The work conducted by the Task Force to End Loneliness and Build Community, UMass-Boston researchers and AARP Massachusetts led to a virtual summit early in October and a newly released resource with examples that communities can implement to address isolation and improve social connectivity.
The resource, titled “It’s the Little Things: A Community Resource for Building Social Connections,“ owes its content to communities and organizations that took part in a series of virtual community conversations. Along with a literature review of other programs and initiatives outside Massachusetts, the virtual conversations led to 100 examples across nine themes that can serve as inspiration and templates for communities large and small.
As reports continue to be released – most recently from the AARP Foundation and United Health Foundation – warning about the impacts of social isolation and loneliness, the Community Resource offers solutions as part of a campaign echoing the idea that little kindnesses can go a long way.
The campaign, called #ReachOutMA, has resources, a social media kit and an email address to share stories about how individuals, organizations and communities improve social connectivity and address loneliness and isolation.
The resource also notes that the process of a community’s commitment to become age-friendly involves social engagement and civic participation among the movement’s core themes.