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Second Annual Rural Aging Summit Brings Focus to Reversing Social Isolation


New national poll shows 64% of rural seniors feel social isolation has a negative impact on physical health

PORTLAND, Maine , Aug. 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Experts from around the country in healthcare, government, academia, and the private sector are gathering this week in Portland, Maine for the second annual Connectivity Summit on Rural Aging. The event, with more than 130 national leaders in attendance, is hosted by Tivity Health (NASDAQ:TVTY) in partnership with Health eVillages, the MIT AgeLab, and the Jefferson College of Population Health .

The two-day Summit puts a spotlight on social isolation – a core issue facing older adults in rural areas. Social isolation, and closely connected to that loneliness, carries greater health risk than obesity or smoking and has been shown to increase mortality, mobility loss, functional decline, and clinical dementia. Attendees at the Summit are focusing on actionable ideas to reduce the impact of social isolation and enable better health for those aging in rural parts of the country.

"My vision when launching this Summit two years ago was to ensure that actions, not just words, would empower stakeholders to work together to reverse the effects of social isolation," said Donato Tramuto , CEO of Tivity Health and president and founder of Health eVillages. "I am pleased that less than two years later we have successfully created a movement that has mobilized actions to support older Americans by addressing the impacts of social isolation."

Underpinning the Connectivity Summit on Rural Aging is a new national poll released today and commissioned by Tivity Health . Conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, one of the nation's leading polling firms, the survey provided new insights on aging issues and social isolation from seniors living in rural communities.

The poll shows that a majority of rural seniors are dealing with multiple health conditions. This is compounded by the fact that nearly one-third (29%) do not have social interaction on a daily basis, and many rural seniors are dealing with physical impairments such as vision loss (39%), hearing loss (36%), and loss of mobility (23%). The poll found that seniors living in rural areas (64%) feel social isolation has a negative impact on physical health.

"This polling reveals that a majority of rural seniors deal with multiple health issues. They see the tie between social isolation and loneliness and the negative effects on their physical health. These findings strengthen our resolve to take a holistic approach that addresses the mental, emotional, and physical implications of social isolation," said Tramuto.

Additionally, the polling results indicated that over a majority (66%) of rural seniors want public officials in their states and the business community (67%) to do more to address their needs. The Connectivity Summit on Rural Aging Summit represents a collaborative approach to identifying opportunities for the public and private sectors to work together to improve social connectedness among rural aging communities. Leaders at the Summit include Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA); Dr. Cara James , Co-Chair of the CMS Rural Health Council ; Robin Lipson , Executive Office of Elder Affairs for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts ; and Dr. Joseph Coughlin , Founder and Director of the MIT AgeLab.

"The segments of the rural senior population that are dealing with social isolation represent a largely unseen and unheard America," said Dr. Joseph Coughlin , Founder and Director, MIT AgeLab . "Their struggles are more pronounced, and yet they are also harder to reach. The good news is this is also an extraordinarily resilient population and we have a tremendous opportunity to work together to bring services and solutions to their doorstep that will reverse this trend."

Born out of last year's inaugural Connectivity Summit on Rural Aging, Tivity Health recently created and launched www.RuralAge.com . The new site serves as the most comprehensive digital hub for literature, policy, and thought leadership around the challenges of rural aging.

About Tivity Health
Tivity Health, Inc. is a leading provider of fitness and health improvement programs, with strong capabilities in developing and managing network solutions. Through its existing three networks, SilverSneakers® - the nation's leading community fitness program for older adults, Prime® Fitness and WholeHealth Living™, Tivity Health is focused on targeted population health for those 50 and over. With more than 15million Americans eligible for SilverSneakers, over 10,000 fitness centers in the Prime Fitness Network, and more than 25 years of clinical and operational expertise in managing specialty health benefits and networks, including chiropractic services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, acupuncture, massage and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) services, the Company touches millions of consumers across the country and works directly with hundreds of healthcare practitioners and many of the nation's largest payers and employers. Learn more at www.tivityhealth.com .

About Health eVillages
Health eVillages collaborates to advance healthcare access and improve the quality of care by providing state-of-the-art mobile health technology including medical reference and clinical decision support tools, as well as other community-focused resources, to medical and public health professionals in the most challenging clinical environments around the world. Our partners include Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights , Tivity Health , Sharecare , the Tramuto Foundation , Skyscape, PCS Wireless , Global Impact , the Maternity Foundation , Medical Aid Films , and more. You can find more information at www.healthevillages.org and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

About the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab is a multidisciplinary research program that works with business, government, and NGOs to improve the quality of life of older people and those who care for them. The MIT AgeLab applies consumer-centered systems thinking to understand the challenges and opportunities posed by the longevity economy. To learn more, visit agelab.mit.edu .

Jefferson College of Population Health of Thomas Jefferson University
The Jefferson College of Population Health (JCPH) is the first college of its kind in the country. Established in 2008, it is part of Thomas Jefferson University , a leading academic health center founded in Philadelphia in 1824 as Jefferson Medical College (now Sidney Kimmel Medical College ). The College is dedicated to exploring the policies and forces that define the health and well-being of populations. Its mission is to prepare leaders with global vision to examine the social determinants of health and to evaluate, develop and implement health policies and systems that will improve the health of populations and thereby enhance the quality of life. Jefferson College of Population Health provides exemplary graduate academic programming in population health, public health, health policy, healthcare quality and safety, and applied health economics and outcomes research. Its educational offerings are enhanced by research, publications and continuing education and professional development offerings in these areas.

Tivity Health (PRNewsfoto/Tivity Health, Inc)

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