social isolation
and loneliness

Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly, LBFE, a non-profit organization, has been working to end loneliness and social isolation among older people in the United States for more than 60 years.

The problem

Social isolation & loneliness

Social isolation and loneliness harm the mental and physical, as well as social and economic, wellbeing of older adults and are  major public health threats for our communities and country.

Loneliness and isolation are different but related:

Loneliness is the distressing feeling of not having close friendships or people you can count on for meaningful interaction.

Isolation is a lack of social contacts and few people to interact with regularly or meaningfully.

You can live alone and not feel lonely or socially isolated, and you can feel lonely while being with other people.

LBFE’s Mission

LBFE is a national network of nonprofit, volunteer-based organizations committed to relieving isolation and loneliness among elders.

We offer to people of goodwill the opportunity to join elders in friendship and celebration of life.

We invite people of all ages and backgrounds to combat loneliness and isolation among older adults.

LBFE’s Impact

LBFE’s volunteers and staff change the lives of thousands of older people every year. Scientific studies show that reducing isolation and loneliness has a direct impact on the health of older people, reducing stress and lowering blood pressure.

Through friendship, we not only improve the physical and mental health of the elders we serve, but we also bring countless moments of joy and the feeling of being valued and appreciated.

LBFE Programs

LBFE has regional headquarters in Boston, Cincinnati, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Upper Michigan all have the same core programs and are committed to establishing authentic and lasting friendships with isolated and/or lonely older people in their communities.

In addition to the core programs, all of the regions develop programs to meet the specific needs of their communities and geographic locations.

Through LBFE’s Visiting Volunteer Program, isolated elders enjoy the support, empathy and friendship of dedicated volunteers. Often building long-term friendships these volunteers can become like family members celebrating special occasions and enjoying life’s simple pleasures together.

Holidays and birthdays are often the hardest time of year for isolated and lonely older adults. LBFE provides visits and in-person gatherings on many occasions year-round, with special celebrations on birthdays, Thanksgiving Day, July 4th, Valentine’s Day, and other significant days.

Older adults, like anyone, enjoy a variety of activities and adventures. Activities with friends like a picnic in the park, trip to the store, a walk around the neighborhood, or coffee and conversation, can lift spirits for days to come.

Dialogue between generations benefits both younger and older people. LBFE’s intergenerational activities not only promote friendships across generations but also build a more inclusive society for people of all ages.

Today’s generation of older adults having grown up and oftentimes having had their whole careers prior to the technology era have less comfort and experience with today’s technology. One of the ways LBFE’s programs aim to reduce the feelings of loneliness and isolation is by improving digital literacy and lessening the digital divide.

The LBFE Network

LBFE is a growing national network with locations across the U.S. committed to relieving isolation and loneliness in older people. LBFE invites people of all ages and backgrounds to help combat this social epidemic and build a more inclusive society.

Upper Michigan
New York

International Federation

LBFE is part of an International Federation working to relieve social isolation and loneliness in 14 countries.

Founded by the French charity, Les Petits Frères des Pauvres, the International Federation was established to promote the work of LBFE organizations throughout the world, developing
programs and encouraging communications between countries to better serve older people.