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The Aging and Homelessness Project http://rgp.toronto.on.ca/aging_and_homel essness_project An Educational Outreach Project of the Specialized Geriatric Services at The Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and the University Health Network supported by the The Regional Geriatric Program of Toronto with the kind assistance of the CAMH's Psychiatric Assessment,Consultation and Education (PACE)East, the St. Michael's Hospital Crisis Intervention Team, and the administration and staff of the Women's Residence and Seaton House Shelter for Men.

Did you know that as many as 13% of the people using shelters in Toronto may be seniors and it is not uncommon to find homeless people who are 80 even 90 years old.

The Invisible Homeless Older Person Some facts about the older homeless person [Cohen,C.,1999, DeMallie, D. et al.1997,Seidman & Caplan et al.,1997] 1. Homeless people are physiologically "old" at 50. 2. The rate of functional decline is low given the high rate of physical illness. 3. The U.S. has 60,000 older homeless people, Canada may have 6000.

4. Alcohol consumption may be lower among older homeless people. 5. Some studies find low rates of mental illness. 6. The rate of diagnosable cognitive impairment among older homeless people 7. The occurance of dementia is about the same as for the general population of senior i.e. about 6%. 8. While, the general homeless population may have severe difficulties in executive, conceptual and motor functions, attention and memory.

The Death of Mad Dog Last year, George Chester, an activist for homeless people in Toronto and a senior citizen of great feeling and humour helped to raise our awareness of the needs of homeless seniors. Lynda Meneely, a nurse from the Women's Residence,a shelter for homeless women lent a hand. Our staff wanted to know whether homeless really was an older person's problem and whether, through the RGP's educational outreach services, there was anything that we could do to help. George started off by telling us the story of the death of Mad Dog. George was called to a local hospital one night because a homeless person was dying and had asked to speak to him. He went and found Mad Dog. He had only met Mad Dog once, weeks before, and could hardly remember what had happened when they had met. But as Mad Dog died he told George that he had asked to see him

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4. Alcohol consumption may be lower among older homeless people. 5. Some studies find low rates of mental illness. 6. The rate of diagnosabl...

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