM to midnight. House calls made by doctors for when you can not get out to the doctor. (Not for emergencies). Covered by OHIP. Call them right after they open at 8 AM because their list of appointments fills up quickly for the day. Have your OHIP number ready when you call.

 

LIFE LINE  1-800-543-3546

 

This is a private company offering a necklace which you wear around your neck and if you have a medical emergency, you push the button. You will then be on a 2-way speaker with someone who will ask you if you are okay. If not, they will call an ambulance. If it is not an emergency but you still need someone to help, they will call your neighbour or relative whose phone number they will already have. The basic service costs $42.95 per month, plus a one-time $89.95 installation fee. They also offer a device which can detect 95% of falls, which mostly occur in the shower. They come on and ask you if you are okay. This device costs an extra $15 per month.

 

BUDDY SYSTEM – (free and simple)

 

You agree with one of your neighbours that one of you will call the other each day to make sure you are okay. If the other person doesn’t call (or answer) then you check on them or call for help, as you have agreed.

 

THE SENIORS’ SAFETY LINE  1-866-299-1011 (Toll Free)

 

A confidential resource for seniors suffering abuse, including financial, physical, sexual, mental abuse and neglect. They help you to feel empowered and not like a victim. It is run by the same people who operate the Assaulted Women’s Helpline, so they are very sympathetic.

 

TELEHEALTH ONTARIO  1-866-797-0000 (Toll Free)

 

Call this number any time during the day or night, seven days a week, if you would like to speak directly with a qualified nurse about your health.

 

VETERINARY COSTS FOR PETS

 

The Toronto Humane Society, 416-392-2273, provides spaying and neutering of cats and dogs as well as vaccines. You call to make an appointment. The cost for cats for spaying and neutering is $70 and for vaccines $40. For dogs, it depends on the size and gender of the dog and costs more than for cats. With the vaccine, you get complimentary tablets for worms. For other veterinary needs, you have to negotiate with veterinarians in your area.

 

COMPUTER ACCESS AND BOOK DELIVERY

 

Your local library offers free computer use. You can call ahead to reserve a computer for half-an-hour or an hour. Have your library card number ready when you call. You can also go directly to the library without calling ahead. There are also express computers which you can use for up to 15 minutes. Printing a page from the computer costs 15 cents, as does making a copy of a page on the photocopier. Main Street Branch (just south of Gerrard) 416-393-7700; Beaches Branch (just west of Queen and Lee) 416-393-7703. In addition, the public library offers two services for seniors who cannot get out to the library. One is where they bring about one-hundred books to a building and then pick them up in three of four months. The other is for individuals, and you sign up and they ask you what you want to receive – the type of books, how many, large print or talking books etc.  Call 416-395-5557.

 

 

 

SIDEWALK SAFETY

 

You have the right to be safe. Homeowners are required by the city to clear their sidewalk of ice and snow within twelve hours after a snowfall. If not, you can call Transportation Services Enforcement at 416-392-7768. They will ask you for the street name and house number of where the ice and snow have not been cleared.

 

YOUR RIGHTS AS A TENANT

 

Tenants Hotline  416-921-9494  A free information service run by other tenants of the Federation of Metro Tenants Association. You can call and speak to someone Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM-6 PM. You can also access their automated information system about your rights under the law, where you can learn a whole wealth of information. Call 416-921-9494 at any time and press 2.

 

ONTARIO LANDLORD AND TENANT BOARD  416-645-8080

 

This is the provincial body where you can resolve any dispute with your landlord either by mediation or by hearing before an adjudicator. You can call weekdays for free information about your rights. They also have a Duty Counsel who can give you free legal advice if you are going to a hearing.

 

LEGAL AID

 

Will defend low-income tenants if threatened with eviction. No one can be evicted in Ontario without a hearing.

 

EAST TORONTO COMMUNITY LEGAL SERVICE  416-461-8102 at 1320 Gerrard Street East. A lawyer to advise you about tenant and other matters. You go there and wait and are served on a first-come, first-served basis. Call for the times.

 

CITY OF TORONTO MUNICIPAL STANDARDS INSPECTOR

 

Call 311 if you can not get your landlord to turn on the heat or do repairs. (Go to the landlord first). They send an inspector to your residence to verify the problem. If there is a violation, they give a Notice of Violation to the landlord, and if it is still not repaired an Order to fix it. If the problem is bugs, mice or unsanitary conditions, 311 will put you through to the Public Health Inspector (if your landlord will not fix the problem).

 

CLOTHING

 

Value Village is located at 2119 Danforth Ave., just east of Woodbine, 416-698-0621. Offers donated used clothing and household items at reasonable prices. There is a 20% discount for seniors “aged 60 or better” every Tuesday.

 

 

HOUSING AND SHELTER

 

If you need an immediate place to stay for the night, call 311. They maintain a list of the shelter beds available each night across the city.

 

HOUSING CONNECTIONS  416-981-6111, 176 Elm Street, main floor

 

If you need an apartment with lower rent, you can get on the list for subsidized housing. However, the list is unbelievably long and it usually takes several years. (The over $2 billion of the taxpayers’ money which the provincial Liberals wasted on scandals would have gone a long way towards affordable housing for a lot of people.) However, the sooner you apply, the sooner you will get in.

 

FOOD BANKS   (Call 211 for more information)

 

Grace Pascoe Centre – 72 Main Street – One block north of Kingston Road., at the back of Calvary Baptist Church, open Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM. You go in person. Suggestion – Bring a bundle buggy for easier carrying. You need to bring: Proof of address, proof of income, and I D for each family member.

There is also a food bank at Glen Rhodes United Church for those loving west of Woodbine Avenue.

 

SALVATION ARMY 416-767-7664, near Woodbine Avenue and Danforth Avenue. Call for an appointment.

 

MOBILE FOOD BANK   416-480-1390 – If you are disabled and cannot get out to a food bank, they will deliver the food to you. Call to sign up. This comes under the Red Cross.

 

CHRISTMAS FOOD HAMPER 416-691-1113

 

Community Centre 55 at 55 Main Street (at Swanwick) collects food from local businesses and individual donors, sorts it into boxes, and then has volunteers deliver them to about 800 households in the Beaches area a few days before Christmas. You need to sign up ahead of time by going there. (Call ahead to see what ‘proof of your income’ to bring along). If you live in a low-income senior’s building, there will probably be a day in late November for you to sign up at your building. You need to be home on the day when they deliver it. The boxes contain food for you to make a real Christmas dinner, gifts, as well as canned food and pasta; whatever has been donated to help you through the winter months.

 

FOOD DELIVERY

 

FOODLAND 416-694-3011, Queen and Lee

 

Foodland has a food delivery service for seniors. You call as early as possible, by 2 PM on Tuesday or Wednesday and they will bring your food to your door on the day you call. There is a $50.00 minimum for your order and the delivery charge is $5.50. You can pay by either cash of cheque; let them know how you will pay when you call. Write out the list of groceries you want before you call, as they do not have time to wait while you think of the things you need.

 

NEXT MONTH-PART TWO OF YOUR WARD NEWS ‘ULTIMATE SENIOR’S GUIDE’ * Drug and Alcohol-related issues * Biblical passages about health and longevity * Nursing home information * Special health care needs * Legal services * Democratic rights for seniors in Toronto Community Housing * Affirmations * Belief in potential * Ageism * Music and health * Plus many more features for the benefit of the Beaches’ senior community.

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