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:
Ensuring a common understanding of the impact of social isolation on the aging population, particularly in rural areas;
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
Identifying ways to raise the public profile of the health and economic impacts of social isolation and loneliness.