Social isolation is a growing population health issue, especially for older adults. Isolation has been shown to be a risk factor for mortality equivalent to that of smoking and obesity. An urgency grows to identify large-scale interventions to reduce isolation in older adults.
SilverSneakers is a national exercise program that provides specialized group classes for older adults. Does membership in SilverSneakers reduce social isolation and its subjective counterpart, loneliness? How does SilverSneakers membership impact health specifically as a form of social engagement?
The results of this study have been published in the Journal of Applied Gerontology. The article can be downloaded here.