Research Report – An Analysis of the Costs and Benefits of Providing Increased Mobility to Reduce Social Isolation Among America's Aging Population
A study published by SURCOM analyzes the costs and benefits of providing greater mobility to socially isolated aging Americans. The number of Americans age 65 and older is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060, and the 65-and-older age group's share of the total population will rise from 16% to 23% (US Census 2018). Also, average U.S. life expectancy increased from 68 years in 1950 to 78.6 years in 2017, in large part due to the reduction in mortality at older ages.
The objective of this research was to quantify the cost of providing greater mobility through public transportation to aging adults in small urban and rural communities to lower social isolation. This was compared with the increased medical spending due to current levels of isolation.
Results for the states studied showed that from three to 10 trips per month could be provided to an isolated individual at a lower cost than the extra medical costs due to isolation. Also, an extra 25 to approximately 80 miles of service can be provided to an isolated aging adult per month for the states studied. Finally, from two to six hours of service can be provided to an isolated aging adult per month at costs equal to or less than the monthly medical costs due to isolation.
The full report and executive summary can be found at the link below:
For more details, contact Del Peterson at Del.Peterson@ndsu.edu.