October Engage campaign alerts Canadians to risks of isolation

Social isolation is number 1 health issue facing seniors

Toronto, Ontario, Oct. 01, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Engage: End Isolation is a new campaign led by the RTO/ERO Foundation, naming October as Social Isolation Awareness Month. Canadians can sign up at www.rto-ero.org/endisolation to participate in the campaign and receive an email every Tuesday in October.


The campaign aims to deepen the national dialogue on moving Canada’s seniors from isolation to inclusion by:


  • Raising awareness through information, facts, tips and action ideas
  • Empowering people to recognize and help those who are socially isolated or at risk
  • Supporting programs and research on social isolation


Weekly challenges will include tips for preventing social isolation, such as:


  • Schedule a weekly call with a senior in your life (a friend or family member)
  • Offer to help with seasonal chores
  • Find time to help a senior set up and/or fix technology devices
  • Share social engagement success stories on social media


“Social isolation can be defined as limited contact with others and few social roles,” says Jo-Anne Sobie, executive director of the RTO/ERO Foundation. “It is the absence of mutually rewarding relationships. Social isolation is the number one emerging issue facing Canada’s seniors. Being isolated can be twice as deadly as obesity, deadlier than diabetes, and increases the risk of dementia by two-thirds.”


The Engage campaign aims to create awareness about the scope of the issue:


  • By 2036, up to 25% of Canada’s population will be over 65 years old.
  • An estimated 30% of Canadians are at risk of becoming socially isolated.
  • About 24% of Canadians over 65 report feeling isolated from others and wish they could participate in more social activities.
  • Risk factors include living alone, being 80 or older, having multiple chronic health problems, lacking transportation, lower income, changing family structures and being a caregiver.
  • Isolation can happen during life transitions – like moving from work to retirement, losing a spouse, or experiencing an illness/disability and changes to our mobility.


About the RTO/ERO Foundation



The health and prosperity of seniors is of prime importance to RTO/ERO’s 77,000 members. The RTO/ERO Foundation shares the belief that seniors are valuable and contributing members of society. All are worthy of respect and deserve to age successfully and with dignity.


The Foundation is a registered charitable organization founded in 2011 by RTO/ERO and inspired by the philanthropic spirit of its members and friends. It is one of few foundations to invest exclusively in initiatives related to enhancing the quality of life of aging adults, with three core areas of granting:


  • Aging-related research
  • Geriatrics/Gerontology training
  • Innovative programs to reduce social isolation


Connect: www.facebook.com/rto.ero or Twitter @rto_ero or @RTO_Foundation




CONTACT: Jo-Anne Sobie
RTO/ERO Foundation
416-962-9463, ext. 276

Mike Prentice
RTO/ERO Foundation
416-962-9463, ext. 285