INCommunities/211 developed the Older Adult Infolink site in partnership with the Age-Friendly Niagara Council. The site allows for easier, enhanced and more centralized access to information about community services for older adults in Niagara. The site is made possible through generous funding from the Niagara Community Foundation.
History of the Niagara Aging Strategy and Action Plan as it relates to Older Adult Infolink
From 2017 to 2019, Age-Friendly Niagara, in partnership with Niagara Connects, engaged the Niagara-wide community in implementing the Niagara Aging Strategy & Action Plan (NASAP, 2015) as a “living document” with 5 overarching goals:
Elevate the profile, level of leadership and engagement of seniors in the community
Facilitate an active and positive lifestyle for all seniors
Optimize the health and wellness of seniors
Improve access and utilization of services and supports
Improve and maintain a supportive infrastructure
The NASAP goals were advanced with a focus on:
Community Engagement and Communication
Recreation, Learning and Leisure
Improved Services, Systems and Infrastructure
This work called for the “development of a community resource compiling services, organizations, and programs geared toward older adults, their family and caregivers, and local service providers”.
In Dec. 2020, the Age-Friendly Niagara Network, in partnership with INCommunities/211 and Niagara Connects, was awarded Niagara Community Foundation funding to develop this new resource. As a result, in December, 2021, the Older Adult Infolink site for Niagara was launched.
Age-Friendly Niagara and INCommunities work together to ensure ongoing sustainability and accuracy of the information accessed through the Older Adult Infolink site for Niagara. The site content categories draw directly from the 211 community service database. This allows for the information to be maintained, accurate and up to date with little to no ongoing maintenance required from Age-Friendly Niagara.
A key feature included at the bottom of the Older Adult Infolink home page is a centralized list of Recreation and Leisure Guides for all 12 local municipalities in the Niagara region. The links to these guides are the only information currently included on the Older Adult Infolink site which does not pull directly from the 211 database. These particular links require regular updating by Age-Friendly Niagara, in partnership with Niagara’s local municipalities. By clicking on any of the 12 local municipalities listed in the ‘Local Community Leisure Guides in Niagara’ section of the Older Adult Infolink site homepage, visitors will see a separate window open, with the corresponding leisure guide.
Content on the Older Adult Infolink site is organized using the Living in Niagara categories. These categories are the basis of the Living in Niagara quality of life report, facilitated by Niagara Connects.
Each Living in Niagara category is described in more detail once you click on the category, and is followed by subcategories of what a site visitor can find in each section. A short paragraph appears which explains what is included in each category, and provides a list of subcategories which site visitors can click on to access information. Following is a complete list.
Arts, Culture and Heritage
This category includes programs, services and sites related to creative expression and a diverse range of arts and cultural expression, as well as opportunities to engage with local history/Niagara’s heritage. This includes but is not limited to: local museums, artist centers, historical sites and organizations, theatre, and performing arts.
Museums, Heritage, Galleries and Historical Societies
Theatre and Music
This category relates to programs and services that increase social participation and promote inclusion – creating opportunities for people to feel a sense of belonging and connection to the Niagara community.
This includes but is not limited to: advocacy groups, crisis lines, outreach services for specific issues, social clubs, seniors’ centers, services for newcomers, and services for Indigenous Peoples.
Advocacy and Advisory Groups
Members of Parliament
Newcomer Settlement Services
Social Clubs and Friendly Outreach Services
Warmlines and Crisis Lines
This category focuses on services that help increase safety at home, in our neighbourhoods and our community. This includes but is not limited to: Police services, services related to crime and abuse, community legal services, and ways to contact government representatives such as MPs and MPPs.
