Projects we fund

Through our annual grant program, we fund three key areas related to aging:

  • Research to better understand and address the complex needs of older adults
  • Post-secondary training in the field of geriatrics and gerontology
  • Innovative projects that promote social engagement

Our grants fall into two funding streams that are connected to the goals in our strategic plan:

  • Geriatric healthcare
  • Social isolation

Learn more about applying for a grant

Current projects

Mentally healthy living after social distancing

Date: ongoing

Grant amount: $83,039

Funding stream: social isolation

Grantee/partners: Living well research team from the University of Alberta, Simon Fraser University and Memorial University

Summary: The project will analyze existing research on mental health support strategies and conduct a nationwide survey with older Canadians, including RTOERO members, about older Canadians’ strategies to reduce stress, fear, anxiety, and loneliness. Findings will be published in research papers and summarized into a recipe book for RTOERO members and the general public that outlines what older adults can do to support their wellbeing, drawing in the advice from older Canadians involved in the study. The cookbook will feature anxiety-lessening strategies, sage advice and simple, healthy comfort food recipes. Recipes will be designed by a research chef from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. It’s expected the research will get underway in spring 2022 and initial findings will be available in late fall 2022. 

Recognizing the signs of social isolation

Date: ongoing

Grant amount: $25,000

Funding stream: social isolation

Grantee/partners: Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) at the University of Waterloo

Summary: The goal of the project is to train frontline workers and community members to recognize isolated caregivers and isolated seniors, and to provide practical assistance and intervention strategies. This project will create a community conversation guide to be used by residents and caregivers in Woolwich, ON. The guide will be promoted as a practical resource for other neighbouring municipalities in Waterloo Region and beyond.

Isolation and Loneliness Pathways in Family Centred Dementia Care in NE Ontario

Date: ongoing

Grant amount: $25,000

Funding stream: Social isolation

Grantee/partners: Nipissing University

Summary: The researchers at Nipissing will investigate common routes to social isolation and loneliness for someone living with dementia in northeastern Ontario. The outputs of the project include educational resources for professionals and families to both recognize social isolation and loneliness, and implement coping strategies for care partners and people living with dementia.

Peel Senior Connectors

Date: Ongoing

Grant amount: $25,000

Funding stream: Social isolation

Grantee/partners: Family services of Peel, in collaboration with the Peel Elder Abuse Prevention Network (PEAPN), made up of 50 community support organizations across the region

Summary: This project aims to reduce social isolation, improve system navigation, and engage immigrant seniors through the development of a Senior Connector Program in Peel region. Peel Senior Connector volunteers will provide seniors, their families, and caregivers with information about resources and services available to them. It will involve, and will benefit, members of Peel region’s large immigrant communities where language is a barrier to accessing community services.

Past projects

Establishing Best Policies and Practices for Understanding and Addressing Social Isolation in Older Canadians

Date: 2018-2022

Grant amount: $50,000

Funding stream: Social isolation

Grantee/partners: National Institute on Ageing (NIA), Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University

Focus area: Policy Development

Summary: The aim of this project was to:

  1. Research, profile and map the best and emerging policies and practices and policies with regard to social isolation
  2. Synthesize the evidence on social isolation and co-create knowledge translation tools with older adults and other stakeholders
  3. Identify practicable solutions and policies that can be used by governments, health systems, and individuals to comprehensively target social isolation

Learn more: Social isolation and loneliness: what’s the difference, and what can we do?

Speaking Up and Speaking Out: A toolkit for healthcare professionals caring for older LGBTQ+ adults facing the end of their lives

Date: 2016-2017

Grant amount: $24,750

Funding stream: Geriatrics and gerontology

Grantee/partners: Northern Ontario School of Medicine, University of Guelph, University of Ottawa and Lakehead University

Summary: The objectives of the project were to promote and enhance awareness of the unique needs of older adults who identify as LGBTQ+ as they enter late stages of life, and to develop an interactive training and educational tool to assist healthcare providers to provide inclusive, safe and comprehensive care. The project incorporates both research and training and will benefit LGBTQ+ seniors across Ontario – in urban, rural and remote communities.

Evaluation of a Geriatric Education Program for Orthopedic Surgery Residents

Date: 2016-2017

Grant amount: $24,655

Funding stream: Geriatrics and gerontology

Grantee/partners: Mount Sinai Hospital, University of Toronto

Summary: This mandatory orthogeriatrics rotation aimed to strengthen geriatric competencies among orthopedic trainees, leading to a new generation of orthopedic surgeons better equipped for the care of our growing older adult population.

Guelph Youth-Seniors Farm at St. Joseph’s

Date: 2017

Grant amount: $25,000

Funding stream: Social isolation

Grantee/partners: St. Joseph’s Health Centre, Everdale Environmental Learning Centre

Summary: The project aimed to reduce social isolation for seniors and youth by creating an urban farm that empowers all participants to work together to create positive community change and personal growth. Everdale Environmental Learning Centre, a farming incubator, partnered with St. Joseph’s Health Centre to identify seniors who were vulnerable due to isolation and engaged and empowered them to work with a group of students to plant, harvest and prepare meals together.

Online Dementia Education program

Date:  2017-2018

Grant amount: $24,989

Funding stream: Geriatrics and gerontology

Grantee/partners: Ryerson University, in collaboration with the Association for Gerontology Education, McMaster University

Summary: The project aimed to build students’ capacity to support patients with dementia who display challenging behaviours with non-medical intervention. The project results were shared at the following conferences: 32nd Annual Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International, Kyoto, Japan; 19th Biennial Conference, Canadian Gerontological Nursing Association, Ottawa; 46th Annual Scientific and Education Meeting of the Canadian Association on Gerontology, Winnipeg.

