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
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.
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)
Our Partners and Progress
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