Initiatives

Aging UnLonely

As we age, we gain experiences and insights that move our community forward. But every day, millions of older adults struggle with challenges such as declining health, the loss of loved ones, and feelings of isolation. These experiences can lead to chronic loneliness, and with COVID-19 dramatically increasing social isolation and critical health vulnerabilities, there is an urgent need for communities to improve social connections. The Aging UnLonely initiative empowers partners with programs that use the arts as an accessible and effective public health tool for older adults to create meaningful connections and improve health and well-being.

Public Health Challenge

Program
Solutions

Our Partners
and progress

 
join us

Initiatives

Aging UnLonely

As we age, we gain experiences and insights that move our community forward. But every day, millions of older adults struggle with challenges such as declining health, the loss of loved ones, and feelings of isolation. These experiences can lead to chronic loneliness, and with COVID-19 dramatically increasing social isolation and critical health vulnerabilities, there is an urgent need for communities to improve social connections. The Aging UnLonely initiative empowers partners with programs that use the arts as an accessible and effective public health tool for older adults to create meaningful connections and improve health and well-being.

Public Health Challenge

Program
Solutions

Our Partners
and progress

 
join us

Public Health Challenge

The loneliness epidemic poses a significant threat to older adults because of its associated emotional, cognitive, and physical health outcomes.

Short Film of Aging UnLonely

Through our UnLonely Film Festival, we collect short films that represent the lived experiences of loneliness in America.

Prevalence and Pervasiveness

Before the pandemic, one in three adults in the U.S. ages 50 to 80 lacked regular companionship (National Poll on Health Aging), and 43% of community-dwelling older adults self-reported feeling lonely (Global Health Research and Policy).

COVID-19 urgency

Social isolation, depression, and anxiety have worsened due to COVID-19 with a study finding 73% of older adults reporting feelings of loneliness just one month into the pandemic (U.S. Senate testimony).

Interrelated Health Effects

Chronic loneliness exacerbates existing health conditions among older adults and can lead to major risk factors and outcomes: memory and cognitive decline, impaired physical well-being, increased risk for developing conditions such as diabetes or heart failure, and an increased risk of hospitalization and premature mortality (National Academies of Science, Engineering, Medicine)

Program Solutions

It can be overwhelming to fight loneliness alone. That’s why community-based organizations, senior services staff, caregivers, relatives, and neighbors play such an important role in making a difference for older adults who struggle with loneliness. We develop simple, evidence-based programs for partners and communities to employ the arts as a public health tool. These strategies are designed to address issues facing older adults and are tailored for specific community needs and goals.

Creative Expression

Participating in creative activities adds variety to routine, offers a chance for reflection and nostalgia, and provides older adults with an opportunity to explore news forms of expression and communication.

pro-Health Behaviors

Our programs are designed to build a sense of agency and self empowerment, encouraging participants to develop routines and actions that support health and sustain well-being.

Relationship Building

Arts in all forms can be a means for developing meaningful connections with others through the creation of shared experiences.

Our Partners and Progress

Our Sponsors


Through the generous support of the AARP Foundation and UJA Federation New York,we are able to grow this initiative and increase its impact on both national and local levels.

Our Community Partners

Our community-based partners have played a pivotal role in supporting the health of their communities by working with us to develop program offerings.

“I hope it is available to seniors in communities around our country. Our leader did a wonderful job! She was so skilled in bringing out conversations, presenting questions, doing art projects. I hope we can continue this group in some way after the course is over.”

– Donna, 82

“It’s life-saving. I have to admit to you, sometimes I feel it’s not worth living, because there’s too many problems and it’s so overwhelming. But when you have some drawing and pleasure and fun, and you’re doing your passion, you can live. You have something to look forward to.”

– Peggy, 70

Join Us

Explore Our Programs

Read about our evidence-based programs that support this initiative by building community health and well-being among older adults.

Sponsor this Initiative

Join us and our current sponsors to help expand this important work and increase the impact we are able to deliver across communities.

The Foundation for Art & Healing