Q. How do I become involved in OPADD?
A. The work of OPADD is done through regional committees. We encourage people to reach out to their local regional committees. If there isn't a regional committee in your area please contact Sandy Stemp, Co-Chair of OPADD Collaborative by clicking here.
Q. What is the Ontario Partnership on Aging and Developmental Disabilities?
A. The Ontario Partnership is a collaborative group of like-minded organizations and groups that want to respond to the needs of persons with a developmental disability as they age. Together we identify priority issues in the area of aging and developmental disabilities and seek solutions. Participants in the partnership include the continuum of seniors supports and services, developmental service providers, government, educational organizations, regional and local projects. Our work is focused on achieving our Vision: that older adults with a developmental disability have the same rights to support and services as all older Ontarians. Our work focuses on building capacity in the service system to ensure quality of life for people with a developmental disability as they age. For more information click on “About OPADD” on our home page.
Q. What is the focus of the Ontario Partnership?
A. We are concerned with all aspects of the aging process and how it affects people with a developmental disability. Accordingly, we are working on a number of initiatives that will strengthen the capacity of individuals, their families and the service system to support people as they age. This includes, but is not limited to, ensuring that older adults with a developmental disability can access the full range of support services available to all older adults in Ontario. Our long range goal is a service system that has capacity to sustain quality of life for all older adults with a developmental disability.
Q. Is the Partnership attempting to have people with developmental disabilities moved to long term care homes?
A. The Partnership seeks to ensure that every older adult with a developmental disability is able to age with dignity and grace. An important piece of this work is supporting the right of older adults with developmental disabilities to access all of the services available to Ontario seniors and their families. This includes services and programs such as foot care clinics, older adult centres, municipal recreation programs for seniors, home support services, homecare via CCAC’s, Alzheimer society services, Regional Geriatric Programs, adult day programs, supportive seniors housing and long term care homes. Our interest is not in long term care home placement but in the effective and appropriate access to services as needed. Some older adults with developmental disabilities, just as some of the general population may need to move to a long term care home.
The Partnership wants to ensure that every person aging with a developmental disability is supported to plan their transition to older adulthood and that such planning includes consideration of the range of services and programs that support seniors.
Q. The community living movement has worked hard to get people with a developmental disability out of institutions and living in the community. Isn’t a move to a long term care home a backwards step which re-institutionalizes people?
A. The Ontario Partnership is very concerned that older adults with a developmental disability enjoy quality of life. Aging, while maintaining quality of life, requires planning for the transition to older adulthood. Transition planning, in addition to many personal factors, must encompass a consideration of the services and programs that are available to all Ontario seniors. These programs and services are geared to keeping people, healthy, active, connected to their communities and in their own homes as long as possible. Sometimes a person must consider an alternative living arrangement when the one where they have been living is no longer sufficient or safe for them and for others with whom they reside. A long term care home may provide the best option for some people in order to maintain quality of life as they age.
It is important to keep in mind that the very large facilities that were built in the middle of the last century, to house people with a developmental disability, have nothing in common with today’s long term care homes. Residential facilities for people with a developmental disability housed hundreds and sometimes thousands of individuals in conditions that we no longer accept today. The last of these institutions closed in 2009.
Long term care homes have been designed to provide supervised care and nursing when a person cannot be adequately cared for in this/her own home. These homes are usually located in central areas and in addition to many in-house programs, encourage people to remain connected to family, friends and community life. The Ontario Partnership is working to ensure the long term care and developmental services systems can work closely together so individuals with a developmental disability stay connected to the people and activities in their lives no matter where they are living. The partnership also wants to ensure that any move to an alternative residential setting in the long term care system is done effectively. This means developing a proper transition plan that reflects all of the person’s needs; finding a home that is right for the individual; that provides the type of care needed; and that allows him/her to remain connected to the community.
Q. Is the Ontario Partnership involved in national and international work on aging and developmental disabilities?
A. The Ontario Partnership is primarily concerned with aging and developmental disabilities in Ontario. We do however respond to information requests from other jurisdictions around the world and participate in national and international activities from time to time. The Ontario Partnership sees the need for a national forum on aging and developmental disabilities and supports the establishment of such a body.
Q. Is the Ontario Partnership a government organization?
A. No. We are not a government or other type of formal organization but a group of organizations, each of which maintains its own autonomy. We are not funded by government. Our work is done through the voluntary contributions of time and resources of our many participants. We have received a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to accomplish some of our goals. OPADD has received a number of grants to accomplish some specific goals including: Health Canada, Trillium and MCSS Innovation and Modernization. OPADD regional committees have also received grants for specific projects.