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Rural Aging: Health and Community Policy Implications for Reversing Social Isolation

In 2017, Tivity Health and Health eVillages, in partnership with the MIT AgeLab and the Jefferson College of Population Health, hosted the inaugural Connectivity Summit: A Catalyst for Change in Rural Aging. Key stakeholder groups from multiple disciplines and sectors identified ways to elevate the importance of the circumstances facing rural-dwelling older adults. At the summit, the impact of social isolation and loneliness on the health, health spending, and longevity of rural seniors emerged as a key issue.

Building on this effort, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) hosted a roundtable titled “Rural Aging: Health and Community Policy Implications for Reversing Social Isolation” in Washington, D.C., on June 7, 2018. The roundtable discussion advanced the national conversation on reversing social isolation among rural seniors—with a focus on three key objectives:

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  1. Ensuring a common understanding of the impact of social isolation on the aging population, particularly in rural areas;

  2. Outlining high-priority and actionable solutions that could have an immediate impact on reversing social isolation, especially in rural communities, and that could serve as a platform for further discussion at the second Connectivity Summit on Rural Aging in August 2018; and

  3. Identifying ways to raise the public profile of the health and economic impacts of social isolation and loneliness.

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