I think about this A LOT. Likely WAY more than would be considered healthy. I had no idea there was a word for it but I’m glad that the situation is finally being discussed and acknowledged.
The truth of it is that either my husband or myself (probably the latter since my hubby is 7 years older) will definitely become an elder orphan.
Why? Because I am a 38 year old, childless, only child with infertilit, chronic illness, and very few close friends or family members. My husband is a 45 year old, childless, youngest of 4 much older half-siblings, all of whom are estranged from him except for one, who is quite a bit older and not close at all (we are lucky to see my sister-in-law once every 5 years).
The very thought of the either of our deaths terrifies me more than almost anything, other than the death of my parents, which I can hardly accept will ever happen. Yet fearing my own death is less a fear of experiencing death itself than a fear of my husband and souli-mate being left alone.
I sincerely hope that social programs or assistance have been put in place soon, as countless senior citizens surely struggle with this fear and reality. No one should have to live through the terror of growing old and suffering through failing health, dementia, aging, and dying scared and alone.
by – Sheri de Grom
What are the chances you’ll become an elder orphan? Are you 65 or older, without children and alone?
No one knows exactly how many individuals fall into this newly-created medical care category. The theory is that 25% of all Americans over age 65 are at risk of becoming elder orphans or should already be classified as such.
This vulnerable population already exists, but they have no voice or support system. Elder orphans must have advocates. However, their needs must be defined first.
We do know elder orphans are aging alone, with no known family member or designated surrogate to act on their behalf. It’s imperative we determine which community, social services, emergency responses and educational resources can help them.
This population is growing as society ages and life expectancy increases.
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The University of Michigan conducted an extensive survey…
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