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Navigating Social Services: A Guide for Seniors



SUSAN FISHER & TAMMY ADAMS Special to The Standard


As our population continues to age, consequently the importance of understanding and accessing social services, benefits, and support programs becomes increasingly important for seniors. Many seniors wish to remain in their homes but require some support to do so safely. Navigating this, however, can be deterring, especially for those unfamiliar with the system or with limited resources or support from family or friends.

The first step in navigating social services is to research what programs and resources are in your area. Begin by contacting local agencies, senior centres, or community organizations which specialize in senior services. These organizations can provide valuable information about programs tailored to seniors’ needs, eligibility criteria, and the process for obtaining these services.

Before reaching out for help, take some time to assess your specific needs and priorities. Whether you require assistance with personal care, housing, meal preparation/delivery, companionship, etc., understanding your specific needs will help you identify relevant programs and resources. You can reach out to a healthcare provider who can provide guidance and support in evaluating your options.

Navigating social services can be overwhelming, so reaching out to a trusted healthcare provider to help walk you through the process can relieve stress. These healthcare providers can advocate for you and help ensure you receive the benefits and support you are entitled to. The best place to start is with your family physician.

There are many online resources and services available for seniors. Spend some time online looking at reputable websites to access information about available programs and services in your area or virtually (on the Internet). Additionally, consider signing up for newsletters or email alerts from relevant organizations to stay informed about updates, changes, or opportunities.

Attending workshops, seminars, or information sessions in your community can allow you to learn from experts, ask questions, and connect with other seniors in the same boat. Check with local senior centres, community organizations, or libraries for upcoming events and educational opportunities in your area.

As you navigate the social services system, remember to advocate for yourself/loved one and assert your rights as a senior. Be proactive in communicating your needs, asking questions, and seeking clarification when necessary. If you encounter challenges or barriers, don’t hesitate to ask to speak to managers or supervisors to get the answers you need.

As healthcare professionals, we are aware navigating social services can be daunting, overwhelming, and difficult. We are here to help you gain access to the care and support you need and deserve. You can contact Susan Fisher at Silver Lights Senior Services by phone at 705 308 7923 or by email at susan.fisher@silverlightsseniorservices.com to help start the process. We are happy to assist in any way we can.

Tammy and Susan run Silver Lights Senior Services, a family-owned and operated seniors’ homecare company serving the City of Kawartha Lakes. Their Adult Day Program for Dementia is located in Lindsay, ON. Find them on Facebook and Instagram or visit their website at www.silverlightsseniorservices.com. To book services, call Tammy at 705-308-1940, or to register for the Day Program, call Susan at 705-308-7923.

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