Massachusetts, older residents, social connections, loneliness
Demography, Population, and Ecology | Gerontology
Unlike “best practices”, promising practices only require the successful implementation of a program or activity and some level of information that suggests a positive outcome for participants. One key advantage of using promising practices is that they can be adapted and there is flexibility in implementation styles and environments. As well, starting with a promising practice can help solve community problems, and save the trouble of reinventing the wheel. If someone has already found an effective way to resolve an issue or advance the cause, it makes sense to use it. The intention of this document is to alert those working in the field of aging services or social services in Massachusetts of strategies and practices that demonstrate positive impact on the residents involved.
With guidance from the academic partners at the Center for Social & Demographic Research on Aging at the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB) Gerontology Institute, members of the 30-person task force worked together to develop a definition of “promising practices” as they related to the mission of the group. Subsequently, communities that participated in the 2020 Summit to Spark Action, the network of Councils on Aging (COAs), and members of the Task Force were consulted with to identify possible promising practices. An initial review identified approximately 43 programs and activities. Members of the UMB research team further investigated and interviewed administrators of these initiatives to gather and document additional details and make the determination of whether the practice was truly promising.
The final set of 12 programs are detailed in this report to outline for other cities and towns how they might replicate promising ideas in their own communities and proliferate the mission of the Task Force to End Loneliness & Build Community for older residents of the Commonwealth.
Coyle, Caitlin and Massihzadegan, Setarreh, "Promising Little Things to Strengthen Social Connections" (2021). Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging Publications. 56.