Health and Wellness

Aging with A Developmental Disability – Lifestyle & Health Considerations

Normal Aging Process

Tip sheets and workshop describing the likely changes to their body systems and functioning abilities as someone ages and strategies to help support a person with an intellectual disability exhibiting these changes.


Related articles

Original material compiled by Jane Powell of L’Arche Ontario. Adapted with permission from

Normal Aging – What we Know and How it Impacts Individuals with a Developmental Disability

Presenter: Brenda Elias, Faculty, Non Profit and Voluntary Sector Management, Ryerson University and Social Foundations of Gerontology, Family & Community Social Services, University of Guelph-Humber

  • What is Ontario’s Aging in Place Policy?
  • Psychosocial aspects of aging
  • Critical importance of social networks for maintaining health and wellbeing as we age

  • Leisure, meaningful activities
  • Creating an Age-Friendly Community


Nursing Presentation: Sensory

Centennial College Nursing Students Presentation Series 2012: Sensory changes that occur with the elderly and strategies to overcome the impacts


Nutrition and Healthy Eating

Nutrition and Related Concerns

Presenter: Susan Hui

Some of the common concerns around nutrition and eating as they relate to aging and some strategies that can be used to help maintain the nutritional level of those we support.


Exercise Tips

Fall Prevention

Nursing Presentation: Fall Prevention

Centennial College Nursing Students Presentation Series 2012: Fall prevention risk assessments and strategies to prevent falls and fall injuries.


The Role of the Care Provider in the Prevention of Foot Complications

The focus of this article is about maintaining foot health and the caregiver’s role in preventing foot complications. Read more

A talk about health

Dr. Yona Lunsky talks about things we do to feel healthy, when we feel sick and how to get help from doctors and nurses to a group of adults with developmental disabilities and their families.


Health Booklets

The My Health Booklets are a series of health education booklets produced by Surrey Place Centre and funded by the Ontario Government, Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. The purpose for the series is to offer guidance to people with developmental disabilities in a clear and simple manner. The series consists of eight booklets now available online, with subjects ranging from general health issues to more specific health topics.

Not Skirting the Issue: Discovering Ways to End Poor Health Care for Women with Developmental Disabilities

Women with developmental disabilities are less likely than other women in Ontario to have a pap smear which is how doctors screen for cervical cancer. They are also less likely to get a mammogram to detect breast cancer. Why does this matter? If we have health problems and they aren’t detected early, small problems can become big ones, and can even lead to death. Every woman has a right to get health care early before problems become too serious. Read more

Movember and Men’s Health: What You Should Know!

While men in general can have health problems that they often ignore because they don’t like to talk about their health and how they are feeling, having a disability makes it even harder. Read more

Medication, Education and Advocacy: Improving How People With Developmental Disabilities Use Medication

Medication use is very common for individuals with developmental disabilities. But medications can also lead to problems when you struggle with how to report whether a medication helps or not, or when others aren’t alert to the impact of the side effects. Read more

NEW Scoop on Poop

Being regular, particularly in adulthood, is an “irregular” conversation starter. It is one of those topics that seem too “private” or perhaps too “stinky” to discuss in public. But the reality is that how we feel each day is closely tied to our bowels. Read more

Going to the Doctor

Going to the Doctor

When you go for a health visit, the doctor will want to know a lot about you. The doctor needs to know this information to be able to help you better. For example, the doctor might ask you questions about your medication, how you are feeling or if you have been feeling sick. That is a lot of information you need to think of, so it might be helpful to have some of this information written down before you go. Rad more

Primary Health Care of Adults with Developmental Disabilities Guidelines

The Developmental Disabilities Primary Care Initiative has brought together clinicians with expertise in the care of adults with developmental disabilities (DD) to improve primary care and quality of life for adults with developmental disabilities (DD). Primary Health Care of Adults with Developmental Disabilities Guidelines

With leadership and coordination from Surrey Place Centre, and funding from the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and Surrey Place Centre Foundation, Guidelines and Tools have been developed to help primary care providers to follow best practices in the care of these patients. These guidelines and tools are utilized in the Training Course for primary care providers that are offered on a yearly basis.

Tools for caregivers

A tool kit for caregivers has just been added to the guidelines for primary health care provider’s guidelines. This tool kit includes Tools for general health care, Behavioural and Mental Health Tools, seizure tools and monitoring charts. Caregivers tool kit

Today’s Healthcare Visit (CAMH)

A worksheet you can use to write information down before a health care visit. read more

Hurry Up and Wait Your Turn: How to win at the waiting game

The waiting room can be a very difficult and often chaotic environment for anyone. Below are some helpful tips and tricks to help win the waiting game. It is important to remember that the way one can support a person during a doctor’s visit will depend on their individual needs and preferences. read more

Going To the Hospital

Going to the Hospital

You might need to go to the hospital sometime when you are sick. Sometimes you might go to the hospital in an emergency. Other times, you might be going to the hospital for an operation or a test that has been planned for a long time. Most people who work at the hospital will be new to you, so it is helpful to be prepared and give them ideas about how they can help you best. Read more

