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Strategies to Promote Social Connections Among Older Adults During “Social Distancing” Restrictions

This course was updated 28 days ago. If you're about to take the exam, you may benefit from reviewing the exam questions listed below before starting on the actual exam.

About the Course:

Older age and medical comorbidity are factors associated with more severe illness and risk of death due to COVID-19 infection. Social distancing is an important public health strategy for controlling the spread of the virus and minimizing its impact on the older adult population. It comes at a cost, however. Loneliness is associated with myriad adverse health outcomes, one of which is impaired immune functioning, which adds even greater risk for coronavirus infection, complications and death. Older adults, therefore, are at compound risk, making effective management of loneliness and social isolation in our older patients a high priority target for preventive intervention. In this paper, the authors describe a cognitive-behavioral framework for social connectedness, including evidence-informed strategies clinicians can use to help patients develop a “Connections Plan” to stay connected and promote their social, mental, and physical health during “social distancing” restrictions. This set of strategies can be provided during brief (30 minute) telephone sessions and is analogous to creating a “Safety Plan” for suicide risk. The approach is illustrated with three case examples.

“This course is based on the reading-based online article, Strategies to Promote Social Connections Among Older Adults During “Social Distancing” Restrictions created by Kimberly A Van Orden, Ph.D., et al. in 2020.”

Publication Date:

May 2020

Course Material Authors

Course Material Authors authored the material only, and were not involved in creating this CE course. They are identified here for your own evaluation of the relevancy of the material this course is based on.

Kimberly A Van Orden, Ph.D.
Kimberly A Van Orden, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Dr. Van Orden's lab, the HOPE (Helping Older People Engage) Lab, is focused on developing new interventions to increase connectedness, as well as testing existing interventions that have promise for increasing connectedness, but have not been tested. Another focus of her work is theory testing to promote understanding of suicide and illuminate mechanisms that can serve as intervention targets. She has contributed to the formulation, refinement, and evaluation of the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide.
Emily Bower, Ph.D.
Emily Bower, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor for the Clinical Psychology Program at Pacific University. Dr. Bower’s research and clinical interests are in geriatric mental health with specializations in late-life suicide prevention and the assessment and treatment of anxiety, including fear of falling. The overarching goal of her research is to examine how we adjust to functional changes (cognitive, physical, social) as we age and to leverage that information to develop or adapt behavioral interventions to promote mental health and prevent suicide among older adults. She is the principal investigator for the Behavioral Health and Aging Research Lab at Pacific University.
Julie Lutz, Ph.D.
Julie Lutz, Ph.D. is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Her research focuses on associations between functional disability, chronic health problems, and suicide among older adults. More specifically, she is interested in how interventions promoting adaptive coping with changes in functioning and health may mitigate suicide risk in late life.

Course Creator

Elizabeth Mosco, Ph.D., PMH-C, CPLC
Elizabeth Mosco, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in Reno, NV. She opened a private practice after 10 years of conducting home-based assessment and therapy with the VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System. Dr. Mosco’s clinical interests include maternal mental health, older adults, and third wave cognitive behavioral therapies.

Recommended For:

Counselors, marriage and family therapists, psychologists and social workers. This course is appropriate for all levels of knowledge.

Course Objectives:

After taking this course, you should be able to:

  1. Discuss outcomes associated with social isolation in older adults.
  2. List at least 2 cognitive-behavioral strategies to address social isolation in older adults.
  3. Summarize the elements of a "Connections Plan."


Disclosure of Relevant Financial Relationships

Disclosure of Relevant Financial Relationships

CE Learning Systems, LLC is an independent provider of continuing medical education. CE Learning Systems, LLC has no proprietary or financial interest in medical or healthcare products over which the FDA (USA) or EMA (EU) has regulatory authority.

In accordance with our disclosure policies, CE Learning Systems, LLC is committed to ensuring balance, independence, objectivity, and scientific rigor for all accredited continuing education. These policies include assigning relevance to, and mitigating, all perceived or real conflicts of interest between any individual with control over the content and any ineligible company (commercial interest).

Any individual with control over accredited content, including planner, faculty, and reviewer, is required to globally disclose:

  1. Individual relationship(s) or lack thereof, and its nature, with any/all ineligible company, and
  2. any investigational, off-label, or non-FDA approved content or discussion

CE Learning Systems, LLC has reviewed these disclosures, assigned relevance based on the relationship and scope of content, and identified those with the potential to compromise the goals and educational integrity of the education. Relevant relationships, or lack thereof, are shared with the learner.

Education has been independently peer-reviewed to validate content, mitigate identified conflicts of interest, and ensure:

  1. All recommendations involving clinical medicine is based on evidence that is accepted within the medical profession as adequate justification for their indications and contraindications in the care of patients.
  2. All scientific research referred to, reported, or used in accredited continuing education in support or justification of a patient care recommendation conforms to the generally accepted standards of experimental design, data collection, and analysis.
  3. Content is appropriate, fair and balanced, unbiased, referenced, and non-promotional.

The planners have reported the following: There are no relevant disclosures.

Course Material Authors

The authors have disclosed any disclosures within the material.

Course Creator: Elizabeth Mosco, Ph.D., PMH-C, CPLC

No relevant financial relationships.

Commercial support

There is no commercial support for this distance-learning course.

Exam Questions

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Categorized in:

Course Number 103356
1 CE credit hour
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  • Reading-Based Online
Exam Fee $5.97
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