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ELDER ORPHANS: NEW TERM CALLS ATTENTION TO PROBLEM FOR AGING POPULATION

All of us at Aging Life Care Solutions, LLC are dedicated to helping the aging population live well as it grows older. Our mission is to support the best possible quality of life for seniors and their families as they face the challenges of aging. We believe planning for both foreseen and unforeseen obstacles is an integral key to successful aging.

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ELDER ORPHANS: NEW TERM CALLS ATTENTION TO PROBLEM FOR AGING POPULATION

All of us at Aging Life Care Solutions, LLC are dedicated to helping the aging population live well as it grows older. Our mission is to support the best possible quality of life for seniors and their families as they face the challenges of aging. We believe planning for both foreseen and unforeseen obstacles is an integral key to successful aging.


Recently, we became aware of the term “elder orphan.” A CNN article reported 22 percent of the American population is at risk of aging alone without a spouse, children or other family nearby to assist them. Some other articles say this number is closer to 29 percent. When we think of the word orphan, we think of someone alone and abandoned. One Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of orphan is “one deprived of some protection or advantage.”


We have found those members of the aging population who meet the definition of an “elder orphan” are not the only ones struggling. Even those seniors lucky enough to have family close often find their family is so busy with the demands of their own lives that they have no time available to assist them. Couples are often so consumed with caring for each other they become isolated in their own homes. The demands of aging and the stress it places on seniors and their loved ones can impact successful aging.

Unfortunately, the term “elder orphan” may conjure up notions of pitying and is for those with no control over their circumstances. The aging population in today’s world is nothing if not in control. This is where proper planning can alleviate stress and allow seniors to ease into their older years. There are innovative ways to avoid becoming an “elder orphan” long before you get to the point where you need assistance to care for yourself. There is an ever-growing number of resources available to seniors and their families, but the path to finding them is not always easy. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges of aging.


What makes Aging Life Care Solutions, LLC unique is that we use a holistic approach to life care planning. This approach provides both present-day and future planning. Our aim is to reduce worry and stress by developing a written plan tailored to the individual’s specific goals. This plan will guide both the senior and his or her family to decisions that promote his or her quality of life. We update the plan as needs change or if the unexpected happens. Having a plan in place that addresses the major challenges of aging can provide the peace of mind necessary to make your senior years the best they can be.


TAMELA R. JENNEWEIN

Tamela R. Jennewein, JD, MPS, MA has degrees in law, pastoral studies and bioethics and has completed training in elder mediation. Debbie Kitchen, MSN, RN is a certified gerontological nurse specialist with over 40 years of experience working with older adults. Billie May, MSN, RN has over 40 years of experience and is committed to help families making complex life decisions.

more articles by Tamela r. Jennewein