How to prepare for a visit to the hospital

There are many things that you can do to help be more prepared for going to the hospital. One way is by printing and filling out a Health Passport. This is a helpful worksheet where you can write down important information about yourself. These are things like: your favourite food and drinks; things that help you to feel safe and relaxed; things that you don’t like; people that support you; your health conditions. Read more

What to expect when you go to the ER with Yona Lunsky (CAMH)

This brief clip with Dr. Yona Lunsky (CAMH) walks through what occurs at a visit to the emergency department with some tips on how to make the most of the visit. This video is designed for use for people with developmental disability and their families. Play

Using emergency services: What clients with developmental disabilities should expect

Jillian Carlyle of the CAMH Dual Diagnosis Service talks about what clients and families should expect and prepare for when going the emergency department. Play

Exit Interview

It is very important to understand what happened at any hospital visit. You need to remember what the doctors and the hospital team said, and to do things they suggested when you go home. You can fill out the Exit Interview with someone from the hospital before you leave to help make remembering easier. Read more

Strategies for caring for people with developmental disabilities in medical settings

Useful strategies to improve communications and gather more comprehensive information on people with developmental disabilities who come to medical settings requiring medical support.


Guidelines for Managing the Client with Intellectual Disability in the Emergency Room

Based on the psychiatry residency curriculum at the University of Toronto, which includes teaching in and exposure to developmental disabilities (DD), Guidelines for Managing the Client with Intellectual Disability in the Emergency Room can contribute to a better outcome for ER clients and the ER staff who provide care. Guidelines for Managing the Client with Intellectual Disability in the Emergency Room

These valuable guidelines, written for psychiatric residents and for those who work in any hospital with a psychiatric unit, address issues that care providers experience when attending to the person with DD in crisis. Care providers will learn how to optimize the clinical encounter, and to assess the complex medical and mental health issues that often arise for people with DD. The guidelines also present a systematic approach to treatment and triage.

H-CARDD (Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities)

H-CARDD aims to improve health care for individuals with developmental disabilities by sharing different tools and information we and others have created to help those with disabilities get the best health care they can. We developed two toolkits to assist clinicians and primary care and emergency care providers to improve their practices with patients with developmental disabilities. read more

Toronto Central Health Integration Network (LHIN) Overview: Who We Are

After the presentation Kim gives a description about her role as a care coordinator for client’s that receive services/supports through TC LHIN and how this intersects with the developmental sector services/supports.

Community Networks of Specialized Care

The purpose of the Community Networks of Specialized Care is to enhance service to adults with a developmental disability who need specialized care for co-existing mental health and or/ behavioural issues in Ontario. There are 4 networks: Northern Region, Southern Region, Eastern Region and Central Region.

Palliative Care

Palliative care can be separated into three stages. These stages enable the caregiver to plan and work with expected outcomes. In each of these stages symptom management is required, the following pages cover the most common symptoms. Material written by Aakilah Ade, Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Consultant.

Palliative Care and Symptom Management

Palliative Pain and Symptom Management

Presenter: Tracey Human, RN, Palliative Pain Symptom Management Consultation Service for Toronto

Considerations for intellectual and physical disability communities of practice – palliative care, hospice, collaborative care planning.


Community Networks of Specialized Care

The purpose of the Community Networks of Specialized Care is to enhance service to adults with a developmental disability who need specialized care for co-existing mental health and or/ behavioural issues in Ontario. There are 4 networks: Northern Region, Southern Region, Eastern Region and Central Region.

Health and Wellness for Staff and Family caregivers

Developmental Sector Professionals’ Stress-related Health

Professional Fatigue: Surviving the Front Lines (Shared Learning Forum November 2013)

Presented by: Angie Gonzales, RN MN Health Care Facilitator, Toronto Network of Specialized Care, Surrey Place Centre


Mindfulness Tools for Social Workers

Professional Fatigue: Surviving the Front Lines (Shared Learning Forum November 2013)

Presented by: Sue Hutton, Community Living Toronto


Comfort Care


Comfort Care Basket

Comfort Care is an essential part of medical care at the end of life. It is care that helps or soothes a person who is dying. The goal is to prevent or relieve suffering as much as possible while respecting the dying person’s wishes. Seven Oaks Long Term Care Home has developed a Comfort Care Basket program. The Comfort Care Basket is for the resident who is currently receiving comfort care support, their family and friends in hope that it will make their time together as comfortable as possible. This guide details how to create a Comfort Care Basket, ideas about what you can do to provide comfort care and specific protocols for various cultural and religious beliefs. Read more »

As Death Approaches: A Guide to Symptoms and Comfort

Death comes differently for every person, and your loved ones death will be unique. However, there are changes that are commonly part of this final phase of life. You may see these in your loved one. This handout explains some of these changes and gives ideas about what you can do to provide care and comfort. This information may help you anticipate the changes you may see in your loved one and to go forward with more peace and confidence. Read more »

Palliative and End of Life Care Glossary

A glossary of palliative and end of life terms and definitions Read more »

Different cultural beliefs at time of death

Living in a society represented by many cultures and religious beliefs means that memorable events can be celebrated differently. In this section we look at the different religious beliefs surrounding death & dying and what funeral or burial rituals may be undertaken. Read more »