Social connectedness is a person’s level and quality of contact with other people, and is key to healthy aging. Studies show that older adults who have close connections and relationships not only live longer, but also cope better with health conditions and experience less depression. Life transitions can impact the number and quality of people’s social and community networks. For example, friends and family members may move away, which can have a negative impact on someone’s social network. But a transition such as the birth of a new family member can bring positive changes.
Let’s imagine a set of tools, technologies or services that enable people to connect in new or unexpected ways and to create and nurture relationships across generations.
Many of us find meaning and a sense of purpose through the connections we create with each other – but we don’t always know how to connect with new people outside of our social circle or where to go to find others with shared interests. What tools – apps, platforms, websites, in-person meetups, community events or other vehicles – might help older adults meet people outside of their peer group, form friendships and mentoring relationships and share stories of how these connections have changed their mindset, behaviors or perspectives?
- How might we create virtual spaces for people to come together?
- How might we use technology to create new connections between people and communities?
- How might we make it easier for people to find others who share similar interests?
- How might we put new experiences within arm’s reach (more accessible)?
- How might we foster unexpected connections across generations?