What seniors told us - Halton Hills

Communication and Information 

  1. Seniors rely on the New Tanner and the Georgetown Independent, but not everyone can read.
  2. The telephone, especially 211/311 and SALT Seniors Help Line, are good sources of information for seniors.
  3. Family, friends, churches, libraries and agencies are good sources of information.

“We shouldn’t forget the Tanner and the Free Press. If you want to know what is going on in the community, they cover it.”
" ‘Your call is important to us stay on the line and press 1, press 2’. For seniors it just drives them crazy."
“For the first time I had to use 211 the other day and I got a very pleasant female voice. A lady instead of a machine and she had the information for me in two minutes and I felt that was really good.”

Housing

  1. It is difficult for seniors to make the transition from their home to alternate accommodation that better meets their needs as they age.
  2. This transition is even more challenging because there are not enough affordable, accessible housing options available. Some churches are sponsoring housing to help fill the need. Some seniors are leaving Halton Hills to find suitable housing.
  3. Housing choices are further limited by transportation, nearness of services and shops, and closeness of family and friends. 4. Seniors need more supports to be able to stay in their homes.
“… knowing when you should move. I know it’s hard, but there comes a time in your life when you should look for something so that you aren’t worried about all the things that go on when you have a house. That becomes a weight as you get older …”

“… I have heard this a few times, because of the lack of housing for seniors in Acton, people have had to move out of Acton. Left all their friends and connections behind because they couldn’t find anywhere to live and had to move to Georgetown or Brampton to find accommodation they needed.”

“I would like to see the Town go after housing for seniors because there is a shortage for that ... when they put up a new plaza, they(could) put a high-rise over top of it so that people would be able to shop right there. It would be convenient. Even some of the older ones you might be able to convert into high-rise …”

Outdoor Spaces and Buildings

  1. Crosswalks can be hazardous. Seniors need sidewalks that are level, in good repair and clear of debris. People with canes and wheelchairs need curb cuts that are smooth and wide.
  2. Seniors are unclear about the rules and regulations regarding bicycles and scooters – are they allowed on the sidewalk? There is also confusion about right of way – pedestrians or cars.
  3. Seniors need and value park areas and benches. Some benches have been donated and they are being used, but more are needed. Seniors appreciate when stores, especially large stores, provide seating throughout the store.
“The crosswalk by Tim Hortons - sometimes you take your life in your hands because it’s amazing how many cars blow right on by.”

“… some of the sidewalks … some are not very straight. In fact, I tripped last winter and went down on my knees …Very dangerous position … and there are some areas where the sidewalks are not very level. You need to be very careful particularly in the winter.”

“Wondering if the schools give any sort of education about bike safety. I see a lot of them without helmets and it’s a requirement by law to have helmets. They need to have a bell and you are not supposed to go on sidewalks.”

“I think that is true in a lot of stores. I find it is hard for me to shop because I can’t walk very long and I can’t stand very long. If they had a chair, I could just sit down for a few minutes. Then I could do more shopping.”

Transportation

  1. Seniors feel driving offers independence so giving up their license is very difficult. As people are beginning to think about driving cessation they are not really sure how to proceed.
  2. Halton Hills seniors need public transportation. There is no north-south transportation. Seniors can’t always get where they need to go.
  3. Activan and the Taxi Scrip Program are appreciated, but some seniors don’t know how it works and have not found it reliable. It is limited to travelling within the municipality.
  4. Driving can be challenging for some seniors. Signage is a lot better than it use to be but some signs are still too small. Roads are getting busier and some roads could be better maintained.
 
"…As you get older they don’t let you drive so I am moving when I can’t drive – because there is no transport here. I would have to leave the community.”

"We are all a part of Halton Hills and Halton Hills includes Acton. There is no transportation other than GO bus between here and Acton. The GO buses run about every 3 hours. It really isn’t good for intermingling …"

Social Participation

  1. Halton Hills offers a wide variety of social activities. The Seniors Centre, churches and the library are important venues and play a valuable role in providing social activities.
  2. Transportation, especially the loss of driving and lack of housing choices can affect social participation.
“We are very active in the Seniors Centre - bowling, birthday teas. We have exercise programs, hiking, bingo, cards, scrap booking, shuffleboard, and carpet bowling. "I think the mall is very well equipped for seniors because they ... can sit and chat and have coffee … The stairways have ramps. Very accessible from the driveways."

“… In my husband’s last year, if we hadn’t been in (supportive housing) it would have been a very lonely housebound year.... he could go out to the common room. If we would have been in an ordinary apartment that wouldn’t have happened - there’s no common room…”

"A lot of this depends on if you have a car - if you were driving. Otherwise, you have to miss a lot of things, change your plan and do things more locally ... If you have to walk or take a taxi, it is a different story. Driving enables you to still do the things you like to do."

"The Gellert (Community Centre) is not accessible if you don’t have a car.”

Respect and Social Inclusion

  1. Halton Hills seniors on the whole feel the community is very welcoming.
  2. Seniors feel recognized. Hosting community activities shows respect when they include seniors.
  3. Services and businesses can make seniors feel like they belong or not belong.
  4. Seniors value inter-generational programs.
“When I use this cane, I go into the mall, people open the door for me, people are very concerned – very good, better than any place I ever been to.”

“You often see in the local paper someone who is recognized in Acton for volunteering”

Civic Participation and Employment

  1. Volunteering is an important part of social and civic engagement. There are many volunteer opportunities and many are involved. Activity can decrease as seniors’ age and cannot drive.
  2. Some seniors choose to stay employed while others do not.
  3. Seniors are involved in issues and feel heard, but they could get more involved in civic affairs. 
  4. Seniors have had both positive and frustrating experiences with government (at all levels).
"Volunteering makes you feel needed. It’s a good feeling."

"I’ve been on boards, but they are in the evening and I don’t want to be out late. I don’t enjoy driving in the dark or in the bad weather. So I don’t do that anymore. But you miss being in touch and knowing what is going on."

"There are two reasons why seniors would work. One is because they have the time to and the other is perhaps because they have to ... senior’s pensions plans don’t measure up to very comfortable living ...”

"... I think our Regional government is really, really good for seniors. There are also groups, the local little groups, safety groups ... they invite ... your input … I think that makes you feel like you have a chance to speak and you will be heard."

Community Support and Health Services

  1. There are many services available, but more are needed to keep seniors in their homes (snow shovelling, yard work, odd jobs).
  2. Navigating the system to get the range of services you need can be a challenge for many seniors.
  3. Seniors find wait times are too long.
  4. Seniors are concerned about affordability of services and aids.
"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 …”

"I think the scary thing is what (do) you do when you can’t live in your own home. Then you have to sell your house to get the money to pay where you are going. When you’ve worked hard … That’s the sad thing. There really isn’t enough help (with work around the house)"

“I think we should get discount parking at the hospitals. $14.00 when you have only been there for two hours. How can you get in and out and have something done under two hours.”