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Framework for Social Interventions

Diagram of the Jopling framework
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SIIP will fund intergenerational programs that fall within the four categories described in Kate Jopling’s framework for social interventions, developed for AgeUK and the Campaign to End Loneliness (Jopling, 2015).

Jopling’s review of effective interventions includes common activities such as social groups, friendly visiting, and physical activity programs, but the framework also considers promising approaches that work with individuals before they start to access services, and approaches that focus less on the individual service and more on the way in which a community responds to the challenges.

Who Should Use This Framework?

The framework is intended to:

  • Guide decision-makers and funders of services that support older people – including adult social care and public health teams – to identify the areas of need in their communities;
  • Support service providers in the delivery of more effective loneliness interventions; and
  • Shape future research so that our understanding of loneliness, and how it can be addressed, continues to grow.

Four Key Intervention Categories

The Jopling framework identifies four key approaches to promoting social inclusion: foundation services, direct interventions, gateway services and structural enablers.

Foundation ServicesDirect InterventionsGateway ServicesStructural Enablers


Foundation Services

Foundation services are designed to reach isolated individuals, to understand their circumstances and then support them to access the services they need.

Foundation services include:

  • Referrals from health care professionals
  • Telephone referral systems (friends, family and neighbours can call to help connect an at-risk older adult with programs and services)
  • Telephone reassurance lines (trained volunteers call to check in on older adults)

Examples in Waterloo Region:

Program: Connectivity KW4
Organization: Carizon Family and Community Services
What it’s about: Local health and social service agencies work together to understand the needs of at-risk individuals in our community and help connect them with the services they need.

Program: First Link
Organization: Alzheimer Society Waterloo Wellington
What it’s about: A referral program designed to support individuals who have been newly diagnosed with dementia to get the services they need as soon as possible.



Direct Interventions

Direct interventions help people keep existing relationships, build new connections, and receive counselling support. These programs are in group settings or one-on-one.

Direct interventions include:

  • Music programs
  • Exercise programs (such as walking groups or dementia-friendly yoga)
  • Shared meals
  • Friendly visiting programs
  • Counselling services

Examples in Waterloo Region:

Program: Friendly visiting, meals on wheels, recreation programs, Youth Enabling Seniors
Organization: Community Support Connections and Community Care Concepts
What it’s about: Community organizations provide practical support for people in their homes, as well as social support and group programs that bring people together.

Program: Circle of Music Intergenerational Choir
Organization: Alzheimer Society Waterloo Wellington
What it’s about: People living with dementia, their care partners and students from local high schools sing songs together and build relationships.



Gateway Services

Gateway services help older adults to maintain their social connections and may encourage older adults to join new programs.

Gateway services include:

  • Transportation (such as volunteer drivers or specialized mobility services)
  • Technology (such as training programs or telephone befriending services)

Examples in Waterloo Region:

Program: Geriatrics technology support
Organization: EnTECH (University of Waterloo student club)
What it’s about: Student volunteers teach older adults how to use technology so they can connect to their friends and families. EnTECH has also created a simplified and more user-friendly version of email services.

Program: Specialized transit services
Organization: Kiwanis Transit
What it’s about: A transportation service for older adults and/or those with disabilities living in Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich Townships that provides rides for medical appointments, social activities and much more.



Structural Enablers

Structural enablers are community approaches that support the way programs and services are delivered.

Structural enablers include:

  • Volunteering
  • Building on community strengths (asset-based community development)
  • Neighbourhood approaches
  • Age-friendly or dementia-friendly communities

Examples in Waterloo Region:

Program: Community involvement for youth
Organization: Volunteer Action Centre
What it’s about: A database of youth-friendly volunteering options in Waterloo Region, including many programs that support older adults.

Program: Age-Friendly Community Plans
Organization: Cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge, Township of Woolwich
What it’s about: Plans that identify priorities for supporting older adults to live a healthy and active life.