NCOA’s Aging Mastery Program® Addresses COVID-19 Social Isolation Issues

Program that has empowered 22,000 older adults to age well pivots to virtual format

Arlington, VA (August 3 , 2020) – The Aging Mastery Program® (AMP), a comprehensive and fun approach to aging well developed by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), is addressing social isolation issues among older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. The workshop, which has empowered more than 22,000 older adults to age well, is now being offered virtually at nonprofit organizations nationwide.

The Aging Mastery Program is an innovative, 10-part program that focuses on key aspects of aging well, including health, finances, relationships, personal growth, and community involvement. Two peer-reviewed studies and self-reported data from participants have shown that graduates increase their physical activity levels, healthy eating habits, use of advanced planning, social connectedness, and participation in evidence-based health programs.

“We are extremely grateful for our 600 community partners who run the program and the many organizations that have sponsored the Aging Mastery Program over the years,” said Susan Stiles, PhD, NCOA Senior Director, Product Development and Strategy. “Right now, with physical distancing a priority, it’s more important than ever to have programs like Aging Mastery that help people feel less socially isolated and more connected to one another. We value the commitment, ingenuity, and support of these community-based organizations as they continue to serve vulnerable older adults now and as they pivot to a virtual environment.”

“Initially, I was doubtful that the virtual Aging Mastery Program sessions could be as effective and interactive as an in-person class.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only were the videos, workbook, and expert speakers engaging, but these stimulated participants to discuss their impressions, share their experiences and learn from each other in a virtual environment.” said Bonnie Ackerman, a graduate from Columbus, Ohio.

Among the 600 sites offering the Aging Mastery Program prior to the pandemic were senior centers, religious organizations, nonprofits, and community-based organizations that serve older adults. The emergence of COVID-19 has meant that many of these centers have had to shut their doors temporarily. Still, at least 75 sites continue to offer classes virtually—both online and via telephone with more making plans to convert in-person class to virtual ones.

“We started the Aging Mastery Program in 2013 to empower older adults to make the most of their gift of longevity. The program’s growth and expansion to a virtual environment shows that older adults are looking for trusted information and are able to embrace virtual technology,” said Stiles. Learn more about the Aging Mastery Program on our website.

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