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Rubio, Smith, Scott Introduce Bill to Address Senior Loneliness

May 21, 2024 | Press Releases

In Florida and across the country, a growing number of senior citizens are suffering from mental and physical health issues, largely driven by an epidemic of loneliness. Despite public health officials sounding the alarm, the issue has not yet been addressed through any major legislation. 

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced the Social Engagement and Network Initiatives for Older Relief (SENIOR) Act to address senior loneliness.  

  • “Seniors across the country are suffering from mental health issues and loneliness. That is why I am introducing the SENIOR Act to support Florida’s seniors by addressing this issue and bringing seniors back into our communities.” – Senator Rubio
  • “People say we can’t combat loneliness through legislation, but I think that’s a ridiculous thing to say. Whether it’s Meals on Wheels or support for caregivers, there are so many different things we can do to support people as they age. Nobody deserves to feel so alone and isolated that their health suffers, especially seniors. We are more connected now than ever before – yet loneliness endures. We need to invest in programs that will combat loneliness in our older Americans and I’m glad to be leading this charge.” – Senator Smith
  • “Florida has a wonderful senior population that contributes so much to our great state. Combatting the feeling of isolation and loneliness for our aging community has endless benefits – from better mental and physical health to stronger, multigenerational relationships with families and communities. I’m proud to lead this bill with Senator Rubio to better support our seniors.”  – Senator Scott

Specifically, this bill would:

  • Promote programs that combat loneliness and support community integration for seniors by adding “loneliness” to the definition of “disease prevention and health promotion services” under  the Older Americans Act.
  • Direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to prepare a report on the impacts of loneliness on seniors and propose solutions for identified impacts; 
  • Through the report, analyze the relationship between the strength of multigenerational family units, loneliness, and seniors. 

This legislation is supported by the National Council on Aging, Coalition to End Social Isolation and Loneliness, Senior Resource Alliance, and Centerstone.