The United Health Foundation and AARP Foundation have launched a $5 million partnership to address social isolation and food insecurity among seniors nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative is part of UnitedHealth Group’s nearly $70 million commitment to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and support impacted populations, including health care workers, seniors, hard-hit communities and people experiencing homelessness and food insecurity.
The funding will help:
- Establish innovative programs to connect older adults to groceries and emergency food boxes.
- Expand AARP Foundation’s Connect2Affect platform to reduce social isolation, promote greater connection and address other immediate and ongoing needs related to COVID-19 and beyond.
COVID-19’s Impact on Seniors
Research shows that seniors are affected by social isolation and food insecurity, particularly those with low incomes. The COVID-19 crisis has placed outsized burdens on these individuals.
“Social isolation and food insecurity have direct impacts on seniors’ physical and mental health in the best of times, and the COVID-19 emergency has only compounded these challenges for older Americans,” said Brian Thompson, chief executive officer of UnitedHealthcare Government Programs. “AARP Foundation has had a long-standing commitment to addressing the needs of vulnerable older adults, and by working together we can help ensure that seniors have the essential support they need to stay healthy.”
UnitedHealth Group has collaborated with AARP for more than 20 years on several initiatives to advance health care for older Americans, including creating better consumer experiences and robust research programs to improve health outcomes.
“Our nation’s older adults are at especially high risk for complications from COVID-19. Moreover, the measures put in place to address this crisis, while necessary, have effectively cut off vulnerable seniors from the things that are vital to well-being, such as nutritious food and social connection,” said Lisa Marsh Ryerson, president, AARP Foundation. “We are grateful to the United Health Foundation for its generous support of our efforts to respond to these needs, both during the pandemic and beyond.”