Older adult isolation is a serious issue with devastating health effects. 28% of, or 11 million, older Americans are at risk for isolation and its negative consequences, including lung disease, arthritis, impaired mobility, cognitive decline, depression – and early death. Isolation essentially means a lack of social contact, and is on the rise as we become increasingly more dependent on technology for social interaction. The Best Day of My Life So Far can reduce the risk of these health problems in an older adult’s life by removing the root cause of isolation through meaningful and sustainable social interactions.
The cognitive, psychological, and physical health benefits of our program have been expressed by participants through numerous testimonials; reported by site supervisors through consistent impact reports; published in professional journals and presented at national and international conferences by professional researchers in the psychology, social work, family studies, gerontology fields; featured on TV and radio, and in numerous blogs, magazines, newspapers, books; recognized by numerous social change awards; and personally endorsed by the president of the AARP Foundation. Additionally, practicing psychologists often refer patients to our program as a component of their mental health treatment plans.
Year in Review: 2017
Here are some of our latest initiatives and achievements:
1| We have 18 pilot sites in 5 states using our research backed, AARP endorsed, internationally recognized storytelling group model.
2| We recently launched our intergenerational engagement toolbox, packed with practical guides and progress tracking tools, in order to scale our model nationwide through even more effective community engagement.
3| Story by story, “brick by brick,” this year we built a national library, a collection of locally focused blogs told by older adults and transcribed by our volunteers.
4| We have hosted 3 public events in 3 cities, which have been featured in regional papers such as this Courier Post article, and on NBC and CBS.
5| We have produced a nationally scalable, regionally focused expansion plan which, in collaboration with regional healthcare partners, will improve social connectedness and mental and physical healthcare for thousands of older adults per year.
6| Most importantly, we continue to grow our intergenerational community fueled by a genuine love of life and love of people – this unmistakable Best Day spirit is alive not only at all our storytelling group sessions, but also in our lovingly curated newsletter and social media content, and at all our professional and public events.