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Every year, AARP Foundation helps millions of struggling older adults 50 and over win back opportunity. We couldn't do it without the generous support of individuals and institutions.

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Man taking photo of his family- AARP Foundation isolation

— Photo by Todd Warnock/Getty Images

     

Reconnecting Those in
Isolation

 

There are many reasons why someone age 50 and older becomes isolated from family and community. It could be an injury or illness; the loss of reliable transportation; a spouse or partner who has Alzheimer’s or another illness that requires constant care; or a job loss that makes the person feel like he or she doesn’t matter. And as a crisis gets worse, it’s easy to become homebound, disconnected, overwhelmed, stranded — or in one word, isolated.

 

At AARP Foundation, we understand that combating and preventing isolation in people 50 and over isn’t about fixing one thing. We have to look at all the connections that make up a person’s life, and come up with ways to make sure connections stay strong, even in times of stress and crisis.

Creative Aging

Seniors participate in arts programs at public libraries through Lifetime Arts. (Courtesy Lifetime Arts)

Lifetime Arts, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting professionally led arts programs for older adults, has brought its services into libraries around the country. Its Creative Aging in America’s Libraries program, supported by AARP Foundation, offers classes in dance, visual arts, writing, drama, sculpture, singing and more. The benefits are many. Studies show that “sequential learning” like this (taking a series of classes or workshops) promotes health, improves cognitive functioning and can even help with disease prevention. And there’s no doubt that taking classes with fellow seniors, interacting with professional art teachers, and showcasing results for the public are great ways to reduce social isolation.

 

In the
Spotlight

Interdependence: The Real Secret of Aging at Home

In the last of her series, Rachel Adelson notes that aging at home may require a change in attitude Read

Aging at Home: How Your Social Life Keeps You Healthy

In the second of her series, blogger Rachel Adelson discusses the rising problem with social connectedness among older adults Read

Aging at Home: Will You Be Lonely?

Blogger Rachel Adelson explores why, as they get older, many people find themselves stranded in their own neighborhoods Read

Research

How Do We Understand Isolation?

AARP Foundation commissioned ResearchWorks to conduct an in-depth examination of isolation research to serve as a starting point for a discussion about how we understand, define, measure and solve isolation. Download Highlights (PDF) | Full Report (PDF)

Pew Internet Study Finds Older, Poorer And Disabled Seniors Still Not Connected

A new study shows that, while adults aged 65 years and older are catching up when it comes to being connected to the Internet, the technological divide is growing wider as older, less affluent and disabled citizens are still largely disconnected Read

New Study Points to the Dangers of Isolation

In her latest post, AARP Health blogger Candy Sagon details the findings of a recent study that indicates being alone may actually be hazardous to your health even if you don't feel lonely Read

Featured
Programs & Services

Caregiving Resource Center

Resources, tools and tips to help you manage the care of a loved one. Go

grandmother with her two grandaughters

AARP Benefits QuickLink

See if you qualify for public assistance and you can save money on health care, medication, food, utilities, and more! Go

Isolation Grants Program

View a list of the current grantees, along with summaries of their programs. Read

Isolation in the
News

Seniors Share Homes for Cost Saving, Companionship

(ABC News, July 2014) - Thousands of aging Americans take part in home-sharing programs that allow seniors to stay in their homes and save money while getting some much-needed companionship. Read

Study: Internet Usage Lowers Rates of Depresssion Among Older Adults

(WP, May 2014) - The Washington Post reports a new study on the affect of Internet usage on the emotional state of adults over 50 years old found that rates of depression were lower among those who regularly browse the Web. Read