US Surgeon General Creates National Framework to Advance Social Connection

May 10, 2023

The Surgeon General has created a Framework for a National Strategy to Advance Social Connection. This details the critical and actionable next steps that individuals, communities, organizations, and governments can take to foster social connection.

According to the resources created by the Surgeon General’s office, social isolation among older adults alone accounts for an estimated $6.7 billion in excess Medicare spending annually, largely due to increased hospital and nursing facility spending. They added that social connection is an important social determinant of health, and more broadly, of community well-being, including (but not limited to) population health, community resilience when natural hazards strike, community safety, economic prosperity, and representative government.

The focus areas of the framework include the following:

  • Strengthen Social Infrastructure in Local Communities
  • Enact Pro-Connection Public Policies
  • Mobilize the Health Sector
  • Reform Digital Environments
  • Deepen Our Knowledge
  • Cultivate a Culture of Connection

Aside from recommendations, the framework comes with a range of external resources for different audiences, including parents and caregivers, governments, health care workers and others. Many of those resources across all categories – from organizations like National Institutes of Health, AARP, and the World Health Organizations – provide information for supporting social connection among older adults.

More information is available on the US Surgeon General’s website.