Speakers: Kimberly Van Orden, PhD

Date: February 7th, 2024 12pm- 1:30pm CT

Description: Social isolation and loneliness (SIL) is one of the most common characteristics among older adults who die by suicide, while social connection is protective: socially connected adults have greater than a two-fold reduction in suicide risk over the long-term. Despite the clear significance of SIL, the U.S. healthcare system has not capitalized on social connection as preventive medicine: it is not routinely assessed and there are no clear evidence-based interventions. This presentation will discuss evidence-informed strategies to assess and intervene on SIL to prevent suicide and promote health & well-being in older adults, including individual coaching, behavioral activation, volunteering, and peer companionship, as well as challenges in engaging older adults in those programs. 

Learning Objectives: 

  • Describe at least two pathways (or mechanisms) whereby reducing social isolation and loneliness may reduce suicide risk in later life. 
  • Identify at least three promising strategies to reduce social isolation and loneliness in older adults. 
  • Identify at least two factors that may prevent older adults from engaging in programs to reduce social isolation and loneliness.