On Friday November 1, 2019 the Centre for Studies in Aging & Health at Providence Care hosted this conference featuring presentations focused on issues facing older adults. Topics included social isolation, loneliness, poverty, sensory loss, issues faced by LGBT2SQ older adults, housing and new technologies to assist individuals to age at home safely. Pdf copies of the presenters slides are available for viewing.

This article describes common experiences of malnutrition and abuse experienced by Indigenous children in the residential school system in Canada.  The long-term consequences and impact on health are explored. 3 pages. Last reviewed November 2018.

This report investigates the health of First Nations and Labrador Inuit elders living in their home communities and the impact that residential schools have had on their social determinants of health. 28 pages. Last reviewed November 2018.

Dr. Esther Ernst provided this presentation on May 25, 2018 which explored trends related to poverty among older adults living in Canada.  She also examined an evidence-based argument tor intervening in poverty and provided practical ways that healthcare providers can intervene in poverty. 34 slides. Last reviewed May 2018.

This report presents key findings on physical, mental, and social aspects of aging using data collected from 50,000 Canadians aged 45-85. It highlights insights related to: physical and psychological health, loneliness and social isolation, caregiving and care receiving, transportation and mobility, work and retirement, physical function, disability and falls, lesbian, gay and bisexual aging, and lifestyle and behaviour, among others. 210 pages. Last reviewed May 2018.

Thank you to those who were able to join us in an exploration of a variety of topics with a focus on aging at Donald Gordon Conference Centre in Kingston ON.  Below are pdf copies of speaker presentations and other related resources.  

Dr. Gary Bloch explores the impact of poverty on the health of his primary care patients. He suggests that poverty should be treated like any other health condition and offers suggestions about how to best help this population. 18:07 minutes.

This tools provides steps to screen, adjust risk and intervene in a primary care setting. Income referral resources and included. 4 Pages.

Poverty among older adults is a social and fiscal problem associated with economic vulnerability.(5)  Canada uses low-income cut-offs (LICO) as an indicator for economic vulnerability.(2) Low-income seniors tend to be not only “income poor” but also “asset poor.” (3)

Why is it important?

  • Poverty among older adults in Canada is around 6.7% (5)
  • Poverty is associated with increases in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mental illness, some cancers, hypertension, arthritis, COPD,  and multiple chronic conditions

Common Causes

  • Single individuals are 4 times more likely to be poor than individuals living in families (1)
  • Older women tend to have lower incomes because wages were inferior when employed and since, on average,  they live longer, they are at greater risk of using up savings (2)
  • Women who are divorced have lower retirement incomes than single women or widows because most do not claim a portion of former spouse’s pension (2)
  • Disabled seniors, Aboriginals, recent immigrants, and those who have worked less than 10 years are also at risk of poverty (2)(3)

Key Considerations

  • Income inequality among seniors is growing: since many seniors live on fixed incomes right above the poverty threshold, a small change in expenses or income can have a large impact on poverty rates and quality of life (1)
  • Low-income seniors spend close to 60 % of their expenditures on food and housing, transportation and health-related costs (3)
  • Personal income taxes and government transfers (such as social assistance and Old Age Security), Guaranteed Income
  • Supplement payments and pension plans have helped to reduce elderly poverty (5)

Are you aware of all the benefits and financial aid that you are entitled to? (4)

    • Do you receive Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement?
    • Have you filled out and mailed your tax forms? (tax returns are essential to access many income security benefits e.g. GST / HST credits, working income tax benefits, property tax credits and drug coverage forms such as Extended Health Benefits or Trillium for those without Ontario Drug Benefits)
    • Do you receive payments for disability? (Eight major disability programs: ODSP, CPP Disability, EI, Disability Tax Credit, Veterans benefits, WSIB, Employers’ long term protection, Registered Disability Savings Plan)
    • Are you status Indian? (First Nations with the Status designation may qualify for Non-Insured Health Benefits through the federal government. These pay for drugs and other extended health benefits not covered by provincial plans)
    • Have you applied for extra income supplements?
      • Mandatory Special Necessities Benefits (MDs bill K054 for $25): Medical supplies and health  related transportation (includes  e.g. AA, psychotherapy)
      • Limitation to Participation (MDs bill K053 for $15): Disability can exclude a recipient from mandatory job search and training programs.
      • Special Diet Allowance (MDs bill K055 for $20): some health conditions will qualify a recipient for extra income.
      • Other benefits available: Employment supports, Drug & Dental, Vision, Hearing, ADP Co-payment, Community Start Up & Maintenance, Women in Transition/Interval Houses,  Advanced age allowance, Community Participation ($100 per month extra for volunteering). “Discretionary Benefits.” Applications and benefits available through a  patient’s OW/ODSP worker. 


  1. Citizens for Public Justice. (2012). Poverty Trends Scorecard. Retrieved March 19, 2014 from: 

  2. National Advisory Council on Aging. (2005). Aging in Poverty in Canada. Retrieved March 19, 2014 from: 

  3. National Seniors Council. (2009). Report of the National Seniors Council on Low Income Among Seniors. Retrieved March 19, 2014 from: 

  4. Ontario College of Family Physicians. (2013).  Poverty: A Clinical Tool for Primary Care in Ontario. Retrieved March 19, 2014 from: 

  5. The Conference Board of Canada. (2013).  Elderly Poverty.  Retrieved March 19, 2014 from: 

  6. A Guide to Programs and Services for Seniors in Ontario. (2018).  Queen's Printer for Ontario. Retrieved November 29, 2018 from: