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Breaking down barriers to active, engaged aging

How the RTOERO Foundation is helping combat social isolation in seniors

Social isolation can be twice as deadly as obesity; it’s as big a killer as diabetes; and it hikes the risk of dementia by 64 percent, concludes André Picard in All the Lonely People, UC Observer, June 2016.

Keeping older people socially connected and active has become the number one emerging issue facing seniors in Canada, finds a 2012 report from the International Federation of Aging.

A range of factors can trigger social isolation – for example disability, loss of a spouse, living alone, poverty, loss of a driver’s license, or change of residence.

Overcoming these barriers can be complex, requiring a coordinated approach from a variety of community organizations and services – to identify vulnerable, isolated seniors and support them to make connections with others in their community.

This is why the RTOERO Foundation became a supporting partner of the Hamilton Seniors Isolation Impact Plan. The project is a collaboration between seven community organizations in the Greater Hamilton Area, and aims to create a model that will guide the identification and engagement of isolated seniors.

“The Foundation’s $50,000 grant to the project for the creation a Social Participation Fund, will contribute to the costs of caregiver relief, program fees, and transportation for lower income project participants,” says Joanne Murphy, Chair of the Foundation Board of Directors.

“Thanks to our Foundation donors, poverty will not be a barrier to the successful inclusion of these more vulnerable, isolated seniors.”

Read more about the Hamilton Social Isolation Impact Project at or visit to read more about the Foundation’s Granting Program.