So often when I sit at planning tables here in Prince Edward County the topic of finding information comes up. People need information because with it comes the power to make choices that affect your life.
I’m a big fan of the “211” system. You read that right, it’s 211. I just received “Improving Access for Better Outcomes” which is the annual report for the organization that offers 211. The number of telephone calls from each county in Ontario is included in this report and I was astonished to see that only 99 calls were made to 211 from Prince Edward County. Our County is third last in fact.
The report starts with the words “With over 60,000 programs and services available in Ontario, delivered by more than 30,000 non-profit, for-profit and governmental organizations, finding help can be challenging… particularly for those with complex or multiple needs. 211 is working with partners to break down barriers and improve outcomes.”
211 is an incredibly valuable resource for people to use. The website at www.211ontario.ca has information on more than 147,700 services in Ontario. Just now I searched “seniors” in “Picton”. The database brought up 5,856 entries. Give it a try. The database defaults to “all entries”, however, so once you do the first search click the button “refine” and choose “10 km” so it then brings up services within 10 km of Picton. Click “apply” and you will get 19 entries for seniors services within 10 km of Picton. 211 can be found in both Canada and the U.S.
Maybe you’re saying “Well, that’s all fine and good if you have a computer, but I don’t have one”. Then you can do one of two things – you can go to your local library and use their computer for which they will even provide assistance – or you can use your phone to call 211 which is a three-digit phone number.
When you call 211 you will reach a certified information and referral specialist. These people are understanding and knowledgeable, and work hard to connect you with the services you need. The phone service is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, and is available in more than 150 languages. In 2017 290,582 calls for non-emergency help were answered by 211 across the province. Its web site received 298,436 visits.
Knowing where to find information goes a long way to creating a better life for yourself, your family and friends. Give 211 a try and let me know how it works for you.
Octoberfest social in Picton
Come to our next Seniors Luncheon Social Oct. 3 and enjoy the meal that features food from the country of Germany. Following the luncheon there will be a presentation on all things German. Reserve by the Tuesday prior at noon by calling 613-476-7493.
Fitness program starting soon
The County Seniors Centre has Fitness 4 Seniors starting in Bloomfield on Oct. 1 and a course on writing your memoirs on Oct. 2 in Hillier. Meditation starts in Picton on Oct. 4. Games and cards on Oct. 4 in Bloomfield. Walking programs start on Oct. 9. Call for details and to sign up.
-Debbie MacDonald Moynes