WASHINGTON--As COVID-19 continues to impact daily life across the country and around the world, the Foundation for Art & Healing (FAH), in collaboration with AARP Foundation, is addressing the emotional distress that results from the unprecedented public health demands for physical distancing. Even before the COVID-19 crisis, a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, sponsored by AARP Foundation, showed nearly 1 in 4 older adults are socially isolated.
Working as a companion piece to AARP Foundation’s Connect2Affect platform, Stuck at Home (together), designed and maintained by FAH, uses a variety of evidence-based creative expression and mindfulness activities to create, enhance, and sustain social connections while reducing the stress and anxiety that many older adults are experiencing. The site includes a community check-in that allows visitors to answer brief anonymous questions, sharing their situations and how they are doing, in order to guide them towards activities for increased social connection that may best fit their needs. Opportunities include story sharing, visual art-making activities and a collection of high impact videos to emphasize the power of the arts to provide a sense of social cohesion. There are also resource guides to help people navigate their new COVID-19 circumstances, and direct users to reliable sources that address physical, mental and social health concerns.
The Stuck at Home (together) initiative is led by FAH Board Member and former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, David Shulkin, MD, and FAH Founder and CEO Jeremy Nobel, MD, with support from AARP Foundation.
“Studies show loneliness impairs both physical and mental health, adding to the burdens of anxiety and uncertainty that many are facing,” says Dr. Nobel. “The goal of this initiative is to provide timely support to people dealing with the distress of involuntary isolation, in particular to some of the most at risk, older adults and their family caregivers.”
“Stuck at Home (together) enhances Connect2Affect’s suite of tools that provide social and community supports for older adults,” says AARP Foundation President Lisa Marsh Ryerson. “The arts generate shared experiences that helps us create meaningful new relationships. Stuck at Home (together) empowers socially isolated adults across the nation to harness their creativity to develop social connections with new acquaintances as well as boost those with family and friends.”
Despite the ongoing need for physical distancing, people can still feel supported and connected to others, coming together to share their experiences. “It’s a time to assist federal, state and municipal government in flattening the curve and keeping people healthy and whole by giving us all a sense of community and connection as we venture into this uncharted territory,” adds Dr Shulkin.
Stuck at Home (together) has already garnered broad support, teaming up with key stakeholders from a variety of organizations and industries including government, advocacy groups, health systems, research organizations, health plans, academia, large employers, and educational institutions.
About THE FOUNDATION FOR ART & HEALING
Led by Harvard Medical School faculty member Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH and founded in response to the September 11th 2001 attacks, the 501c3 non-profit Foundation for Art & Healing (www.artandhealing.org) has over 15 years of experience designing and deploying effective programs that harness creative expression activities to enhance health and well-being.
The mission of the Foundation for Art & Healing is to “bridge” medical science, public health and the humanities to expand general awareness about art and healing, to bring forward through research and related explorations critical knowledge about art and healing and the relationship between them, and to make this knowledge available through a variety of programs at the individual and community level.
About AARP Foundation
AARP Foundation works to end senior poverty by helping vulnerable older adults build economic opportunity and social connections. As AARP’s charitable affiliate, we serve AARP members and nonmembers alike. Bolstered by vigorous legal advocacy, we spark bold, innovative solutions that foster resilience, strengthen communities and restore hope.