A new report commissioned by Mainstay shows that the most vulnerable in our society show signs of aging sooner than the general population – some as early as 39 years.

This is according to the new Aging in Place: Current and Emerging Needs of a Vulnerable Population report. The data shows that accessible housing is hard to find, that needed aging support services aren’t in place for individuals younger than 65, and that these individuals with limited options experience social isolation.

The report includes input from 228 clients in the system, 112 staff across 22 agencies who work with clients aging in place and five leaders from across various sectors.

The report also provides recommendations for practical actions that can be taken, such as closing system gaps and establishing a policy for premature aging in place; having agencies share resources and expertise; working more closely with families; and giving clients a stronger voice through annual consultation.

The findings are particularly important for agencies and housing providers such as Mainstay Housing. Seventy-five per cent of their over 1,000 tenants are over the age of 45. Their staff work every day to support tenants to manage issues related to aging and to help them continue to live with dignity in their homes.

Mainstay commissioned and funded a research project to learn more about the challenges aging tenants deal with, and how they can better support them. They created a Steering Committee made up of 13 supportive housing, social services, health and research organizations across Toronto. Eighty-one stakeholders were on hand for the report launch on October 16, 2019 at the South Riverdale Community Health Centre, which included a keynote address from Dr. Stephen Hwang, Director of MAP Centre for Urban Solutions, St Michael’s Hospital who said:

“This report stands as a call to action for policy makers and the government. This is an economy of haves and have nots. We need more than just housing projects and supports. We need community. Together we have the privilege and duty to create change.”

Read the full report.