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Isolation Focus Area - AARP Foundation Skip to content

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Isolation Challenge

One in five adults over 50 are affected by isolation, making them at risk of poor health. AARP Foundation encourages innovations to reach potentially isolated low-income older people and create and promote connections between them and their families, friends and communities.

Little comprehensive data exists to quantify or identify isolated individuals in the United States. However, one study estimates that anywhere from 2 to 20 percent of the 65 and older population may be isolated and that as much as 35 percent of older adults in assisted-living arrangements are isolated. Applying the 20 percent estimate to the 40 million Americans over 65 in 2010 suggests that as many as 8 million may be experiencing the negative consequences of isolation.

Many of the naturally occurring changes that accompany the aging process - declining mobility, loss of loved ones, retirement and so on - increase the risk for isolation, while maintaining strong connections to one's family, friends and community, and a sense of purpose, helps prevent isolation.

The Foundation encourages innovations to reach potentially isolated low-income older people and to create and promote connections between them and their families, friends and communities.