Increasing Social Connectedness among NYC’s Older Adults Concept Paper

New York City NY
Due Date : Ongoing

Social isolation has been linked to increased risk of physical disease and illness, and has a significant effect on the mental and emotional well-being, and overall quality of life, of older adults. Since James S. House’s, et al, article Social Relationships and Health (1988), scientific evidence has continued to emerge reinforcing social connectedness’s positive impact on health. In addition to positively impacting physiological health, supportive social ties enhance mental health (e.g., by reducing stress and loneliness) and may enable people to feel a greater sense of personal control, which boosts healthy living. Social isolation is an increasingly important issue since the world’s population continues to age. In fact, globally, in 2000, the number of people over the age of 60 had already surpassed the number of children under five.3 In the United States, the Baby Boom generation (those adults now approaching age 65) will significantly impact how social services engage with older adults. This generation is more self-reliant than their parents: of those Baby Boomers who do have children, seven in ten report wanting to live independently from their children during retirement.4 However, this generation also has higher rates of divorce and poverty, higher incidence of frailty, and fewer numbers of children to care for them as compared to their parents’ generation. When considering all of these factors, it is not surprising that older adults regularly experience difficulty coping with life-altering events such as retirement, declining health, and the death of a loved one. Older adults in New York City are particularly susceptible to social isolation, as they are more likely to live alone, to experience financial hardship, and to suffer from one or more disabilities when compared to their peers throughout the US. In order to address these issues, a solicitation will be issued seeking appropriately qualified vendor(s) to design and implement a program model to help New York City’s older adult population increase their social connectedness. The vendor(s) will design, develop, pilot and evaluate a program to increase social connectedness among NYC’s older adults (for the purpose of this RFP, age 55 and older, given the disproportionate lower lifespan of adults living with serious mental illness). The proposed program would target a minimum of three distinct geographic areas in NYC (e.g NORC, zip code, community district) and include cultural and language diversity programs. The proposed program would also include a robust evaluation to be conducted throughout the duration of the pilot using validated measurements of social connectedness to provide evidence of the programs impact. The selected vendor(s) will also promulgate a final report including lessons learned, recommendations and the identification of systemized practices for program sustainability. The goal of this solicitation is to increase and sustain social connectedness among New York City’s older adults (age 55 and older). The objectives of this solicitation are as follows: 1. Increase in perceived social support 2. Increase in perceived social connectedness 3. Improved access to health care 4. Improved health 5. Improved well-being 6. Increase in social and cognitive stimulation / increase participation in community activities.

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Working With: New York City

Entity Contact: Purchasing Department