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Building Strong Social Connections and Strengthening Your Social Health

Resources to help older adults stay connected to their communities.

spinner image Elderly man with glasses wearing suspenders looking out of his window with white curtains

Social isolation has reached epidemic levels among older adults, with 1 in 4 affected. The mental and physical health effects of isolation are serious, the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Research shows that being connected to a community may help improve overall health and even alleviate poverty. A strong social network can become a lifeline to the kind of support and financial resources that make a difference during times of need.

But a lack of affordable, accessible transportation and other financial challenges can limit the social interactions that help older adults feel confident and empowered. And people over 50 from marginalized communities face discrimination that contributes further to isolation.

That's why AARP Foundation continues to be a champion for strong social connections, helping to ensure that older adults have access to supportive programs, services, and resources, and that they can engage with each other and their communities in ways that improve their health and wellbeing. 

In addition to the Connect2Affect website offering resources and suggestions for maintaining and building social connections, AARP Foundation provides excellent opportunities for older adults to stay involved and engaged with their communities through volunteering.

Volunteer With Experience Corps

Find out how Sharon feels more connected to her community through Experience Corps.

AARP Foundation Experience Corps is a community-based volunteer program that engages highly trained adults over 50 as tutors and mentors to help K-3 students become better readers by the end of third grade. It is a proven "triple win," helping students succeed, older adults thrive, and communities grow stronger. Experience Corps puts a special emphasis on serving diverse populations in underserved communities, while almost 70% of its volunteers come from a broad variety of non-teaching professions. Learn more about Experience Corps volunteer opportunities.

Volunteer With Tax-Aide

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide provides in-person and virtual tax preparation help to anyone, free of charge, with a focus on taxpayers who are over 50 and have low to moderate income. Tax-Aide is the largest free volunteer-based tax assistance and preparation program in the U.S. Volunteers are trained and IRS-certified every year, and many of our Tax-Aide volunteers also help older adults find credits on their property taxes through AARP Foundation Property Tax-Aide. Learn more about AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteer opportunities.


Through the Connect2Affect website, AARP Foundation is calling attention to the issue of social isolation and connecting older adults with local resources and tips to help them combat isolation and stay engaged in their communities. Learn more about Connect2Affect.   

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The difference for people who are struggling can come down to one act of kindness, one conversation ... one volunteer. Find an AARP Foundation volunteer opportunity near you and be the difference.