In partnership with Humber College and with funding provided by United Way Greater Toronto’s Allan Slaight Seniors Fund, ESS Support Services has launched a new program called the H.E.A.R.T.S Caregiver Program. This program establishes professional supports and focused services to address the unique and underserved needs, challenges, and future planning of older adults caring for family members with developmental disabilities. Working in partnership with Humber College, Community Living Central York, and Community Living York South this program takes a “whole family approach” in taking care of the needs of both the caregiver and their loved one.
Using a therapeutic framework, caregivers are provided a monthly virtual support group as a safe space to talk, exchange personal experiences, help alleviate stress, and potential caregiver burnout. A dedicated Case Manager has been assigned to provide caregivers with individualized support and care planning. A series of educational modules are being developed to deliver training (Fall 2021) on topics to support caregivers such as stress reduction, mental health and well-being, accessibility of services, and advance care planning. More information is available on the HEARTS Caregiver Program webpage.