Sánchez introduces legislation to address social isolation and loneliness in older adults

August 10, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA) introduced legislation aimed at improving health outcomes among seniors by mitigating the impact of social isolation and loneliness. The Addressing Social Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults (SILO) Act of 2021 requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish grants and trainings to help area agencies on aging (AAAs) and other community-based organizations better address social isolation and connect at-risk elders with the support they need. With nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older suffering from social isolation, this bill aims to address one of the most dangerous, yet preventable, risk factors that can lead to poor health outcomes among older Americans.

“Social isolation and loneliness impacted our seniors long before this pandemic led to limited gatherings and visits with friends and loved ones,” said Congresswoman Linda Sánchez. “Not everyone has the social support they need, and isolation can lead to poor physical and mental health. This bill would ensure community organizations have the tools and resources to meet the needs of all seniors, especially those most at risk of experiencing social isolation or loneliness.”

The Addressing SILO Act of 2021 requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide grants to eligible area agencies on aging (AAAs) or other community-based organizations to conduct outreach to individuals at risk for social isolation or loneliness, develop community-based interventions to mitigate loneliness and social isolation, connect at-risk individuals with social and clinical supports, and evaluate the effect of the programs developed and implemented in this bill.

Additionally, the Secretary must establish programs to provide and improve training for AAAs or other community-based organizations to address and prevent social isolation and loneliness. Finally, the bill requires the Secretary to submit a Report to Congress at least every three years after enactment and appropriates $62.5 million for each of FYs 2022 to 2025 to carry out these programs.

Last week, under the leadership of Chairman Richard Neal, the House Ways & Means Committee unveiled a bill protect seniors across the country by reauthorizing and funding the Elder Justice Act (EJA). The Addressing SILO Act is included in the legislation.