Advisory: Give yourself extra time when travelling by car to Toronto General Hospital, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, or Toronto Rehab University Centre. City of Toronto construction on University Ave. may cause delays.
At UHN, we strive to deliver Compassionate Care & Caring. Learn more about the services and supports that are available to you throughout your journey.
Our UHN programs and services are among the most advanced in the world. We have grouped our physicians,
staff, services and resources into 10 medical programs to meet the needs of our patients and help us make
the most of our resources.
At the heart of everything we do at UHN are our Healthcare Professionals. Refer a patient to one of our 12 medical programs. Learn more about the resources and opportunities available for professional growth.
University Health Network has grown to be one of the largest research and teaching hospital networks in Canada - pioneers in improving the lives of patients. Our long history of health professions education at Toronto General, Toronto Western, Princess Margaret and Toronto Rehab hospitals has consistently advanced the science of education.
University Health Network is a health care and medical research organization in
Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The scope of research and complexity of cases at UHN has made us a national and international
source for discovery, education and patient care.
Being touched by illness affects us in different ways. Many people want to give back to the community
and help others. At UHN, we welcome your contribution and offer different ways you can help so you can find one that suits you.
The Newsroom is the source for media looking for information about UHN or trying to connect with one
of our experts for an interview. It's also the place to find UHN media policies and catch up on our news stories, videos, media releases,
podcasts and more.
When Ron Beleno's father, Rey, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2007, he made it clear to his family that he wished to remain in his own home as long as possible. He felt that being at home would be most comfortable and would give him some semblance of independence.
Fortunately, Ron, who was in his late 20s at the time, was able to take on the role of caregiver and keep his ailing father at home until he passed away in early 2018.
While it wasn't easy to manage work and caregiving – he's an entrepreneur and an aging-in-place advocate with busy hours – he wanted to respect his dad's wishes, and he knew that having him at home would immeasurably improve the final years of his life.
"Aging in place really comes down to choice. It's about the values of an individual and their own wishes and dreams," Ron says. "Care facilities can be the right choice depending on the circumstances, but for many people, like my dad, leaving their own home means giving up comfort, family, their social networks and quality of life."
Ron was able to make at-home caregiving manageable, in part, because he put his computer science background to work. He implemented various technologies, from low-tech physical aids like poles and handgrips to keep his dad from falling, to higher-tech video cameras and GPS trackers that allowed him to keep an eye on his dad while he was away.
If other people had access to the same kind of technology that he did, then more seniors would likely stay at home after becoming ill, he believes. It's an issue that's become even more urgent in the face of COVID-19 as families do their best to keep loved ones away from viral spread in long-term care facilities, while simultaneously trying to have as little face-to-face contact as possible.
"Technically, anyone can age in place if they have unlimited resources, but we send people to care facilities because there are more resources and a better base of knowledge there," Ron notes. "If an at-home caregiver is supported by the right tools, the person who they're caring for can age in place much longer."
Ron's experience has led him to work as an advisor with AGE-WELL, a technology and aging network that supports the development of technologies and services to help people age gracefully at home. It is federally funded through the Networks of Centres of Excellence, and works with researchers across the country.
AGE-WELL's host institution is UHN, and its physical home is at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, which has created a special bond between the organizations. Researchers at KITE, the research arm of Toronto Rehab and a frequent collaborator with AGE-WELL, have long understood that remaining at home provides a better aging experience than a nursing home.
In 2019, AGE-WELL conducted a poll that canvassed Canadians aged 50 and older on their feelings about aging, health and technology. Eighty per cent of respondents aged 50 to 64 said that they are confident using current technology, such as smartphones and GPS systems. That percentage fell to 74 per cent for respondents over the age of 65. But more than 80 per cent of that group do think technological advancements can help them stay safe, independent and remain in their own homes longer.