What Are the Needs

Loneliness & Isolation

Loneliness and Social Isolation are public health issues that affect more than one-third of adults, with seniors most at risk for depression, substance abuse, and suicide triggered by feelings of isolation.  Loneliness poses a serious physical risk—it can be, quite literally, deadly. As a predictor of premature death, insufficient social connection is a bigger risk factor than obesity and the equivalent of smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, 

Health risks associated with loneliness and social isolation are comparable to the dangers of smoking and obesity, increasing mortality risk by up to 30%. 

Project 10:27 was born out of the recognition that the prevalence of loneliness and social isolation is on an upward trajectory in the US, and older adults are particularly susceptible. Loneliness often accompanies the kinds of challenging life circumstances that are more pronounced for older adults, like serving as a caregiver of a spouse or close friend, experiencing the loss of loved ones, being limited by mobility issues, lack of or no transportation and managing chronic or catastrophic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, mental illness or cancer.

Food Insecurity

As of 2018, more than 37 million people were food insecure, which means having limited access to enough nutritious food to live a healthy lifestyle. Food insecurity has negative effects for individuals across the lifespan. For seniors, these effects can be particularly problematic given the unique health, economic, and nutritional challenges that can come with aging. An estimated 7.3% of seniors age 60 and older, or 5.3 million seniors overall, were food insecure in 2018.    

In 2020, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic threatens the lives and livelihoods of people across the country. Seniors are at higher risk for illness and may face challenges accessing food amidst closures and social distancing orders.2 The long-term effects of COVID-19 on food insecurity remain to be seen, but due to the projected growth of the senior population in the coming decades, senior food insecurity is likely to remain a public health challenge for years to come.  

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