Healthy Lifestyle

Vulnerable Adults and Seniors

In 2011, there were over 95,000 seniors living alone in Toronto. Some seniors living alone may have difficulty taking care of themselves on a daily basis and do not have access to community help or support.

Public Health Nurses on the Vulnerable Adults and Seniors team respond to calls from family, community members and/or agencies with concerns about people living in challenging situations. The team provides services to vulnerable adults and seniors, with a focus on older adults over 55 years.

People who are vulnerable may be isolated or reclusive, have difficulty coping, and may be without easily identified supports such as family, friends or a doctor. They may also have:

  • Complex physical and/or mental health problems.
  • Unsanitary or unsafe living conditions such as bedbugs and hoarding.
  • Increased risk for eviction or becoming homeless.
  • Limited or no financial means.

Making a Service Request

If you know of an adult or senior who needs help taking care of themselves, is living in poor conditions, and/or has limited supports, Toronto Public Health's Vulnerable Adults and Seniors team may be able to help.

To make a service request:

  • Call Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 and ask to speak to a Public Health Nurse, or
  • E-mail us at with your concern and contact information.
     Terms and Conditions

The Vulnerable Adults and Seniors team will

  1. Initiate contact with the client within three business days.
  2. Help make a plan of action.
  3. Follow up with appropriate services and supports.

* Please note that the nursing services we offer are voluntary and require the consent of the individual.

Services We Offer

Home Visits

Public Health Nurses are available to visit vulnerable adults and seniors in their home. During home visits, Public Health Nurses offer:

  • Support to the client to get health and community services
  • Collaboration with other community agencies, city programs and divisions to seek resolution of issues, including bed bug infestations.


Protecting client's personal health information is an essential part of our commitment to quality public health services, programs, and professional nursing care. Once a service request has been opened, we are not able to share any information with others (including the referral source) without the client's consent.

    • For more information on privacy legislation, please see PHIPA and MFIPPA.

Follow-up During Extreme Hot or Cold Weather

During heat alerts from May 15 to September 30, and during periods of extreme cold weather from November 15 to April 15, Public Health Nurses are available to:

  • Follow-up with active VAST clients who are at high risk of injury, hospitalization or death due to extreme hot or cold weather.
  • Provide a presentation to adult and senior community groups regarding safety during extreme heat or cold weather alerts.

Find out more about Toronto Public Health's Heat Alerts and Extreme Cold Weather Alerts.

Presentations to Community Groups

VAS nurses can provide group presentations to seniors and agencies working with seniors on the following topics:

Community group presentation topics include:

  • Role of the Vulnerable Adults and Seniors program - An overview of the VAS program and its various activities with individuals, groups and networks/coalitions.
  • Safe Medication Use – Information and instructions to enhance safety for older adults and seniors taking medications, and who have difficulty managing activities of daily living and personal health care.
  • Nutrition and Food Security – Information on how to access affordable food, food banks, and healthy meal planning for older adults and seniors with limited funds.
  • Older Adults and Social Isolation – Discusses ways to reduce social isolation for older adults and seniors who have difficulty accessing social and community supports.
  • Home and Personal Safety – Information about ways to stay safe at home and in the community. Includes discussion about preventing falls, managing clutter, infestations, elder abuse and fraud prevention.
  • Extreme Weather Safety – Highlights the importance of safety precautions during periods of extreme heat and/or cold; specific to older adults and seniors who have very limited or no social/community supports.

To request a consultation or presentation, please call:

Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600,

Monday to Friday 8:30am – 4:30pm

or email

Consultation with Community Partners

Public Health Nurses are available to:

  • Consult with landlords, community service providers and other members of the community to discuss what services and resources may be available for vulnerable adults and seniors. This includes learning about the health care system and how to access City services.
  • Participate on networks, committees and coalitions that address hoarding, elder abuse and social determinants of health as they relate to at-risk adults and seniors.

* Please note that the nursing services we offer are voluntary and require the consent of the individual.