We at Blooming Health believe that strong social health is critical for us to enjoy a healthy longevity. This is why we are building a social operating system (OS) that enables a grassroots approach of connecting older adults to their local community resources that provide social support, in a personalized way. We deploy ageless communication technology in an inclusive and data-driven manner to achieve this objective. We are currently focusing on vulnerable older adults who are at high risk for health impact from social isolation and loneliness e.g. home-bound, live alone, multi-ethnic.
Social isolation and loneliness is a serious, growing problem. As the aging population continues to grow faster, 90% of older adults wish to age in place. However, this also increases their risk of becoming socially isolated and lonely as their children move to different locations or their spouses pass away. In addition, 22M older adults lack internet access at home and are at risk of not being able to receive home or community-based social support services. Thus ~35% of the older adults in the US are affected by social isolation and loneliness (ref #1: AARP 2018 Report Loneliness and Social Connections: A National Survey of Adults 45 and Older). COVID19 has further exacerbated this issue.
Since not everyone is tech-savvy, has a smartphone or has home-based access to the internet, we should build more inclusive and scalable communication methods to share essential information and engage older adults about their community programs and benefits. This improved awareness will in turn lead to higher social participation from older adults in their own communities and help them form stronger social support networks.
We launched our solution in November 2020 with a large community-based organization (CBO) in New York City. Our preliminary data indicates that the Blooming Health solution is able to drive 2X-3X more social engagement than traditional methods. We will continue to generate evidence on our impact in improving social engagement by leveraging data from multiple sources on older adults’ social needs, their community engagement, and self-reported data on social isolation and loneliness via standard measures.