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What seniors told us - communication & information

Seniors in Halton Region rely on a wide range of tools to access information but there remains limited awareness of many of the tools and some seniors have difficulty using the communication tools they prefer. 

The 211 and 311 numbers are beginning to be used but still some do not know about the service.

“I used that number to find out why Main St. was going to be closed. They called me back and told me they were making a movie.” (MILTON)

“311, oh I see that all over the place ... never tried it. No, but I’m glad you refreshed my memory about that. A real (live) person, good.” (OAKVILLE)

Halton Seniors Directory is used by many seniors (not all) but is not always available when  needed.

“The Halton Seniors Directory is like gold.” (BURLINGTON

“The seniors’ directory. Wish it was available for all seniors – in the doctors’ offices or somewhere instead of having to get it when there is a need.” (MILTON)

“We have a lot of directories and things at the Seniors Centre. I have a computer and I
could look on line. I know I have had booklets in my hand that have said Services for Seniors and maybe I have it tucked away in a file. It’s not out where I grab it.” (OAKVILLE)

Seniors rely on community newspapers. There are differences across communities regarding content, delivery and costs.

“In Georgetown, it’s either in our local paper or you don’t hear about it” (HALTON HILLS)

“Unfortunately the Burlington Post either has delivery challenges or new rules on how they deliver the Post. Living in a condominium, we are lucky if we get it once a week on a Thursday and that is tied in with the grocery ads…The Post, I think, is a good communication vehicle but it is not getting out to the people who read it and seniors read the newspaper” (BURLINGTON)

“Champion no longer is delivered anywhere in the rural area, including Campbellville. They never delivered north of 15 Sideroad” (MILTON)

Cogeco TV Channel can provide good info but not all seniors watch it or have
access to cable TV. “I’ve just recently discovered Cogeco….and I’m picking up stuff I didn’t know” (OAKVILLE)

“I’ve watched Cogeco and complained to Cogeco because the stuff that runs along the
bottom is too small and blurry.” (BURLINGTON )

Some seniors use the computer and some do not.

“The one source of information that I forgot to say which is pretty significant for us is the computer. The internet. We … Google Burlington and before you know it you’ve got
everything you want to know about it …” (BURLINGTON)

Seniors use their connections through social networks, service providers, agencies, businesses, churches, and politicians to remain well informed. Family, friends and neighbours are valued resources.

“In the Chinese community we communicate by word of mouth” (BURLINGTON DIVERSE)

“Can’t always find information through newspaper – friends, relatives help to find

Caregivers in support groups obtain a lot of information.

“Halton Multicultural Council’s (HMC) Seniors Conversation Circle is where they get all their information and from . Staff call them at home one by one.” (BURLINGTON DIVERSE)

Agencies serving seniors provide information.

“If you go to Links2Care that’s like opening a door to a multitude of possibilities because they make sure you are connected to the right people to get the right answer.” (HALTON HILLS)
“Easy to find information. Available at doctor’s office, library, mail, YMCA, but you
have to get out in the community to find it.” (BURLINGTON)

Businesses can be helpful in providing information.

“… little newspaper, (the pharmacy)…There was a wonderful place to leave it because you had a place for seniors to wait for their drugs and they would sit and chat ...” (BURLINGTON)
Churches distribute information. “I guess ours does (promote seniors activities)
because I supply them with information, fast facts and that sort of thing.” (OAKVILLE)

Politicians can help.

“We have a new alderwoman, and she has a website set up … She is very, very active and she wants to be involved so she wants you to be part of it and she sends out information and she asks for information back.” (BURLINGTON)

Seniors are aware that although not all use the computer, many do and most will use it in the next generation.

“I look things up on the computer, use the library a lot.” (MILTON)

“Lots of stuff on Milton website.” (MILTON)

“I think the next generation that is coming up to the senior’s level is very computer savvy. They know how to find things, get things and how to do things. It will be a big transition. I have a friend that is 84 and she is on the computer all the time and if I need to know anything, I call her.” (MILTON)
“It is going to change the face of seniors the next generation because all the information they are going to get will be from the internet, more than signs on the wall.” (MILTON)
“There is a lot of information on the town website, but not all are computer literate.”

Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) boundaries are causing communication
problems for seniors – especially in Burlington.

“The only thing as a service provider, I find a little bit hard is Burlington is part of Halton
but it falls under a different LHIN (geographic area). I find it upsetting when there are
services being provided in Oakville that my Burlington clients can’t access … I think a lot
of people living in the community have no idea about the LHIN; they have no idea about the difference in the services provided throughout.” (BURLINGTON)

“What it leads to is a lack of communication between a facility in Oakville and a facility
in Burlington. We had that demonstrated by a fellow I know and his wife was in Oakville
and he tried to get her moved to Burlington. He finally did but it was a long procedure ...”

Language can be a barrier.

“I learn from the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) class.”

“I have no connection because nobody is like a friend to me. I never get together because some things, I can’t read. I can’t understand what they are saying on the announcements. They speak so quickly. I can speak Ukrainian, Polish, Russian, German, English I speak. I just can’t read. That is the problem.” (OAKVILLE DIVERSE)

“In this area everyone speaks English, when I go the family doctor, go to bank, go to
restaurant, everyone speaks English so English is very important.” (OAKVILLE DIVERSE)

“She can’t read it.” (OAKVILLE DIVERSE)

“Because some of the people here are already citizens so they can not have the LINC class and don’t want to pay for the ESL. ESL is $25 per hour. (OAKVILLE DIVERSE)

Many seniors don’t know how to get info about transportation, housing options, support services. They need the information to be able to plan for the future. They also want more information about elections and volunteering.

“… The person that is involved really has to reach out to get that help and ask questions and if they don’t, it is either family that have to be there immediately or they are going to be in a crisis situation.” (BURLINGTON)

“For other services, as far as getting in touch with people who say come in to clean,
health services, that sort of thing, if you are a caregiver, that is a little more complicated
… you have a real problem trying to figure out which ones are private, which ones are
subsidized. … Also, but it should be made aware which ones are private, which ones
are run by Halton Region, which ones are run for profit?” (BURLINGTON)

“I don’t know how people find out about the transportation system. I don’t know how a
person who has been driving all their life and all of a sudden can’t drive, how do they
know the bus routes, how do they know where to get tickets.” (OAKVILLE)

“You have to establish with every taxi company that you are a senior. There is a
discount but they won’t give it to you unless you establish that with them at the beginning. It’s only 10 per cent.” (OAKVILLE)