The pandemic has spurred a record rise in social isolation, reaching epidemic proportions.
Renowned astronaut and connections advocate Scott Kelly, who spent 340 days isolated in space on a single mission in 2012, has teamed up with AARP Foundation and United Health Foundation to spread the message about the seriousness of social isolation, providing tips on how to successfully emerge from it.
“Living in space for a year is not easy. It was very rewarding; I consider it a privilege. But the best part about it was that you were doing something that I felt was not only important for me personally, but important for the entire planet,” said Kelly, who has spent a total of 520 days in space over the span of his career.
“You may be isolated, but you’re not alone. And there is ways, there are ways to find help and there are ways to cope with isolation. You just got to be willing to go find them and get out there and look,” he also said.
Social isolation is defined as infrequent or no social contact with others.
In a united effort to help those affected, the foundations recently expanded the website Connect2Affect.org, which was originally launched by AARP Foundation in 2016.
The site offers resources to help address social isolation, including an assessment that individuals can take to find out if they or a loved one are at risk for social isolation and guidance on how to strengthen social bonds.