Are you one of those baby boomers who will eventually become elder orphans? These are people who don’t have spouses, adult children or companion they can rely on assistance, company and care especially in the latter part of their lives. In other words, they age in place alone.
Are You an Elder Orphan?
Here’s a table that shows the prevalence of baby boomers at risk of becoming elder orphans. Use this table to determine if you will most likely become an elder orphans and jump off point to start planning for aging.
|Prevalence of Baby Boomers at Risk of Becoming Elder Orphans|
|Risk Descripton||Number||Percent (out of 22,034 respondents|
|Unmarried, with children, but not in contact||3,903||17.70%|
|Unmarried, with children, but they are not in contact, and there are no siblings within 10 miles||3,738||17.00%|
|Unmarried, with children, but children live further than 10 miles away||3,106||14.10%|
|Unmarried, with children, but not within 10 miles, and there are no siblings within 10 miles||48||0.20%|
|Unmarried, without children||1,071||4.90%|
|Unmarried without children or siblings||141||0.60%|
|Totally unmarried, without children, or unmarried with children, not in contact||4,974||22.60%|
Addressing Elder Orphans Issues Early
Statistics show the demographic changes that would most likely push elder orphans to isolation and increase their need for support and care from health care professionals. Prepare for your future health care and long term care needs as early as you can to erase your doubts and to boost your confidence that you can manage to age alone.
For this month’s digest, we are featuring tips from respected experts on elder orphans and solutions to issues surrounding aging alone like how you can prevent health problems early, avoid isolation, find the best way to pay for long term care and more.
Prevent Health Problems Right from the Start
Suzzete Sherman, founder of SevenPonds.com highlights the importance of preventing health problems early. It’s a simple tip that will turn greatly benefit you in the long run. By exercising regularly and eating nutritious meals, you can maintain good health and thus minimize your trips to your physician. Prolonging preventable diseases according to her is the key to having a better quality life in the later stages of your life.
Make Choices for Retirement Facilities Before you Need Them
It’s quite unpleasant to think about this topic, but considering this early is much better than letting other people make a decide on short notice. Aging at home is very appealing because it is cheap, familiar and comfortable, but it doesn’t follow that it would be best for you in the future. Don’t choose based on convenience, choose based on what can satisfy your needs. Dave Hughes encourages everyone on his post in Reitrefabulously.com to visit facilities in your area while you’re still healthy and learn about the services offered, costs, and the environment inside these facilities. Choose the one that will meet your needs and inform the closest person to you of your decision.
Long Term Care Insurance Helps Pay for Long Term Care
Medical bills and long term care expenses are known to wipe out a person’s savings. You don’t want to find yourself in this situation: alone, penniless and in dire need of help in carrying out some of your ADLs or activities of daily living. Terry L. Jones’ post in SeniorsGuideOnline.com suggests setting aside funds or getting long term care insurance to pay for caregivers or long term care facilities.
‘Elder Orphans’ Facebook Group Creates Community for Adults Aging Alone
Carol Marak of Senior.com and founder of the Facebook group for elder orphans shares her experience, advice and insights on how to age alone. Her interview is teeming with information about helping elder orphans in myriad of ways like by renting rooms to elder orphans or to someone much younger and can return the favor by running errands for them, pooling resources, maintaining social network while aging and adopting a family.
You can listen to Carol Marak’s interview here:
Choosing a Health Care Proxy is Important
Choosing a surrogate or power of attorney for health care, executor of a will, financial matters and performing other tasks is essential nowadays, according to Carol Marak’s post in Forbes.
When crafting wills, trusts, powers of attorney and advance care directives, members of this group struggle with whom to designate and talk with about ‘the last chapter’ because it isn’t easy for anyone. But for the growing subsector, it is especially difficult. – Linda Camp, Turning Point Consulting
According to Camp’s research, surrogates should have these characteristics:
- Being ethical
- Being able to figure things out and ask questions
- Having excellent communication skills
- Being an advocate
- Being objective
- Being knowledgeable about death with dignity
- Not imposing one’s own personal beliefs or values on decisions
Preparation is Key to Aging Alone
Aging alone is unavoidable for some but succumbing to loneliness, financial woes, and other negative effects is not an option. Just having the thought of growing old is scary and much more if you’re growing alone. But don’t let stress and fear get the best of you. Make the necessary preparations that can make things much easier for you as an elder orphans. But it shouldn’t be limited to making new friends, becoming familiar with your local transportation options, researching about potential retirement destinations and asking for professional help.
Include your potential long term care needs when planning for aging. Consider getting long term care insurance to make sure that you will be covered when the time comes that you will need custodial care or you have to move to a long term care facility. You can get started by requesting for long term care insurance quotes and comparing the best policies available.