This week, for the first time, I heard the term, “Elder Orphan”. Of course, as a Senior Living Advisor with Senior Living Experts for twelve years, I have come across dozens of seniors who have no children, and no extended family members. Just the term, “Elder orphan” pulled at my heart strings. To navigate aging on your own, has got to be a lonely and frightening road to experience. According to CNN, about 22% of seniors over 65 years old are Elder Orphans, having no family in their lives. Some say being alone in life is not something to be concerned about. They will be just fine. This could certainly be true, however, there is value in being aware of services available to our seniors who may want more support as they age.
Geriatric Care Managers are a great option for seniors who may be alone in navigating their care, their daily bill paying, coordination of doctors appointments and personal plan of care. Some can act as Power of Attorney, which is necessary to care for the healthcare and financial issues that inevitably come into play as seniors age. Geriatric Care Managers take the entire plan of care of the senior and make sure all players on the seniors team are acting as they should to give the senior the support they need.
Calling Senior Living Experts would also be a way to construct a support system around the senior so that they can seek help from the right professional. Not only does Senior Living Experts assist in finding seniors communities to live in, we also have a wide network of other senior professionals who can assist the senior. Some of these are Elder Law Attorney’s, Senior Move Managers, home care providers, senior certified realtors, caregiver stress counselors, financial advisors, grief counselors, etc. We can create a network around the senior so that seniors are not alone at all.
Senior Home Sharing is another concept in the western suburbs of Chicago that may continue to grow in popularity. About five to ten seniors share a home, each having their own bedroom, and sometimes sharing a bathroom with another resident. There is a 24/7 manager in the home who prepares meals, does light housekeeping, and conducts activities for residents to enjoy. The atmosphere created is a very family-like, collaborative environment where everyone looks out for one another. The monthly fees to live in a shared home are very reasonable, so it’s a great option for seniors looking for more support.In closing, last night on World News, there was a story of a WWII Veteran being buried, but had no family members. When fellow Americans found out about this, dozens of strangers became family and attended the Veterans services so that he was not alone. Whether someone chooses to be alone or not, there are services available, as well as selfless people who simply want to let the senior know, they are there for them.