The aging and disability networks have worked for years to tackle the social isolation of older adults, people with disabilities and their caregivers through social engagement programming. The last few years have taught us that it is critically important to find new and innovative ways to help older adults, people with disabilities and caregivers stay socially engaged and connected to their communities. This is why engAGED and Commit to Connect joined forces to co-host a two-day Virtual Summit on August 2-3, 2022.

The 2022 engAGED and Commit to Connect Virtual Summit brought together more than 700 leaders from the aging and disability networks for two days of learning, connection and information sharing. Speakers included researchers and national, state and local leaders who shared the latest social engagement research and examples of social engagement programs and practices. The summary below highlights the focuses of both days and includes timestamps for the recordings for each section. View the recordings, full agenda and speaker bios for details on the Summit.

Day One

  • USAging and the Administration for Community Living (ACL), which administer and fund both engAGED and Commit to Connect, respectively kicked off Day One of the Summit. Timestamp | 0:00-11:05 
  • Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a nationally recognized expert on the long-term health effects of social connection, shared how the latest research on social isolation and loneliness impacts practice and social engagement programming. Timestamp | 14:15-59:30 
  • With the framework provided by Dr. Holt-Lunstad on what the research shows regarding the reduction of social isolation and loneliness, engAGED and Commit to Connect spotlighted resources and tools to support social engagement work. Timestamp | 59:30-1:19:00 
  • Day One concluded with a panel discussion of researchers and practitioners in the field of intergenerational engagement. Donna Butts, Executive Director at Generations United, served as moderator of the panel, with panelists providing insights on the development, implementation and sustainability of local programs that connect older and younger generations. Timestamp | 1:28:30-2:24:00 

Day Two

  • USAging and ACL kicked off Day Two of the Summit, with a summary of Day One and a preview of Day Two. Timestamp | 0:00-3:56
  • Dr. Thomas Cudjoe, geriatrician and expert on social isolation, highlighted how social factors—including social isolation and loneliness—influence the health of older adults. Dr. Cudjoe described findings from his research which focuses on identifying risk factors for social isolation and the relationship between social connections and health outcomes. Timestamp | 6:30-56:45  
  • Building upon the context Dr. Cudjoe provided, a panel of researchers moderated by Anne Ordway, Program Specialist at the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) at ACL took a deeper dive into research on the intersection between social engagement and equity issues. Timestamp | 56:45-1:36:30 
  • The Summit’s final panel explored how social isolation and equity intersect within practice. Moderated by Sherri Clark, Senior Aging Services Program Specialist at ACL, panelists shared examples of culturally competent programs and practices that can help address the social engagement needs of populations from historically marginalized communities. Timestamp | 1:44:30-2:27:30 

If you missed the live event or want to re-watch any sections, you can view the recordings and access the PowerPoint slides here.