Slaight Family Foundation Announce $15 Million Towards Multipronged Seniors Initiative

By Aaron Brophy 10/1/19 |

Allan Slaight — photo by Christina Gapic

The Slaight Family Foundation will be donating $15 million towards 13 Toronto-area hospitals and four national health organizations as part of its ongoing Slaight Family Foundation Seniors Initiative to support aging populations, and a range of programs from in-home medical assistance to LGBTQI2S services to the conversion of 25 high-rises. 

This announcement matches a similarly themed $15 million commitment the foundation made to the United Way this past June.

"Seniors are Canada’s fastest growing demographic, yet a very under-supported and vulnerable population. Finding new ways of assisting seniors, particularly those who have trouble accessing our health and social services due to poverty or other barriers, is essential to helping keep people healthier longer and in their own communities," said Gary Slaight of the Slaight Family Foundation, in a statement. "This gift is only possible due to our father Allan Slaight’s foresight, business acumen and philanthropic leadership. We hope these new models and programs will serve as change agents in moving support and care for our seniors forward for years to come."

The new round of donations come on Oct. 1, the United Nations' International Day of Older Persons. According to the U.N., between 2017 and 2030 the number of persons aged 60 years or over is projected to grow by 46 percent (from 962 million to 1.4 billion) globally outnumbering youth, as well as children under the age of 10. International Day of Older Persons is meant to "highlight the important contributions that older people make to society and raise awareness of the opportunities and challenges of ageing in today’s world."

The new funding is part of a three-pronged effort on the part of the Slaight Family Foundation to support seniors — a community component, largely led by the United Way, to aid seniors who have difficulty accessing health and social services because of poverty or other barriers, a hospital component designed to reduce emergency visits of seniors to hospitals and provide support to caregivers, and a national component, where the foundation is teaming with four organizations to support seniors.

"This investment from The Slaight Family Foundation will mean expanded hospital and community partnerships, leading to innovative models of care and a better experience for our older patients," said Dr. Gary Newton, CEO of Sinai Health, one of the donation recipients. "On behalf of Sinai Health and all the hospitals that will benefit from this initiative, thank you to The Slaight Family Foundation for your generosity and support."

Many of the funding initiatives dig deep into the administrative and technical functions of various health services, with an eye towards either improving existing programs or developing new ones to support seniors.

The hospitals and organizations sharing this $15 million donation include:

Baycrest — The Baycrest@Home program supports older adults with dementia still living in the community and their unpaid caregivers.

CAMH (The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) — Will be testing a model of cognitive training and brain stimulation techniques to help seniors’ cognition in five senior housing units.

Michael Garron Hospital — Will work with St. Michael’s Hospital and WoodGreen Community Services to identify and support socially isolated seniors in East Toronto.

North York General Hospital — Will work with a number of support organizations to better help homebound elderly with non-cancerous life limiting diseases.

Scarborough Health Network — Will expand access for seniors to day programs and community services post discharge from hospitalizations.

Sinai Health System — Will be partnering with a number of groups to create and expand programs to enable seniors to remain healthy, independent and engaged members of their community.

Sunnybrook Hospital — Develop new systems to help seniors with complex care needs return to their homes.

Unity Health Toronto (St. Joseph's Hospital & St. Michael's Hospital) — The St. Joseph's program will explore ways seniors can best receive the supports they need when they return home after hospitalizations, thereby reducing the number of hospital revisits. St. Michael's will be creating and testing a care model to support clinically frail seniors who are at risk of not meeting basic social needs.

University Health Network (Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities) — Transforming 25 high-rise apartment buildings to support ageing populations.

Dotsa Bitove Wellness Academy — Increase staff and support at the academy to support those with mild to moderate dementia.

Toronto Rehab's Geriatric Community Integration Hub — Toronto Rehab in partnership with Sinai Health System and Circle of Care will create Geriatric Community Integration Hub (GERI Hub) to help seniors rehab at home post-hospitalization stays.

Expanded Geriatric Oncology Program at the Princess Margaret — Will expand its program to ensure older adults with cancer receive more personalized medical care.

Women's College Hospital — Will create the vSeniors virtual hub, an online home to improve services and access for geriatric care in Central Toronto.

Alzheimer Society of Canada — Expand the First Link program which connects people living with dementia to support services and programs.

Canadian Red Cross — Expand programs in the Greater Toronto Area and in New Brunswick to train volunteers to learn about the various services available to vulnerable seniors.

Egale — Improve services to LGBTQI2S seniors who are living independently.

National Institute on Ageing at Ryerson — Develop the Slaight Policy Series on Ageing focused at providing more home and community-based care.

The senior initiative is far from the only campaign the Slaight Family Foundation supports. The foundation was founded in 2008 by broadcaster John Allan Slaight. Some other recent initiatives from the foundation include a $50 million donation in 2013 to help five different hospitals advance their health care, $7 million in 2015 to seven NGOs to help fund lifesaving efforts in global humanitarianism, $11 million in 2016 to support 11 children and youth organizations, and $12 million in 2017 to support 15 organizations working to improve conditions for Canadian Indigenous populations.

The Slaight Family Foundation is a supporter of Samaritanmag.

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