For Professionals: Isolation and Loneliness Resources

The Wisconsin Coalition to End Social Isolation & Loneliness has brought together resources and tools for communities to utilize. Learn about the coalition and the initiatives to support older adults and people with disabilities below.

Social Isolation & Loneliness: What’s the Difference?

  • Social Isolation: The objective experience of having few or infrequent social connections.

  • Loneliness: The subjective and distressing feeling of being alone or isolated, often defined as the difference between actual and desired level of social connection

  • Social Connection: The ways that people can be physically, emotionally and culturally connected to others.

Resources for Professionals

Research, Data, & Policy

Two work groups of WCESIL work in this area: Public Policy and Measurement.

The Impact of Loneliness & Social Isolation

Loneliness and social isolation have serious physical and mental health implications in older adults and people with disabilities.
In older adults:
A study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine showed:

  • More than one-third of adults aged 45 and older feel lonely, and nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated. 

  • 30% of U.S. households have a single member; approximately 34.75 million people live in single-person households.

  • Social isolation significantly increased a person’s risk of premature death from all causes, a risk that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.

  • Social isolation was associated with about a 50% percent increased risk of dementia.

  • Poor social relationships (characterized by social isolation or loneliness) was associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke.

  • Loneliness among heart failure patients was associated with a nearly 4 times increased risk of death, 68% increased risk of hospitalization, and 57% increased risk of emergency department visits.

In people with disabilities:

Michigan University health policy brief developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research showed:

  • 40% of adults with a debilitating disability or chronic condition report feeling lonely or socially isolated

  • Specific health risks associated with social isolation and loneliness include: increased mortality, increased blood pressure and progression of Alzheimer’s Disease, depression, pain, and fatigue, failing immune system, and decreased restorative sleep

  • Adults with disability have unequal access to technology

In People in Wisconsin:

Public Policy Issues Impacting Loneliness & Social Isolation

Research on Loneliness & Social Isolation in Older Adults

Raising Awareness

The Public Awareness Work Group works in this area.

Raising Awareness to Connect People

The resources here are intended for professionals to utilize as tools and examples for engaging members of your community to encourage meaningful connections and purpose. 

How can you use these tools in your community? We’ve shared some strategies, but feel free to be creative and share what has been successful!  

Awareness Resources

If you have a newsletter, paper, do bag stuffers, or have other print or online communication with isolated members of your community, consider inserting one of the following. Download and enter your own community activities and events to distribute to people in your area.

Media Tools

Stay Connected
This fillable document can help people who are lonely and/or socially isolated create an action plan for creating meaningful connections.


Identifying & Supporting People

The Access & Detection Work Group works in this area.

Detecting Loneliness & Social Isolation and Engaging in Interventions

Identifying people who are lonely and/or socially isolated is a challenge. But it’s a critical step in reaching and supporting them. 

The resources here provide tools for assessing and providing resources to community members to encourage meaningful connections and purpose. How can you use these tools in your community? We’ve shared some strategies, but feel free to be creative and share what has been successful! 

How connected are your community members? Share this self-evaluation from AARP’s Connect2Affect.

Resources for Adults

How connected do individuals in your community feel?

This self-evaluation tool from AARP’s Connect2Affect can help people identify their level of connection.

National Resources

Wisconsin Resources

Recorded Webinars

Contact Pam VanKampen, GWAAR OAA Consultant with any questions or if you have additional resources. 

WCESIL Screening Pilot

The Access & Detection work group of the Wisconsin Coalition to End Social Isolation and Loneliness (WCESIL) is conducting a pilot for partners to access information and resources. Please see the resources below. For information or questions, contact Sara Richie

The below resources are those used for the WCESIL Screening Pilot


  • 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline – Need support now?  If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available.  Call or text 988 or chat

  • 988 Partner Toolkit – Communication outreach materials (includes Fact Sheets, 988 Logo and Branding, E-Newsletter Template, Radio PSA scripts, presentation deck, implementation guidance playbooks, printable materials, and Social Media Shareables)

  • enGAGED: A National Resource Center for Engaging Older Adults  houses best and emerging social engagement programs.  Searchable by a variety of filters.


  • Stay Connected Toolkit – Developed by the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities.  Toolkit can be completed online, or it can be downloaded and printed.  It’s also available in Spanish and Hmong.  Click here for more information.

  • WI Consumer Resource Guide – resources for older adults and people with disabilities to stay socially connected and engaged. 


Awareness Week Resources

The Proclamation

Upcoming Events

Press Releases


For use in your social media, newsletters, and/or email. To download, click on the image then right click and select SAVE AS.

Wisconsin Coalition to End Social Isolation & Loneliness (WCESIL)

AboutMember MapJoin UsFor WCESIL Members

What if we could build communities where everyone feels a sense of belonging? Where real connections between people create impactful relationships? Where we all live with meaning and purpose?

The Wisconsin Coalition to End Social Isolation and Loneliness (WCESIL) brings community organizations and individuals together to make that happen. WIHA participates in WCESIL.

Learn More about the Coalition:

The Wisconsin Coalition to End Social Isolation & Loneliness (WCESIL) encourages individuals and organizations from all across the state to join us in finding and supporting people who are lonely and/or socially isolated. As a member, you’ll have the opportunity to join a work group to play a role in the effort or simply stay informed about coalition activities and initiatives.

To register your organization as a member, please fill out the agreement:

To join as an individual, please fill out the appropriate form below and let us know your interests and availability. We will follow up with you to facilitate your participation.

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