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    Continue the conversation


    Continue the conversation


    Though much of the country may currently be experiencing loneliness or isolation due largely to shelter-in-place guidance and other health and safety measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic, these are not new issues for many of our nation's seniors. Isolation is rampant among older adults who lose mobility, lack transportation options, and live alone or away from family, and the impact is severe.

    To further explore what we know about social isolation and loneliness among older adults and consider how we can collaborate to address these issues, particularly in light of the impact of COVID-19, Meals on Wheels America and Caesars Foundation hosted the National Social Isolation Summit on Tuesday, June 30, 2020.


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    During this virtual convening, we heard from Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Brigham Young University as she helps to set the stage for a wider conversation surrounding isolation and loneliness, particularly among homebound older adults. We were then be joined by a panel of individuals representing an array of different sectors to learn more about their approaches to promoting social connection.

    In this summit, we:

    1. Examined the power of human connection with emphasis on homebound seniors;
    2. Explored the general state of the issue of social isolation and loneliness; and
    3. Collectively inspired solutions on how to increase human connectedness across sectors.

    This virtual summit is serving as a starting point for what we hope will become a robust dialogue on how we can engage now and in the long-term with homebound older adults to reduce social isolation and loneliness and increase human connectedness.



    Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Brigham Young University


    Moderator: Lucy Theilheimer, Chief Strategy and Impact Officer, Meals on Wheels America

    • Healthcare – Andrew Renda, MD, MPH, Associate Vice President, Population Health, Humana
    • Nonprofit – Ellie Hollander, President and CEO, Meals on Wheels America
    • Government – Edwin Walker, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aging of the Administration on Aging (AoA) within the Administration for Community Living
    • Advocacy – Eddie Garcia, Co-Director, Coalition to End Social Isolation and Loneliness
    • Philanthropy – Scott Kaiser, MD, Chief Innovation Officer, Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF)


    • Together Apart: Findings from the Social Isolation Impact Summit  A new report from the Center for the Future of Aging and the Motion Picture & Television Fund summarizes key themes that surfaced during the Social Isolation Impact Summit that took place in July 2020. These themes include promoting social connection across diverse communities, intergenerational cohesion and the mind-body connection. Read the full report here.

    • The World Has Changed: Emerging Challenges for Health Care Research to Reduce Social Isolation and Loneliness Related to COVID-19  A new commentary from National Academy of Medicine Perspectives proposes a number of research priorities that can inform strategies to mitigate the negative health impacts of social isolation and loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. This piece is a response to a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) consensus study report released in February 2020, titled “Social Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults: Opportunities for the Health Care System." Read the NASEM report here, and read the commentary here.

    • Mobilizing and Empowering the Nation and Technology to Address Loneliness & Social Isolation (MENTAL) Health Innovation Challenge The Administration for Community Living (ACL) recently launched a new initiative to combat social isolation and loneliness through which $750,000 in prizes will be awarded to develop an online system for sharing resources to help users connect and engage in their communities. Learn more about the MENTAL Health Innovation Challenge here.
    • The Call Hub – This free tool is used to coordinate calls between older adults and volunteers. This is the technology the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF) uses for its successful Daily Call Sheet Program. For more information on The Call Hub, email
    • Far From Alone Campaign – This is Humana’s new campaign through which the organization is collecting and sharing tips, resources and information to help expand the public’s understanding of loneliness and social isolation. You can learn more about this campaign and explore these resources here.
    • Coalition to End Social Isolation COVID-19 Resources – The Coalition to End Social Isolation and Loneliness has gather a number of resources from the Coalition’s efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Access these here.
    • Tools to Measure Isolation and Loneliness – There are many ways to measure isolation and loneliness, several of which are covered in these resources here and here.
    • And more coming soon!