Susan L. Hayes, Douglas McCarthy, Sarah Klein
S. L. Hayes, D. McCarthy, and S. Klein, linkAges: Building Support Systems for Seniors Living Independently in the Community, The Commonwealth Fund, September 2015.
Older Americans who describe themselves as lonely have a 45 percent greater risk of dying and a 60 percent greater risk of experiencing a decrease in their ability to perform common activities of daily living such as walking, stair climbing, lifting and carrying, as measured over a period of six years. This hazard is magnified by the projected doubling of the over-65 population in the United States in the next 15 years. And it highlights the need to improve the quality of life of older Americans—both as a means of promoting healthy aging and constraining health care spending.
The community-based social support program linkAges is designed to help older adults continue to live independently and remain engaged in their communities. By leveraging technology and social interactions across generations, the program aims to combat loneliness and isolation and mitigate their adverse health effects.
The program’s four related components can be implemented separately or combined:
“A lot of people seem to come and go here in California, and this has now become an issue for me as I get older. I was just thinking about all my friends the other day, and my goodness, they’re either dying or they’re moving far away! How am I going to meet people? I am so glad linkAges came in to my life. I feel useful and valued and have hope that my later years can be full: full of people, activities, and fun!”
—Patricia Evans, Mountain View, Calif.