Key Takeaways

  • Strong social connections are central to our physical and mental well-being. But when vulnerable older adults experience setbacks or life transitions, they may become disconnected and isolated.

  • Through research, we know that the negative health consequences of social isolation include impaired mental performance, a compromised immune system, and a heightened risk of chronic disease, as well as depression.

  • The health risks of prolonged isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

This webinar presentation and discussion is designed to help aging services practitioners across sectors – as well as individuals and caregivers – better understand the similarities and important differences between loneliness and social isolation, and its impact on the health and well-being of older adults.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand loneliness and social isolation risk factors at both the community and individual level
  • Better understand the costs of social isolation and recommendations from the consensus study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
  • Learn practical tips on what you can do to help yourself, your loved ones, or other older adults in your community
  • Learn about AARP Foundation’s Connect2Affect platform and resources
  • Better understand new innovations and solutions that are having measurable impact on increasing social connections – particularly among low income older adults
  • Learn about the Commit to Connect initiative and how to become involved in the nationwide network of champions addressing social isolation


  • Emily Allen, Senior Vice President, Programs, AARP Foundation