Health company partners with community platform, to provide social connection

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Tivity Health, the health company that provides SilverSneakers, the well-known nationwide community fitness program for Medicare-eligible Americans, has entered an exclusive partnership with tech company, Stitch, to help foster social connection and combat isolation. The addition will further expand the options that SilverSneakers members in participating plans have to build social connections through unlimited access to the Stitch social platform.

Founded in 2014, Stitch is a social engagement platform where adults ages 50 years and older can connect both virtually and in person. With more than 154,000 participants worldwide and 91,000 participants in the United States, the platform offers members virtual opportunities such as book clubs, trivia, crafting, and more.

The partnership will further enhance in-person and virtual relationships to support the health and quality of life of seniors by expanding membership and helping to mitigate social isolation and loneliness.

SilverSneakers has been surveying its members through a series of surveys since the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began on topics including physical activity, social connection, nutrition, and technology adoption. Survey respondents have consistently identified inability to visit with friends and family as the number one cause of disruption in their lives during the pandemic. In the most recent quarterly survey, 8 percent of members reported consistent social isolation, double that of pre-COVID-19 levels, but less than at the highest point of 23 percent in January to March 2021. 

"Social isolation and loneliness were recognized as a public health issue for seniors even before the pandemic and it has only worsened over the past 18 months," said Richard Ashworth, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Tivity Health, in a statement. "We know that when seniors engage in a variety of activities, including physical fitness and social opportunities, their overall health and well-being improve.”

With Stitch, SilverSneakers representatives said the company can better support Medicare Advantage members in participating health plans with experiences beyond physical fitness to improve their health and to connect in-person or virtually with others, including friends they may typically see at their local fitness centers. Stitch activities are based on the efforts of members – and include local events, online discussions, group travel events and volunteer opportunities. Unlimited access to the Stitch platform will be available to eligible SilverSneakers members in participating health plans in January 2022.

Integrative practitioners treating Medicare Advantage members may consider this social platform when building patient protocols for their senior patients.