July 22, 2015

iStock_000019640766_MediumAdd the term “elder orphans” to your vocabulary. It’s a term and situation about which you’ll hear a lot in the years to come as the baby boomer generation ages – a generation that, for the first time, often elected to remain childless. Because of this, the numbers of elderly without family support are rapidly increasing. Research indicates that as many as 22% of seniors are in danger of becoming (or already are) orphaned. And with as many as 43 million seniors over age 65 in the U.S., it’s an alarming statistic.

Professor of Geriatrics at Florida State University College, Dr. Kenneth Brummel-Smith, believes that bringing caregivers into the home could be part of the solution. And one particular Medicaid-funded program, Money Follows the Person, takes it a step further, pairing disabled young adults in homes with senior orphans. Or perhaps other seniors could volunteer their support in a communal living environment, a trend that is beginning to take off in the United States.

Awareness of the issue is the first step, and the goal of Dr. Maria Torroella Carney, chief of geriatric and palliative medicine at North Shore-LIJ Health System, is to encourage aging care experts to implement new programs to provide the needed support for the anticipated surge in elder orphans.

You can read more about the struggles facing elder orphans in CNN’s full article here and on Healthday here.

Continuum’s  home care experts in St. Louis are standing ready to assist these seniors who may be struggling with loneliness or caregiving needs and not sure where to turn for help. Our in-home caregivers can provide the support needed to live life independently in the comfort of home, for as long as possible. If you are searching for compassionate care for yourself or for an elder orphan you know, contact Continuum of St. Louis today. In the absence of a family member, Continuum is available to act as an advocate for the client far beyond eldercare choices. When extraordinary circumstances create a greater need, Continuum is available with experienced professionals to help.