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Older Adult Isolation

  • Overview
  • Funding Opportunities
  • Resources


While in recent decades the proportion of all American adults identifying as socially isolated has increased, the greatest risk for isolation is found in older adults.  Beyond the obvious quality of life concerns related to this epidemic, there are significant health concerns as well.  Social isolation is a lesser-known, yet critical social determinant of health, having direct impacts on blood pressure, chronic disease, depression, and vulnerability to abuse and neglect.

In our strategy to reduce older adult isolation, the Foundation focuses on Lackawanna County, where an estimated 12,000 residents age 65 and older are living alone, a strong risk factor for social isolation.

The Foundation is working to support the development of a sustainable, community-based system to reduce and prevent isolation. This system will center around a:

  • Shared screening tool to measure social isolation, broadly implemented among local health and social service organizations
  • Team of trained navigators responsible for connecting isolated older adults with the services and supports that they want and need to reduce their isolation
  • Public awareness campaign about social isolation and its health impacts

By the end of 2023, the Foundation’s goal is for this new system to have connected at least 3,000 isolated older adults with services to reduce their isolation.

Funding Opportunities

In June 2019, the Foundation released a planning grant request for proposals (RFP) to identify a collaborative of organizations that will work together to design a community system to reduce older adult isolation in Lackawanna County.  The key outcome of this grant will be a plan for implementation of a coordinated system that includes a:

  • Shared isolation screening tool
  • Team of trained navigators to connect isolated older adults to services
  • Corresponding public awareness campaign

The deadline to apply for this opportunity was October 1, 2019.  Funding decisions will be announced in December 2019.

*Organizations that receive support through the Foundation’s strategic initiatives are still eligible to also receive funding through the organization’s responsive and capacity-building priorities.

Capacity Building Older Adult Isolation Responsive Grantmaking