In 2017, Tivity Health launched a national movement to improve the health and well-being of older Americans aging in rural, remote and underserved areas. The movement included the establishment of the Rural Aging Advisory Council and three national Connectivity Summits that addressed issues such as social determinants of health, food insecurity and social isolation and loneliness.
The stakeholder group of researchers, faith-based groups, academia, industry experts, advocacy organizations, non-profit and community-based representatives, foundations, government and business have coalesced and made significant recommendations on legislative and regulatory issues impacting seniors in rural communities.
With the expansion into issues that affect seniors regardless of geography, the Rural Aging Advisory Council is now known as the Healthy Aging Coalition. Led by Tivity Health, this group is committed to ensuring that all older adults live their best lives with equity, vitality, dignity, and purpose, and will continue to serve as a catalyst for education, action and change.
Since its inception in 2016, the Healthy Aging Coalition has created a number of reports, publications and white papers to address aging issues.
- In October 2020, Tivity Health and Aetna co-sponsored a Healthcare Leadership Council roundtable of more than 100 organizations from the healthcare, public policy, academia, non-profit, patient advocacy, and private industry spheres. The objective was to focus on identifying actionable recommendations to reduce health disparities by addressing social determinants of health. Care, Context & Community: Creative Ways to Address Social Determinants of Health includes solutions generated by the roundtable participants that will be used to create strategic and advocacy recommendations for the 2021 Administration and Congress.
- When COVID-19 created widespread disruption last spring, Tivity Health began surveying SilverSneakers members to better understand their experiences and needs during the pandemic. Survey reports highlighted the overall impact of COVID-19, the effects on social interaction, fitness behavior, eating habits and more. View the most recent SilverSneakers Pulse Survey results here. In late 2020, Tivity Health issued a survey dedicated to the vaccine to determine whether seniors would take the vaccine and identify opportunities to increase vaccine confidence. To view the SilverSneakers Pulse Survey vaccine survey results, click here.
- A report, “Leveraging the Power of Connection” offers new insights and recommendations on how to improve the health of aging Americans, as derived from the third annual Connectivity Summit on Rural Aging held in August 2019. The report offers eight recommendations for tackling various social determinants of health and calls on leveraging consumer-facing organizations, private companies, and the public sector to explore what can be done to reduce loneliness, improve health and promote greater social connectivity among older adults in the United States.
- Aging Well in Rural America: A Collection of Stories from the Heartland: A publication of nearly two dozen community leaders who are leading innovation and positive change at the community level to improve care and address social isolation for older adults.
- Solutions to Address Social Determinants of Health: In May 2019, Tivity Health worked with the Healthcare Leadership Council and Aetna to convene a roundtable of nearly 80 national experts and healthcare leaders in Washington, D.C. to identify the core challenges and opportunities on social determinants of health. The roundtable resulted in a published white paper in July 2019: Determined to Reduce Disparities: Solutions to Address Social Determinants of Health. The paper identifies four keys to success around social determinants of health: (1) Coordinating healthcare and social services outreach; (2) Bridging incentives across health services; (3) Integrating the voice of patients; and (4) Improving data strategies.
- Bipartisan Policy Center Roundtable on Social Isolation: In June 2018, Tivity Health joined the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C. to convene a roundtable discussion titled, “Rural Aging: Health and Community Policy Implications for Reversing Social Isolation.” The roundtable was co-chaired by former Tivity Health CEO Donato Tramuto, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and included more than two dozen policy experts and thought leaders to identify priority issues for reversing social isolation. The roundtable produced a white paper, published in July 2018: Rural Aging: Health and Community Policy Implications for Reversing Social Isolation.
- Polling on Social Isolation & Rural Senior Health: In 2018, a national poll commissioned by Tivity Health and conducted by Public Opinion Strategies provided new insights on aging issues and social isolation for seniors living in rural communities. The poll revealed that a majority of rural seniors are dealing with multiple health conditions.
- One-third (29%) do not have social interaction on a daily basis, and many rural seniors are dealing with physical impairments such as vision loss (39%), hearing loss (36%), and loss of mobility (23%).
- The poll found that seniors living in rural areas (64%) feel social isolation has a negative impact on physical health.
- Additionally, the poll indicated that over a majority (66%) of rural seniors want public officials in their states and the business community (67%) to do more to address their needs.
- A summary of the polling results can be found here, as well as key findings.
- Taking the Movement to Our Nation’s Capital: To help improve national attention on rural aging, Tivity Health convened a panel event, “Aging in Rural America: The Growing Crisis, A Movement for Change,” in Washington, D.C., with the support of the National Rural Health Association, MIT AgeLab, Jefferson College of Population Health, and Health eVillages. U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who has been actively advocating for rural health and elderly care issues at the federal level, opened the event as the panel stressed the importance of increasing awareness to build a movement that improves rural aging through collaboration and a commitment to help rural seniors live better, not just longer.
- Rural Opioid Crisis Study with Grantmakers In Aging: Rural aging issues are further complicated by America’s opioid crisis. In 2017 Tivity Health sponsored a report published by Grantmakers In Aging titled, “Heartache, Pain, and Hope: Rural Communities, Older People, and the Opioid Crisis.” According to the report, while older Americans do not necessarily suffer the highest rates of opioid overdose deaths, they are not immune to the impact of the crisis – as a population that experiences high rates of chronic pain as well as one that increasingly serves as caretakers to adult children who may be struggling with opioid addiction.