AgeLab Research Specialist Samantha Brady traveled to San Francisco to give a presentation on the Lab's research at the 2018 American Society on Aging's Aging in America conference. She provided an overview of the AgeLab’s work around driver safety and well-being and a summary of a recent AgeLab study examining the effect of SilverSneakers membership on social isolation and loneliness.
SilverSneakers is a national fitness program that provides free gym memberships and group exercise classes to older adults with certain Medicare Advantage plans. Brady and her collaborators hypothesized that higher levels of social engagement fostered by SilverSneakers participation would result in decreased social isolation in members. The study, sponsored by Tivity Health, examined the interrelationships between a number of different variables that might be influenced by SilverSneakers membership including physical activity, social isolation, loneliness, and ultimately health.
The study found that SilverSneakers membership had a beneficial impact on social isolation, both directly and due to its impact on increased physical activity, as well as positive observed effects on health and loneliness.