Abuse/Violence Related Support
Safety and Support
Legal Information, Advocacy and Consumer Assistance
Members of Parliament
This category provides programs and services related to financial needs. This includes: Government-provided income services (such as Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program), financial aid/support programs, programs to help with access to food, income tax preparation services, programs that help with medical expenses, and thrift shops
Income Supports and Tax Services
Home Delivered Meals
Housing Subsidy and Utility Assistance
Assistive Technology Expense Assistance and Medical Equipment Donation Programs
This category provides programs, services, and organizations related to our natural environment, including those focused on environmental conservation. This includes but is not limited to: conservation organizations and clubs, associations related to environmental wellness, and programs for experiencing or learning more about nature
Health & Wellness
This category provides health and human services within Niagara, including those related to physical and mental wellness. This includes but is not limited to: hospitals, walk in clinics, home health care services, falls prevention, physiotherapy/rehabilitation, condition specific care (e.g. foot care, dementia services, cancer services), support for addictions and substance use, general wellness support, bereavement, and abuse/violence related services.
Abuse/Violence Related Support
Condition Specific Care and Health/Disability Support Groups
Dementia/Alzheimer Supports and Services
Falls Prevention Programs/Education
Hospitals and Diagnostic Imaging/Radiology
Home Health Care, Palliative Care, Respite Care and Homemaker Assistance
Mental Health Services and Adult Protective Services
Physiotherapy Programs and Rehabilitation
Physician Referrals and Medical Information Services
Walk-In Medical Clinics
Warmlines and Crisis Lines
Housing & Shelter
This category focuses on services, programs and options related to housing. This includes but is not limited to: local retirement homes (subsidized and market rent), long term care, and options for emergency housing (e.g. shelters).
Retirement Homes and Apartments
Long Term Care Homes
Shelters and Housing Support/Assistance
Learning & Education
This category provides programs and services that provide opportunities for lifelong learning This includes but is not limited to: organizations specific to learning for older adults, post-secondary institutions, and local public libraries.
This category provides programs and services related to transportation and licensing for drivers. This includes but is not limited to: services specific to older adults, public transportation options, out-of-town transportation options, and where to go regarding licensing questions for drivers.
Senior Ride Programs and Disability Related Transportation
Local Public Transit
Out of Town Transportation
Driver’s License Testing and Renewal
Work & Employment
This category focuses on programs and services related to employment, job-searching, and employment skills. This includes but is not limited to: employment centres, literacy and basic skills programs, and connecting to volunteering opportunities.
While creating the site, INCommunities and Niagara Connects worked with Age-Friendly Niagara volunteers. Focus group sessions helped to ensure the site would best meet the needs of, and be easily navigated by, older adults, their families and caregivers in our community.
Older adults were the driver in creating this site, and were instrumental as beta-testers to ensure its functionality. As a result, several key features of the site were put in place, including:
The full list of categories and sub-categories is available at all times when users are navigating through the site. The list can be found on the left side of the site when it is opened in full screen.
A centralized list of all 12 local municipal Recreation and Leisure Guides is provided at the bottom of the Older Adult Infolink home page. These guides are the only outside links currently on the Older Adult Infolink site which are not pulled directly from the 211 database. Thus, they require regular updating by Age-Friendly Niagara, in partnership with the local municipalities across the Niagara region. When users click on the local municipality name, a separate window opens up, with the corresponding municipal guide.
211 includes and maintains records for social services and government services which serve people in the Niagara region.
211 does not include information about for-profit organizations unless they are meeting a need that is not sufficiently supported by non-profit or government services (for example, there are long waits for mental health services that are government-funded, thus 211 does include private counsellors who indicate they offer their services on a sliding scale geared to income).
For more information about what is included/excluded in the 211 database, click here.
For a detailed overview of how to navigate the Older Adult Infolink, see the video to the right (desktop) or below (mobile).
If you would like more information about the Older Adult Infolink, you may access the following pre-recorded (December 2021) webinar that discusses updates to the work of Age-Friendly Niagara, and an overview of Niagara Older Adult Infolink.
To view the webinar, click here. If you would specifically like information about the Older Adult Infolink, you can fast forward to 19 minutes.
To view other resources from this webinar, click here.
To access the complete Niagara 211 database, please click here.
If you would like help navigating the records on 211, please dial 2-1-1 on your phone to speak with a Community Resource Specialist. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.*
*NOTE: there are no support staff for the Niagara Older Adult Infolink specifically. Instead you will be accessing 211 staff that will help you navigate community information as it exists in the 211 database NOT the Niagara Older Adult Infolink.