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Elderly Orphans – How To Stay Independent

elderly orphans

Elderly or adult orphans is a term used for seniors who live alone in the community, with no partner, children or other people to support or care for them. This means that there might be family members somewhere but these are unable or unwilling to support or care for their family members. So, what data is available about elderly orphans?

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Elderly Orphans Statistics 

“By 2050, individuals aged 65 years and older will comprise over 20% of the American population. older adults who reside in the community, who are socially or physically isolated, and who lack caregivers. We estimated the elder orphan prevalence for this population to be 2.62%.”

How often do doctors see people who have no one caring for them? According to a study it happens between “sometimes to frequently.” The physicians often have concerns about 

  • safety (95.9%), 
  • medication self-management (90.4%), and 
  • advance care planning (86.3%) 
  • Prolonged hospital stays (87.7%) and 
  • delays in transitioning to end-of-life care (85.7%) 

Elderly Orphans Getting Older or How to make it in life on your own?

We cannot avoid getting older chronologically. But there are a few things we can do to plan ahead.If your goal is to live independently til the end of your life, building your life will take some time, effort and thinking it through. 

This article is meant to give you some inspiration to create the life you want to live. And keep on living independently instead of relying on your children or others – as much as possible.  Therefore the question is: 

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How Can Elderly Orphans live independently without family

If you are interested in creating a retirement life with a long-term perspective in mind, here is what to consider. 

Social isolation of Elderly Orphans

According to the National Institute of Aging Research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions: high blood pressureheart diseaseobesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depressioncognitive declineAlzheimer’s disease, and even death.

Even worse is the fact that nearly 25% of adults who reported feeling lonely also reported that they had trouble carrying out activities of daily living. Loneliness seems to lead to listlessness. As a consequence, small tasks like bathing, dressing, grooming, eating and getting in and out of bed seem to get impossible.

According to another  study that followed 2,000 heart patients, mortality rates  tripled among adults who had neither a confidant nor partner.

Resilience for Elderly Orphans

A key to successful aging at home is being emotionally strong. This means you should actively manage your emotions. Most commonly seniors feel lonely, anxious and depressed. Loneliness needs to be managed by an active social life and by bonding with others. Anxiety needs to be addressed closely. Most commonly people who live on their own are scared to get sick, having to go to hospital and to have no one who cares for them. First of all, all those fears are very realistic. Secondly, there is good news: our body has the ability to recover. Even after a stroke rehabilitation is possible. Read here about post-stroke rehabilitation

The article points out that having a supportive family and social networks can be a very important factor in rehabilitation. The reason is that recovery of older patients is slower and will usually extend over many months. So plan ahead and start building a network. In situations where time and support are essential you might even want to hire a person who is focused on motivating you and keep on finding solutions to get you back on track. 

For more information on mental strength, read here.

Preserve/rebuild your muscles strength

Sarcopenia, the loss of  muscle mass with advancing age, leads to lower basal metabolic rate, weakness, reduced activity levels, decreased bone density, and low calorie needs. As a consequence losing weight will get much harder. But this process cannot only be slowed down but even reversed. But with the right diet and muscle strength training, we can rebuild our muscles! Resistance and weight training can also help rebuild bone mass. One of Clint Eastwood`s secrets of not letting the old man in has been lifelong weight training.

Manage Your Health Risks

According to National Institute on Aging nearly half of the people over 65 report hypertension, 

arthritis and obesity. Many older adults also report problems with hearing, seeing, and oral health. 

Read here what you can do to manage your health risks proactively. 

Keep A Reason To Live

According to the aging scientist Ellen Langner, staying young is a mindset. Therefore keeping a reason to live and having a goal like working or being happy can be a guarantee for longevity.

What Should Elderly Orphans And Seniors In General Plan For?

  1. Find someone that lives close by. 

The most important thing is to identify your needs first. What are you looking for? Here are some ideas for you.

  1. Looking for someone who supports you when you are sick?
  2. Need someone as a medical guardian or power of attorney?
  3. Many elderly orphans are looking for daily help?
  4. Trying to bond with an extended family member or neighbor?
  5. Help with your finances, taxes or other formalities?
  6. A lot of elderly orphans want someone to listen or talk to about what bothers them most.
  7. Someone you can really rely on when you need them?
  8. Looking for someone who wants to share your home?
  9. Some elderly orphans would like to be kind of a mentor and support young people with their experience or wisdom.
  10. Would you like to move in with someone?
  11. Trying to find a new life partner or companion?
  12. Do you need someone helping you to build a “senior life” and find a nursing home?

Be honest with yourself. The more you know what you want, the easier it is to find an answer!

  1. Find professional support like a family office concierge or non-profit organization.
  1. Elderly orphans need to create a care plan. This includes:
    • Get your house ready for aging in place
    • Check your health insurance
    • Elderly orphans need a property manager – in case you cannot take care of it yourself
    • Find someone who organizes your care like regular doctor visits and in-home care
    • Elderly orphans should make a plan in case they need 24/7 care including finances
    • Find a professional for your finances like a trust company or family office.
    • Set up power of attorney
    • Elderly orphans need to create a health care directive.
  1. Start end-of life planning is an important step for elderly orphans.
  • Create a Will
  • Create your inventory
  • Plan your funeral
  • Plan what happens to your estate – find an executor.
  • Provide access to your accounts
  • Set up on overview of memberships and financial responsibilities

A Word from healthylifestyleflorida.com

No need to be scared as an elderly orphan. There is plenty of help out there. Just take the courage to reach out for help.

You will love what you can be.

Antje Diana Baumgarten

Antje Diana Baumgarten

I believe that the things we do and the products we use determine our lifestyle. Whether your ultimate goal is to optimize your health, fitness or well-being. I introduce you to content that has the true potential to make a significant difference to how we live, love, perform, learn, look, exercise, travel, relax, sleep, work and more.

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