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Two new grants awarded in 2020

The RTOERO Foundation’s most recent call for proposals focused on ways to better understand and address the issue of social isolation among friend and family caregivers. When the pandemic hit last year, all of the organizations that we had shortlisted to submit proposals became consumed by COVID-related activities and we were forced to put the program on hold.

We thankfully got things back on track in the fall. After detailed analysis and discussion, our Peer Review Committee made a recommendation, which was approved by our Board of Directors, for two projects to each receive a $25,000 grant.

Our first grant recipient is Nipissing University for a project focused on social isolation and dementia care. The researchers at Nipissing will be investigating 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. An interesting layer to this project is the consideration for how physical and natural environments factor in to the equation and can serve to encourage social cohesion.

The other grant is awarded to the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA). This project proposes the creation of a community conversation guide to be used by residents and caregivers in Woolwich, ON, a rural township of just over 25,000 people, made up of 10 small communities. 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. The guide will be designed to help Woolwich develop into a more supportive and inclusive community. Inaddition, the guide will be promoted as a practical resource for other neighbouring municipalities in Waterloo Region and beyond.