Minnesota’s population is aging, concurrent with maturing baby boomers.

According to Minnesota Compass, the number of Minnesotans age 65 years and older is projected to grow from 800,000 to 1.3 million by 2030. This age wave washing over Minnesota will affect the overall number of working-age people in the economy. Minnesota Public Radio reports that the increase in seniors will put pressure on Minnesota’s long-term care systems and costs to taxpayers could balloon. Funding for one of the main federal programs helping seniors, the Older Americans Act, has lagged far behind senior population growth as well as economic inflation.

Loneliness is an emotional response to isolation, affecting people’s daily lives and sense of well-being.

Using the UCLA Loneliness Scale, health service company Cigna found that loneliness is widespread in America, with 2 in 5 people feeling like they lack companionship, that their relationships aren’t meaningful and that they are isolated from others. An AARP study released in September 2018 concluded that 1 in 3 adults 45 or older are lonely.

Isolation is the experience of being separated from others and can also result from being emotionally removed from a community.

“We know that social isolation and loneliness are as bad for our health as obesity and smoking,” says Alison Bryant, AARP senior vice president of research.