Keep up to date with the latest North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized Gericatric Services news releases, updates and more!
February 14, 2022

Changes to Geriatric Medicine Services

This communication provides notice to partners of the following changes within the North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized Geriatric Services (NSM SGS) program effective February 14, 2022.
•  A new NSM SGS program Referral Form
•  Changes in access to geriatric medicine team services across NSM sub-regions.


The NSM SGS program was established in 2016 to advance the care of frail older adults and caregivers in the NSM region. Since 2016 we have been redesigning our services and building partnerships with area providers. Early redesign work focused on our geriatric mental health team. More recently, we have been redesigning our geriatric medicine team by broadening our original focus on falls (through the Integrated Regional Falls Program – IRFP) to a more comprehensive geriatric medicine focus. As part of the redesign, we received approval from Ontario Health Central Region to sunset our Integrated Regional Falls Program (IRFP). This is an important next step in creating an innovative service that can work with our sub-region Ontario Health Team partners to advance local integrated specialized geriatric medicine services for frail older adults and their caregivers. The redesign plan:
•  Is supported by our regional Seniors Health Working Group, a sub-committee of the Central Ontario Health Team for Specialized Populations;
•  Aligns with our clinical design hub-and-spoke model and advances the integration of specialized geriatric medicine and geriatric mental health services across the region; and,
•  Helps us continue to improve patient outcomes, build system capacity, make better use of specialized resources and, over time, simplify access to specialized geriatric services.


NSM SGS Referral Form: Effective February 14, 2022 we will be using a new referral form for our program and services. We recognize it will take time for partners to transition to the new form. As we receive old forms we will follow-up with referring sources to ensure they are aware a new form is available. A pdf fillable form is attached. It can also be found on the Clinical Services page of our website
Geriatric Medicine Services:
•  All referrals received in our Central Intake are reviewed and triaged to the most appropriate available specialized geriatric service based on patient needs.
•  The NSM SGS program has been working with local partners to better integrate geriatric medicine team services across all sub-regions. This work is at varying stages of progress.
•  As of February 14, 2022 the NSM SGS program will sunset IRFP and complete any outstanding referrals on our waitlist over the coming months. During this transition period, access to geriatric medicine team services will vary across NSM sub-regions.

View the memo below to learn more about how to access Geriatric Medicine team services for each area within North Simcoe Muskoka.

February 11, 2022

Keeping Older Adults in Long Term Care Homes Engaged & Active Amid Omicron

Residents of area long-term care homes have endured a long, hard two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over that time, there were lockdowns that prevented them from seeing family and friends and many activities in their homes were modified or even canceled to align with public health measures. These changes have all had a significant impact on our older adults.

“The restrictions in these settings that are meant to keep older adults safe are also resulting in isolation and loneliness,” says Sandra Easson-Bruno, Director, North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized

Geriatrics Services. “As we make our way through this wave, it’s really important that we keep these older adults active and engaged. It’s so important for their physical, mental and emotional health”.

“For those living with dementia, staying socially engaged and being cognitively stimulated are key to overall quality of life,” Laura Lynn Bourassa, Manager of Education and Support Programs with the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County adds.

To support the residents and staff of area long-term care homes, the Alzheimer Society of Muskoka, Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County and North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized Geriatric Services partnered together to develop Grab & Go Activity Kits. These kits, which included things like games, art materials, CD players, activity sheets and more, were delivered to all 31 long-term care homes across the Simcoe County and Muskoka region, including Parry Sound.

“During these restrictive periods we saw persons living with dementia experience greater cognitive decline,” says Bourassa. “These kits aim to provide opportunities for enrichment to ward off the negative effects of isolation.”

At the Bob Rumball Home for the Deaf in Barrie, the kits came at the perfect time.

“Receiving this activity kit was a huge blessing,” says Jessica Dyke, Coordinator of Programs at the home. “When the residents are alone in their rooms you can really see that lack of stimulation makes them decline faster. These activities are great to keep their minds active and encourage staff to participate with them and interact more.”

The Pines in Muskoka extended “a huge thank you for the recent donation. As you know, these are challenging times right now and to have extra resources for our residents will provide many hours of sensory stimulation. The staff and residents were excited to see the markers, fidget items, stuffed animals, stereos etc... Thank you for the great work that you do for our community!”

January 10, 2022

Ensuring North Simcoe Muskoka Seniors Remain Safe Amid COVID-19

The North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized Geriatric Services program, Alzheimer Society Muskoka, Alzheimer Society Simcoe County, Prevention of Seniors Abuse Network Simcoe County and Barrie Police want to ensure that older adults and their caregivers remain safe amid continued COVID-19 restrictions. 

With the Omicron variant causing COVID-19 cases to rise again in the region and province, restrictions will continue to isolate our older adults and their caregivers. Rising cases, fewer health care providers, renewed restrictions, shorter daylight hours and colder temperatures, can contribute to several key safety concerns for our older adults: 

  • Wandering – for older adults with dementia who may wander, their health and well-being is at risk if they wander from their homes without the knowledge of their caregivers; 
  • Elder Abuse – for caregivers, the burden of care can become stressful putting older adults at risk for intentional or unintentional elder abuse, including neglect.
  • Cyber-security – for older adults and caregivers who are relying more on technology to stay connected with loved ones and to support contact with health care providers, cyber-security is a risk. 

Across the region a variety of resources do exist to support older adults and caregivers reduce risk, like the Alzheimer Society of Ontario’s Finding Your Way program, MedicAlert®Safely Home® program, Project Lifesaver, It’s Not Right resources targeting elder abuse, and both Cyber-Seniors and Telus-Wise which promote cyber safety. 

Be a good neighbour. If you know or suspect an older adult and/or caregiver is at risk, reach out to offer a hand. You can also encourage families and friends to access the resources available online. Together, we can ensure we keep our seniors as safe as possible during COVID-19! 

For information on caring for seniors, please visit the NSM SGS website’s COVID-19 web page. 

Learn more about resources available in the document linked below. 

Our Twitter Feed

Recent Updates

Follow Us on Twitter