Older Adults in Focus: A Multigenerational and Multimedia Project to Reduce Social Isolation in Later Life

Date: 2017-2018

Grant amount: $25,000

Funding stream: Social isolation

Grantee/partners: Ottawa Council on Aging, Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre, Ottawa Senior Pride Network, United Way

Summary: The project focused on diversity in Ottawa to capture the story of older adults on film and share with others to learn and benefit from their experiences.

Addressing Social Isolation Among Seniors in Prince Edward County

Date: 2017-2018

Grant amount: $25,000

Funding stream: Social isolation

Grantee/partners: Prince Edward County Community Care for Seniors, in collaboration with local first responders, letter carriers and libraries.

Summary: Working with multiple community partners, this project resulted in the coordination of efforts with organizations connecting with isolated seniors, to identify socially isolated seniors, promote and enhance the rural mail couriers alert program, and review the feasibility of re-establishing the Home Alone Program. Read more about the outcomes of the project.

Volunteer-administered cognitive stimulation to enhance the quality of life of adults aging in long-term care

Date: 2017-2018

Summary: This project investigated the benefits of using cognitive stimulation with elderly long-term care residents during friendly visits by volunteers. The project’s aim was to show that the use of cognitive stimulation exercises used in conversation with residents will lead to improved behaviours, mood and quality of life. $25,000

Funding stream: Geriatrics & Gerontology Research & Training

Grantee/partners: Baycrest Health Centre, in collaboration with University of Toronto, Meighen Manor, Rekai Centres (Sherbourne Place & Wellesley Central Place)

Summary: This project investigated the benefits of using cognitive stimulation with elderly long-term care residents during friendly visits by volunteers. The project’s aim was to show that the use of cognitive stimulation exercises used in conversation with residents will lead to improved behaviours, mood and quality of life.

Dance Videos for Frail Older Adults: Multimodal Mind-Body Exercise: An Integrated Knowledge Translation Project

Date: 2017-2018

Grant amount: $25,000

Funding stream: Geriatrics and gerontology

Grantee/partners: GERAS Centre for Aging Research, McMaster University

Summary: A stand-alone series of nine high-quality instructional exercise videos tailored to the varied needs of frail older adults with cognitive and physical impairments. The videos were developed and piloted with program members and YMCA instructors, as an accessible learning tool for dissemination of the GERAS DANCE program.

Hamilton Senior’s Social Isolation Project – a collaboration with seven community organizations

Date: 2017-2019

Grant amount: $50,000

Funding stream: Social isolation

Grantee/partners: Hamilton Council on Aging, in collaboration with St. Joseph’s Home Care, Able Living Service, Thrive Group, Gilbrea Centre on Aging, Wellesley Urban Ministries, YWCA

Summary: The project aimed to measurably reduce the rates of seniors’ social isolation, where risk factors for isolation – such as living alone, disability, poor health, language barriers, poverty, and lack of access to services and supports – are most prevalent.  The Social Participation Fund, which supported direct costs of seniors to participate in community programs and was paramount in successfully engaging isolated seniors.

“Senior Friendly 7” Practice Toolkit for Personal Support Workers

Date: 2018-2019

Grant amount: $50,000

Funding stream: Geriatrics and gerontology

Grantee/partners: Regional Geriatric Program of Toronto, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Summary: This project utilized the Senior Friendly 7 framework – delirium, mobility, nutrition, polypharmacy, pain, continence and social engagement -to create and disseminate tools that are tailored to meet the specific needs of Personal Support Workers (PSWs) who provide most of the frontline care to frail seniors.

Urinary Incontinence Self-Screening for Healthy Aging

Date: 2018-2019

Grant amount: $25,000

Funding stream: Geriatrics and gerontology

Grantee/partners: University of British Columbia

Summary: The project provided a novel approach aimed at helping healthy older adults with urinary incontinency (UI) who live in the community identify the problem early and get help.

Working Together to Address Social Connectedness and Isolation: A Participatory Process with Seniors

Date: 2018-2019

Grant amount: $24,900

Funding stream: Social isolation

Grantee/partners: University of Western Ontario, in collaboration with Neighbourhood Watch London, Meals on Wheels London, London Middlesex Housing Corporation, Queen’s University

Summary: This project engaged residents of a London seniors’ housing building to define issues, plan, take action and evaluate outcomes. Key elements included participant photography, resident meetings and community idea sharing events.

RTOERO Chair in Geriatric Medicine

Date: Ongoing

Grant amount: $2,500,000

Funding stream: Geriatrics and gerontology

Grantee/partners: University of Toronto; Women’s College Hospital

Summary: An endowment to the University of Toronto to create the RTOERO Chair in Geriatric Medicine. The chair and their research group conduct ongoing research into medications for older adults and differences in aging experience between men and women, including gendered ageism. Learn more about the endowment.

Grants

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Webinar: Mentally healthy living after social distancing – A study of older Canadians 
Webinar: Mentally healthy living after social distancing – A study of older Canadians 

This webinar was presented in May 2022 by the RTOERO Foundation featuring Dr. Gail Low Associate Professor, University of Alberta, Faculty of Nursing and Dr. […]

RTOERO Foundation issues call for grant proposals
RTOERO Foundation issues call for grant proposals

The RTOERO Foundation is now accepting letters of intent for grants of $10,000 to $50,000 to support projects that aim to improve seniors’ health and […]

Social isolation and loneliness: what’s the difference, and what can we do?
Social isolation and loneliness: what’s the difference, and what can we do?

Social isolation and loneliness are often used interchangeably, but are they the same thing? Not exactly. Their difference, implications and possible solutions are broken down […]

RTOERO Chair in Geriatric Medicine

In 2014 we funded the endowed RTOERO Chair in Geriatric Medicine at the University of Toronto.