Program overview :

  • Enabling Aging in Place

Promising Practices for Enabling Aging in Place

There are many examples of aging in place programs across Canada that have successfully helped older adults age in place, in the community, with formal support. These promising practices have demonstrated impact in helping older adults remain at home with improved safety, health and quality of life. This can result in delayed entry to long-term care while also reducing emergency department visits, lessening demands on care partners, and making better use of health and social care resources.

Aging in place programs support older adults and their care partners living at home in many ways, including but not limited to:

  • Addressing challenges with system navigation
  • Reducing financial barriers
  • Improving responsiveness (e.g. reliability of staff, consistency of staff, flexibility of services, respite services for care partners)
  • Providing access to specialized services such as social and emotional support, on-call support, language and cultural services, and help with non-medical needs
  • Creating connected communities where older adults and their care partners are engaged in health and social activities.

Healthcare Excellence Canada, in partnership with organizations delivering aging in place programs, has summarized some of these practices into short summaries to raise the profile of promising practices and generate discussion about how similar approaches could be adapted and applied elsewhere. The summaries offer details about how the practice works, evaluation and impact, and key success factors.

Promising practice summaries

Community Paramedicine at Clinic (Ontario)

The Community Paramedicine at Clinic (CP@clinic) Program is an innovative, evidence-based chronic disease prevention, management and health promotion program operated by local community paramedics in community social housing with high concentrations of older adults. It aims to:

  • Improve older adults’ health and quality of life and reduce their social isolation
  • Empower older adults to take control of their own health
  • Better connect older adults with primary care and community resources
  • Reduce the economic burden of avoidable 911 calls by older adults

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Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (Ontario)

Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs) are communities that have evolved with changing population dynamics to have a high percentage of older adults. They provide an opportunity to leverage the density of older adults living in one place and:

  • Address social isolation by providing opportunities for social relationships and connections between older adults and their local community
  • Reduce a wide range of unmet health needs by increasing access to services, information and resources
  • Provide opportunities for community and civic engagement
  • Reimagine the community’s physical environment by providing a common shared space that is accessible, provides meaningful activities and programs and fosters social interactions

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The Navigation – Connecting, Advocating, Resourcing, Engaging (Nav-CARE) program is a social innovation where experienced volunteers provide quality of life navigation for adults experiencing declining health in their homes. It aims to support people with declining health with their unmet needs by connecting them with navigators who can help them access services. Volunteer navigators work with clients to:

  • Connect them to formal and informal social and health supports
  • Advocate for them in meeting their quality of life goals
  • Identify their needs and negotiating access to resources to meet those needs
  • Engage with clients to determine what is most meaningful to them

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Nursing Home Without Walls (New Brunswick)

The Nursing Home Without Walls program leverages nursing home resources to support older adults living in the community. It enables older adults to live at home longer and reduces avoidable emergency department visits. It aims to:

  • Ensure that older adults and their families have access to appropriate services and information related to aging in place
  • Provide social health initiatives to counter social isolation and loneliness experienced by older adults and their care partners
  • Increase knowledge on health-related issues important to aging in place and healthy aging for older adults and their care partners
  • Empower the local community to respond to the needs of an aging population

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Ottawa West Aging in Place Program (Ontario)

The Ottawa West Aging in Place program provides wraparound support and home care services to older adults living in social housing, who are often admitted to long-term care sooner than others because they cannot afford the additional support needed to stay home longer. It aims to:

  • Provide outreach and intervention activities
  • Reduce barriers to accessing healthcare
  • Provide services to support older adults to live healthier lives and remain in their homes longer
  • Link older adults to appropriate community resources and services

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Why this work matters

Most people in Canada – 85 percent of adults surveyed and 96 percent of those aged 65 years and older – want to avoid moving into a long-term care home and age at home for as long as they can. Despite this desire, one in 10 people who enter long-term care could have potentially been cared for at home with formal support. Learn more about Enabling Aging in Place, an HEC collaborative focused on implementing promising practices that enable older adults to age safely in place.