SC’s Operation to Confront Social Isolation and Loneliness (SOCIAL) in Aging is a state-wide coalition dedicated to reducing social isolation in older adults. SOCIAL Aging is guided by members of the Steering Committee. For a full list of coalition members and the Steering Committee, view the SOCIAL Aging Member List.
The growing prevalence of social isolation in the United States was recognized as a risk to public health years before the COVID pandemic. The South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health (IMPH), in partnership with the South Carolina Department on Aging convened a taskforce comprised of stakeholders from across South Carolina to collaborative identify approaches to address social isolation in older adults. The Taskforce released their final report containing research and recommendations in June 2023. One of the recommendations in this report was for the OSA to form an inclusive, ongoing coalition focused on social isolation in older adults to continue the efforts of the taskforce. To learn more about the Taskforce and to access the final report, visit the IMPH Taskforce’s webpage.
SOCIAL Aging is comprised of state-wide and community experts and those with lived experience to work collaboratively to reduce social isolation in older adults.
The role of SOCIAL Aging is to prioritize recommendations of the Social Isolation in Older Adults Taskforce, keep continued, focused attention on recommendations, eliminate or minimize barriers to implementation, connect and mobilize stakeholders, promote, and track progress related to implementation of taskforce recommendations and inform the content of progress report to measure progress toward implementation.
Two fundamental definitions of SOCIAL Aging are social isolation, and loneliness. The coalition adopted these definitions from the original Taskforce from Social Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults: Opportunities for the Health Care Team (2020).
- Social Isolation: objectively being alone, having few relationships or infrequent social contact.
- Loneliness: subjectively feeling alone from a discrepancy between one’s desired level of connection and one’s actual level.
Do you have a passion to address social isolation and loneliness in older adults and want to be a part of active change in the community and across the state? Contact OSA to discuss your SOCIAL Aging membership.