Maria, aged 76, had never had any children and her husband, Alexander, had passed away a few years ago, leaving Maria to live alone. Though Maria missed Alexander, she had never minded living alone. That is, until she had a stroke that made it difficult for her to do some things on her own. Because Maria had no children, she had no one to come and help her with things like cleaning her house or shopping for groceries.
Do you know an older adult like Maria, living alone with no family to aid them? If so, then you know an elder orphan. According to an article published on the AARP website, approximately one out of every five older adults in the United States is an elder orphan or is likely to become one. In addition, around 23 percent of people in the Baby Boomer generation are expected to become elder orphans.
What Can You Do to Help an Elder Orphan?
If you know someone that is an elder orphan, you can help them to plan for their later years. While you may take on some of the caregiver duties yourself, there are many other ways you can help them to ensure they will continue to live well.
The first step is to find out what their hopes for the future are. If they plan to continue living at home, as many older adults do, there are some things they will need to have in place, such as:
Important Paperwork: Elder orphans should ensure they have all of their important paperwork organized. The paperwork should be kept in a place where it is easy to find.
Social Network: Even older adults who don’t have a family can build a network of people who can assist when needed. Their social network might include friends, extended family members, such as a niece or nephew, or volunteers from their church.
Transportation: In the event the person becomes unable to drive themselves, they will need a way to get around. They should look into what is available in their community for public transportation and other options for seniors.
One way that elder orphans can continue to live safely and comfortably in their homes is by hiring homecare. Homecare providers are non-medical assistants for older adults. They can come to the person’s house and assist them with every day tasks that can become difficult with age, such as cleaning and cooking. Homecare providers can also offer transportation to places like the grocery store, medical appointments, or even just to a friend’s house for a visit.