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Old 08-18-2017, 07:01 AM
 
Location: Arizona
5,940 posts, read 5,297,242 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
IMO, this is going to be a much bigger issue than people give it credit for going forward. There will be a growing number of seniors, while maybe not orphaned by this article's definition, that are going to end up marooned in economically unviable areas.

I'm probably among the last generation where small towns and rural areas were economically viable places to live at one point. Many current seniors are retired here and are unwilling/unable to move. Younger Boomers and some Generation X were able to secure good jobs in these areas, but many of their Millennial and younger children have had to move major cities to find decent work.

I foresee a lot of elderly in these areas being unwilling or unable to move closer to their children. The children can't comeback to the hometown to care for them. There is probably going to be quite the cottage industry in these areas for nursing homes, home health aides, "lower end" senior care, etc. There will probably be levels of service that end up being offered that aren't even mainstream offerings yet.

I had this discussion with the grandmother yesterday. She is 81 with mobility issues and we live in our hometown that has a poor economy, but used to be better off. She stays with my aunt about half the time, who is getting laid off soon at 56 years old. My employer is potentially merging with another company over the next month, which leaves my job shaky as well. At 81, having lived in the same house since 1967, and not having lived in another town since my grandfather's military service during the Korean War era, she's not going to be willing to move.

What are elderly folks like that going to do when they get up in years, and the younger family members have to move to keep themselves afloat? For her and many others, there aren't many options. Depending on their health, they may be able to stay in their homes with some adaptation to the space and some level of care. Many others will have to go to an ALF. Many of these seniors are going to end up effectively orphaned in small towns and rural areas that don't have a lot going for them.
This is exactly what people were complaining about. We are talking about elder orphans and you bring up people whose children have moved! Those children can get on a plane or write a check in an emergency. It is not the same as being an elder orphan!
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Old 08-18-2017, 07:13 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,561 posts, read 17,544,804 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkalot View Post
This is exactly what people were complaining about. We are talking about elder orphans and you bring up people whose children have moved! Those children can get on a plane or write a check in an emergency. It is not the same as being an elder orphan!
On a day to day basis, they are effectively orphaned.

Many people aren't going to have significant funds to help. It would be extremely expensive to replicate all the stuff my aunt and I do (for free) with paid help. "On site" family support is essential. You can "come home" for the big things, but again, flying back and forth with regularity is too expensive/cumbersome for most people, especially if they have demanding careers or their own children to take care of in the new location. Both of these are better than nothing and can help in a true crisis but the day to day gist of it is that the elder is mostly alone.
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Old 08-18-2017, 07:18 AM
 
Location: Sugarland
13,752 posts, read 12,715,532 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleDolphin View Post
More and more elders are aging without the support of family/spouse. What to do without a support network? This new Facebook group seeks to help. Some good ideas in this post. Worth a read -- and maybe participation?

'Elder Orphans' Facebook Group Creates Community For Adults Aging Alone | Here & Now
This is something that I worry about now and I'm in my 30s. I find the thought of getting old and not being able to take care of myself anymore to be absolutely terrifying.
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Old 08-18-2017, 08:08 AM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
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Elderly with children who've moved have to be realistic. If the adult children offer a place to live or substantial support in the city where the kids work, the elder can't really complain if they fail to take advantage of the offer. They will have essentially orphaned themselves.

My MIL had no other option when we moved from CA to TN. She has two sons, one doesn't even know if she's alive. The other son (my DH) made his choice to live his retirement where he wishes (TN) and we all realized that it was necessary for her to be with us. She has dementia and really can't care for herself completely, but even she understood the importance of having support, and understood that at 86 her options were limited. It's fortunate that she did, as her condition has deteriorated to the point of requiring Assisted Living, and we are her medical proxies and fiduciaries.

True elder orphans, as I will be someday (no kids, and most likely to be the last sibling standing), have to form a game plan for the inevitable. You can't be stubborn or ignorant about it.

Last edited by TheShadow; 08-18-2017 at 08:16 AM..
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Old 08-18-2017, 08:42 AM
 
7,794 posts, read 4,383,926 times
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Agree; there have been many posts about "elder orphans" and invariably people who aren't "elder orphans" horn in.
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Old 08-18-2017, 11:38 AM
 
Location: colorado springs, CO
4,933 posts, read 2,277,189 times
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I'm not one but I can see how there is a big difference.

We read all the time, including right here on CD; the experiences of people & families that have relocated to care for, or assumed power of attorney, despite being "long-distance", of elderly relatives.

An elder orphan, to me at least; would be someone without anybody. Not next door, the next town, next state, continent .... just nobody.

When things get to a certain point, accomodations can & are; made at the last minute with existing family all the time. I'm sure it's terrifying to think that your getting older, prone to falls, maybe getting forgetful while knowing that your daughter is neck deep in a far away state with her job & family.

But what ends up happening many times (sometimes not) is that family comes first & family members will do "the right thing" when it's that time. When there is nobody though?

That means zero zip zilch. No name to enter on "Next of kin" line. Those with uninvolved or far away at least have a name, even if the zip code is different.
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Old 08-18-2017, 12:11 PM
 
506 posts, read 260,891 times
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Is it mostly female?
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Old 08-18-2017, 12:21 PM
 
7,794 posts, read 4,383,926 times
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"But what ends up happening many times (sometimes not) is that family comes first & family members will do 'the right thing' when it's that time. When there is nobody though?"

What I've mostly personally observed (except in my own family, but we're weird) is that the old person - upon moving to be "closer to family" - is warehoused in a nursing home and seldom visited because "family" is too busy with themselves and their own lives. So I'd advise elders, orphans or not, to live wherever they want to for as long as they can. "Then you die."
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Old 08-18-2017, 12:31 PM
 
Location: middle tennessee
1,924 posts, read 988,107 times
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pish

an "orphan" is a child with no parents.

I miss the "women retiring on their own" thread. The current "retiring on a shoestring" thread has good information.

There are many services for the elderly in the rural areas of TN, and I'm guessing other states as well. Me, I want to pick and choose how much I ask the government for help while I'm still able. Many people wait too long. If churches aren't filling in where there is a need, I think the members should be asking themselves why.

I am so glad I don't have anyone interfering in my life. I may feel differently in years to come. I have had to live with the consequences of my decisions all of my life. I don't expect the end will be any different.
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Old 08-18-2017, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,729,443 times
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The different definitions of "elder orphans" proposed in this thread are interesting. According to the strictest definition, I am not one because I still have someone to enter on the "next of kin" line, namely my sister who lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. She and I get along well and enjoy each other's company when we get together every couple of years, but she has a full-time job (even at age 70!) and two young grandchildren. Therefore, I do not count on her - at that distance and in that situation - to be of any help to me in the event of need. And I wouldn't want to impose on her for help anyway.


I consider myself an elder orphan. Divorced, no kids, don't know if ex-wife is even still alive. I had no kids by choice, in full knowledge that I could possibly end up very much alone in extreme old age and the picture could be grim. But I wouldn't do it any differently if I had it to do over again. I have lived the life I wanted to live - full and active and interesting. I still have friends, and I have no trouble living alone at age 73 - no more trouble than I had in my early 20's before I got married. But I do not know the future. Whatever happens will happen.
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