Launched in 2015, the RISE campaign exists to help Canadians of all ages and in all regions gain a greater awareness of the impact of loneliness and isolation on older citizens. It also functions as a call to action for people to get involved and help address the problem. RISE is a national campaign that aims to share information and encourage concrete action across the country.
"Loneliness can be defined as a subjective, unwelcome feeling of lack or loss of companionship. It happens when we have a mismatch between the quantity and quality of social relationships that we have, and those that we want."
According to their website, loneliness and isolation are defined and differentiated as follows: “Loneliness can be defined as a subjective, unwelcome feeling of lack or loss of companionship. It happens when we have a mismatch between the quantity and quality of social relationships that we have, and those that we want. Loneliness is linked to social isolation, but it is not the same thing. Isolation is an objective state whereby the number of contacts a person has can be counted. One way of describing this distinction is that you can be lonely in a crowded room, but you will not be socially isolated.”
Seniors are vulnerable to social isolation if they have limited assistance with routine activities, lack emotional support, have reduced opportunity for leisure activities or live alone. Seniors also face a higher rate of social exclusion if they live in urban areas, if they have lost or do not have a partner or spouse, if they have activity limitations because of health or if they have lower levels of education. Other factors that contribute to social isolation and loneliness include disability, lack of access to transportation, low self-esteem and reduced social networks.
By encouraging organizations to work together, RISE hopes to create a chain reaction where groups and individuals will commit to working together to end loneliness and isolation in seniors and recruit others to work toward that same goal.
RISE is committed to an environment of mutual learning. Individuals and organizations involved in combating isolation and loneliness in seniors are encouraged to report on and share their efforts and experiences. Information provided by participants is then posted on RISE’s website.
The collective goal of RISE is to lessen the number of seniors who are lonely and isolated by increasing their access to services and activities. Early action is key: individuals who are assisted in the early stages of isolation are less likely to have their situation worsen. RISE is passionate about awareness, believing the more that the public is made aware of the problem of isolation for seniors, the more likely It is that everyone will come together to help. If communities come together, they can develop effective initiatives to help the seniors in their areas.
To read more about the RISE campaign and its vision and goals, click here.
To get involved, click here.