Quick facts

Service type: Seniors
Eligibility: Adults 65+ or age 55 – 64 with geriatric presentation; living in Toronto (postal code starting with M) and in need of crisis support
Delivery: In person and by phone
Fee: Free
Program dates: 365 days/year
Partners: Reconnect, LOFT, South Riverdale Community Health Centre, Haven Toronto

Program description

COSS (Crisis Outreach Service for Seniors) is a mobile crisis response team. WoodGreen Community Services is the lead agency, and we partner with LOFT Community Services, Reconnect Community Health Services, South Riverdale Community Health Centre and Haven Toronto to offer crisis response to seniors across the City of Toronto (any postal code starting with M). COSS is publicly funded and free to seniors. Some services referred to as part of the program (such as home cleaning or meals on wheels will have fees attached).

 

Eligibility

Adults 65+ or age 55 – 64 with geriatric presentation; living in Toronto (postal code starting with M) and in need of crisis support.

 

Program operation hours

We operate from 9:00am – 5:00pm every day of the year, and teams of 2 crisis workers go out to make initial visits. There are no waitlists for service. The initial visit will usually happen between 24 – 72 hours after making the referrals, based on a standardized assessment.

 

Program delivery

If we assess the senior is in crisis and if they agree to working with us, then we assign a specific crisis worker/crisis specialist who offers case management, system navigation, referrals to supports, crisis de-escalation and supportive counseling for approximately 6 – 8 weeks. If they need ongoing support, we will refer to other teams for support up to a year.

 

Often, COSS clients have a combination of physical and mental/cognitive health conditions and usually they don’t have family supports or their caregivers are experiencing burnout.

 

We offer phone and in-person interpretation services in 100+ languages, including American Sign Language.

 

COSS (Crisis Outreach for Seniors) team

COSS teams are inter-disciplinary, employing Social Workers, Nurse Practitioners and Behaviour Consultants. We also have access to a Geriatric Psychiatrist. Clients are assessed and supported holistically. If they do not have access to primary care, our team will help them directly or make linkages.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I make a referral to COSS?

    Call Toronto Seniors Helpline (416-217-2077) and identify that you/someone is in need of crisis support.

  • How do you define a senior?

    We define a senior as 65+, but COSS can also support older adults who are 55 – 64 who have geriatric presentation, such as early onset dementia or chronic health conditions that have led to earlier aging. Our specialty is the geriatric population.

  • Who can make a referral?

    Anyone. Seniors themselves, family members, care coordinators, doctors, hospitals, police, neighbours, housing providers

  • Will the senior know I called about them?

    If you do not feel comfortable with the senior knowing that you suggested COSS support them, please indicate this to the staff when making the referral phone call and you can be anonymous.

  • How do you define crisis?

    We define crisis as: experiencing a change which makes someone feel uncomfortable and which makes them feel like they are unable to cope in their usual way. An acute change has happened, and the person in crisis does not have the supports in place to mitigate this change in their life.

  • Does a senior need to agree to support?

    COSS does not need consent to make an initial visit, but in order to continue to work with seniors, we need their consent (or the consent of their substitute decision maker if they have been deemed incapable of decision-making).

  • How will COSS help?

    If people agree to work with us, the COSS team can come in, assess the situation, and help mitigate and resolve the crisis; putting in crisis case management, necessary supports/referrals, offering crisis de-escalation, supportive counseling and system navigation.

  • What are some common scenarios on COSS?

    Seniors not caring for themselves, concerning behaviours related to dementia/mental health/substance use, possible elder abuse, bed bugs, hoarding, precarious housing, not coping well in the community, lack of supports/coordination

  • Does COSS help seniors who are homeless/about to be evicted?

    COSS staff are not housing workers, and we do not have access to housing units. COSS staff can support with eviction prevention/housing advocacy, but if the crisis is related solely to housing, a housing help team would be more appropriate.

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Registration

 

For assistance, please call Toronto Seniors Helpline at (416) 217-2077.

Contact information

Toronto Seniors Helpline

(416) 217-2077

Location

Response team can be called to clients’ homes and community locations (Toronto postal codes starting with M).

Hours

Every day (including holidays)

9 AM 5 PM

 

Download the Crisis Outreach for Seniors program flyer here

Program Partners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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