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News from engAGED

November 2021


New Technology Booklet Helps Older Adults Use Technology

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engAGED, in partnership with Older Adults Technology Services and the Eldercare Locator, has released a new publication—"Tapping into Technology to Stay Connected and Engaged.” Available in English and Spanish, the booklet describes platform and device options, as well as resources that can help connect older adults with technology and social engagement activities that match their needs and preferences. The customizable booklet allows organizations to add their logos and contact information for use within their network.

Arts and Creative Engagement: Successful Programs, Activities and Approaches 

Join us on December 15 at 1:00 pm ET for a webinar focused on promoting social engagement through arts and creative expression. During the webinar, Arts for the Aging will highlight the impact that multidisciplinary, participatory arts experiences can have on older adults and provide background on their work. Additionally, Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University and the Central Vermont Council on Aging will spotlight their successful programs. Register today to learn tips and strategies to incorporate more arts programming into your social engagement work!

Register Now!

Join Our December Office Hours Focused on Older Adult Mental Health

The engAGED Office Hours program provides the Aging Network with an opportunity to ask practical questions that will help with replicating or adapting social engagement interventions. The next Office Hours call will focus on older adult mental health and will take place December 1 from 2:00-2:45 pm ET. Participants will learn about The Women’s Center’s PEARLS Connect program that provides social support to help older adults maintain improvements in their mental health. Join us to learn about the program and to get your questions answered. Attendance will be capped at 30 participants, so RSVP today to claim your space!


Pandemic Underscores the Need to Address Social Isolation and Loneliness

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that we must address social isolation and loneliness at the national and community levels. A recent engAGED blog post spotlights an article written by Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy about the mental and physical health impact of social isolation and loneliness and why these issues have risen to the top of his priorities. The blog post also highlights innovative programs and interventions Area Agencies on Aging have developed to respond to this growing public health concern, and how engAGED can support Aging Network organizations with developing strategies to promote social engagement.

Health Care Contracting as an Avenue to Providing Social Engagement

Looking for key takeaways from the October engAGED webinar? Held in collaboration with USAging’s Aging and Disability Business Institute, the webinar focused on ways community-based organizations (CBOs) can contract with health plans to address the health impacts of social isolation on older adults. Numerous community-based services, such as adult day care, congregate nutrition and caregiver support are just some of the ways CBOs are contracting with health care entities to reduce social isolation. Read the full blog post to learn how one Area Agency on Aging worked with health plans to offer telephone reassurance and to get tips and advice that your organization can use when looking to contract with health care entities.

International Study Highlights Negative Impact of COVID-19 on Loneliness and Social Isolation

Recent research aims to increase understanding of global risk factors associated with social isolation and loneliness, irrespective of culture or country, to inform evidence-based public health policy, services and interventions. A 2020 transnational survey of more than 20,000 respondents from 101 different countries found that the prevalence of severe loneliness was 21 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic, compared with 6 percent reporting severe loneliness prior to the pandemic. The survey found that 13 percent of respondents experienced a substantial increase in isolation during the pandemic. In addition, the survey showed that maintaining connections and managing loneliness and social isolation has proven particularly challenging for vulnerable groups, including those with inadequate finances and poor mental health, as well as caregivers and those who live alone. Read the full article to learn more about the cross-cutting predictors of loneliness and social isolation that must be addressed through public health approaches.

Caregiver Mental Health and Care Challenges Posed by COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed new challenges for caregivers of adults with chronic or disabling conditions. A recent study, using data from the June 2020 National Poll on Healthy Aging, found that access to medical care amidst pandemic restrictions was a key concern for caregivers and is associated with greater caregiver stress and depression and lower interpersonal well-being. The study posits that care challenges, including difficulty getting needed services, providing less care to reduce risk and decreased support from family and friends may be attributed to changing public health guidelines policies during the pandemic.

Healthy Behaviors and Brain Benefits Associated with Neighborhood Access

Three recent University of Michigan studies show that urban and suburban neighborhoods that provide opportunities for socialization, physical activity and intellectual stimulation may help preserve cognitive health in older adults. Researchers found that older adults living in neighborhoods that provide easy access to to physical activity and socialization were about three years younger in terms of cognitive health than those who had little access to exercise and social activity. Additionally, the study also found that older adults with access to intellectually stimulating places such as museums, education campuses and libraries had about a five-year positive difference in cognitive age. Understanding these implications may help inform community level interventions targeted to support those who are most at risk of cognitive decline.

In Case You Missed It

Addressing Social Isolation in Rural America

The November engAGED webinar focused on addressing social isolation of older adults living in rural and tribal communities. The UMaine Center on Aging provided background information on rural aging issues and the Jefferson Area Board for Aging and the Wyandotte Nation Title VI Aging Program shared details about social engagement activities they have developed to help older adults and caregivers living in rural and tribal communities stay engaged and connected.

Innovations Hub Spotlight

Valley Program for Aging Services, an Area Agency on Aging serving a rural area, developed the Confident Caregiver Mini Retreats program to provide caregivers of individuals aged 60 and older with virtual connection and encouragement during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hour-long Zoom sessions bring caregivers together for self-care paired with art activities. These safe spaces are conducive to conversation, socialization and companionship among individuals on their caregiving journeys. Visit the engAGED Innovations Hub to read more about this program and other replicable social engagement innovations from across the country.


  • The second annual End Social Isolation and Loneliness Action Forum took a deep dive into the social isolation and loneliness crisis and identified key innovations and policy solutions to spur global action. Watch Sandy Markwood, CEO of USAging, provide an update on the USAging and engAGED Commitment to Action. engAGED is administered by USAging.
  • The Administration for Community Living hosted the final webinar in a four-part national series on research related to social isolation and loneliness for people with disabilities. View the recording to gain insight into how social isolation and loneliness have impacted caregivers during the pandemic.
  • Ending Loneliness Together has released its first guide for community organizations looking to evaluate their programs or activities designed to reduce loneliness.



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