engAGED: The National Resource Center for Engaging Older Adults, is the national effort to promote and provide opportunities to improve the rates of social engagement in older adults. The National Resource Center which is funded by the U.S. Administration on Aging and is part of the U.S. Administration for Community Living will work to identify and disseminate information about emerging trends, resources, and replication strategies that the Aging Network can use and tailor in their communities; and to develop a national strategy for educating and informing the Aging Network about innovative engagement approaches and programming.
As a partnership of diverse organizations we are collectively committed to developing and promoting engagement opportunities through a wide variety of channels that overcome barriers to participation. We also seek to recognize and empower older adults as valuable contributors to their communities and to the services they help to provide through volunteerism.
Why we are focused on social engagement
Recently much has been learned about the individual and societal impact of social isolation and loneliness. Social isolation is commonly described as based on objective indicators, such as a lack of relationships or infrequent social contact while loneliness is defined as the subjective perception of being alone. Research suggests that remaining socially engaged improves the quality of life for older adults and is associated with better health. In addition, older adults who are socially engaged in their communities can share their knowledge, talent, skills, experience and wisdom, allowing them to contribute with a positive and powerful impact. Social engagement contributes to greater physical, mental and emotional health and well-being in older adults avoiding the negative impacts of isolation.
As the national dialogue on the impact of social isolation grows, many are beginning to analyze how the instance of social isolation particularly in older adults can be addressed. Increasing the activities, size of networks and opportunity for connections with others or social engagement, provides the opportunity to reverse some of the causes of isolation. By increasing the number of older volunteers providing important community needs the Center also aims to help AAAs fulfill their crucial mission of improving the quality of life for millions of older Americans.