Traditionally, our life has 3 stages: education, raising family + work, retirement. Despite an increase in average life expectancy up to 90 years, we still spend ~30% of our lifetime in retirement. While our physical and mental health decline in the later years, unfortunately our social support also shrinks, making the final years more difficult to live. To add to this, 90% of our $8.3T global healthcare spend is focused on reactive medical care vs prevention and social care. So, what is the key to fully enjoying the bounty of longer lives?
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. ~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. Social isolation and loneliness affects the physical and mental health of older adults to the tune of smoking 15 cigarettes per day and increases their risk of mortality by 50%. When unsolved, this problem costs Medicare $1608 more per year for each socially isolated vs connected older adult (~$20B opportunity). Yet 90% of our $8.3T global healthcare spend ($3.5T in the US, 2018) is reactive and focused on medical care vs prevention and social care.
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.