“The prevalence may be as high as 43 percent among community dwelling older adults,” Kaye said. “And the risk is high as well for caregivers of older adults given that caregiving can be a very isolating experience.” Kaye’s testimony also highlighted the state of current research in solving the problem of social isolation among older adults.
“Due to the various life events that can trigger social isolation, from death of a significant other, to loss of transportation to health decline, effective interventions will need to be diverse and they will need to be tailored to the personal circumstances of the isolated individual,” he said.
Kaye added that there is still significant progress to be made in determining what works for helping to reduce social isolation Lack of rigor in studies of interventions aimed at reducing loneliness can make it difficult to evaluate some of these strategies.
GSA Executive Director and CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH, congratulated Kaye on his testimony and said the organization will be a committed partner with the Senate as it develops potential legislation “GSA and many of its members are actively working in this topic area to demonstrate evidence-based interventions that can be translated into sound policy and practice to improve the lives of people as they age,” Appleby said.