The Rising Number of Elder Orphans: Ideas for Living

Posted by Richard on June 7, 2018

Elder orphans — aging people with no spouse or children — are a rising population in the world.

Currently 19 percent of women ages 40 to 45 have no children. About 15 million people in the U.S. live alone, including 27 percent of the 65-plus population, according to USNews.

What happens to elders who can no longer care for themselves is usually guardianship, a legal process that puts decisions in the hands of a court-appointed guardian.

But there are some ways to age with company, if not with family.

– Elder apartment and senior living communities can help forge friendships and lifestyle support. These can be expensive, however.

– Home sharing is one alternative. Renting out a bedroom in your home can bring income, and possibly friendship. Some home sharing arrangements offer free rent in return for housekeeping or meal preparation.

– Churches are responding to the need. In Charlotte, NC, Love Inc helps congregations form teams of people to help with transportation, shopping, yard work, cleaning and meal preparation.

– In Los Angeles, a buddy program pairs third-graders with residents of a Jewish Home for the Aging.

– An Elder Orphans Facebook group helps people support each other.

For all aging people, a plan for social and physical help is essential.

Work to form a family of church or social contacts to stay involved.

Healthy lifestyle is important, with regular exercise and good nutrition.

Urban areas can provide more interaction and usually have services located closer to home than rural areas.