By Kaitlyn Mattson | September 25, 2018
New findings from insurance giant Humana (NYSE: HUM) show that nearly 31% of Americans over the age of 65 don’t feel socially engaged.
Social isolation has been a prevalent issue for many home health care and home care companies in the U.S. Such companies as LHC Group (Nasdaq: LHCG), FirstLight Home Care and Lifesprk have been working to find solutions to the issue.
Startups have also began working on the fringes of social isolation as well. For example, Silvernest is a company similar to Airbnb that pairs older adults to roommates.
Louisville-based Humana has been moving in the home health direction in the last year — the company acquired a stake in Kindred At Home and is pivoting its partnership with wearable-technology company FitBit (NYSE: FIT) to work on preventing and managing chronic conditions.
Now, in an effort to address isolation issues, Humana announced Tuesday a new series of programming and events. The events are offered in correspondence with Active Aging Week and in partnership with SilverSneakers.
“Social isolation has a measurable impact on physical and mental health and older adults are often uniquely affected due to the loss of a spouse, adult children moving away, lack of transportation and a host of other reasons,” Steve Janicak, chief growth officer at Tivity Health, said in a statement. “Our SilverSneakers members thrive on the social connections they make through the program. We’re excited to partner with Humana during Active Aging Week to promote the social and physical benefits of exercise to more seniors.”
Active Aging Week is a weeklong campaign that calls attention to the positivity of aging. The initiative is run by the International Council on Active Aging, a professional association that connects the active aging industry.
Franklin, Tennessee-based Tivity Health (Nasdaq: TVTY) is a leading provider of fitness and health improvement programs including SilverSneakers, a program that offers older Americans community fitness and is available to 15 million Medicare beneficiaries.
Humana’s Active Aging Week programming includes group wellness activities in location across the country designed to create an environment of socializing while pursuing an active lifestyle.
“Healthy aging is a group activity,” Dr. Meredith Williams, lead medical director at Humana, said in a statement. “Social isolation and loneliness can often impact health as much as physical attributes, which is why we want to inspire seniors to focus on whole-person health.”
Social isolation has the negative consequences on health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, Majd Alwan, senior vice president of technology at Washington, D.C.-based LeadingAge and executive director of the Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST), recently told Home Health Care News.
Humana’s social isolation survey included responses from 1,627 U.S. adults 65 and older.