ACL Seeks Solutions to Match People Who Are Socially Isolated with Available Social Engagement Programs and Technology Solutions

Social isolation has enormous health consequences – it has been found to be as harmful to a person’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. People who are socially isolated or lonely face higher risk of hospitalization, heart failure and stroke, dementia, and even premature death. For a variety of reasons, older adults, people with disabilities, and veterans are more likely to be socially isolated and to report feeling lonely. There is a clear and critical need to help people at risk of social isolation find opportunities to connect with others and engage in their communities.

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) and the Office for the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other partners (the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Consumer Technology Association Foundation) invite submissions to a Challenge competition awarding $750,000 in prizes for development of an easy-to-use online system that offers recommendations for programs, activities, and resources that can help users connect to others and engage in the community, based on their individual needs, interests, and abilities. The winning system will be announced and demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2021. It ultimately will become the centerpiece of a national public awareness campaign.

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