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Old 08-18-2017, 07:23 PM
10,062 posts, read 4,015,956 times
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Originally Posted by soulsurv View Post
I guess I'd be one of those - 60, never married, no children. A brother who is remarried, about 70 miles away whom I talk to on the phone about 1 a month and see maybe once a year. Estranged from my 3 nieces and haven't spoken to them in 4 years and little chance of it happening again. Also I'm very low-income which doesn't help. Yeah...sometimes I do worry about losing my independence, but there's really nothing I can do about it.
You won't lose your independence. There is no one who will lovingly, but maybe misguidedly, take it from you. So that's a small blessing.
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Old 08-18-2017, 07:46 PM
5,424 posts, read 3,440,673 times
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I always find it interesting pertaining to this topic of Elder Orphans that many people cannot even conceive of it!.....

..... and try to include themselves and other people when they do have children or do have relatives with whom they keep in pretty close contact or do have children who have just moved away or live elsewhere.

(although maybe not emotionally, physically, or geographically close, and relatives who you wouldn't want to ask for help)

And a good number in past discussions, wanted to include themselves in the definition even though they have a SPOUSE!

Last edited by matisse12; 08-18-2017 at 08:42 PM..
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Old 08-18-2017, 08:37 PM
Location: Upstate NY
35,423 posts, read 10,475,434 times
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Originally Posted by coschristi View Post
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.


This thread reminded me of an article I'd read many years ago: I'm single, childless...and downright terrified. Turns out it was a blog, but I found it. The responses were very sad, too.

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Old 08-18-2017, 08:44 PM
Location: Lakewood OH
21,699 posts, read 23,648,620 times
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Originally Posted by thinkalot View Post
That's what I found there too. I got into a few arguments about that. I am sure I would have been banned if I didn't leave on my own.
I pointed out that the lady posting about her vacation with her sisters and friends couldn't possibly fall in the category of elder orphans. I also used other posts as examples in the same vein. I got jumped on. I think I too would have been kicked out had I not left.
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Old 08-18-2017, 08:58 PM
Location: Lakewood OH
21,699 posts, read 23,648,620 times
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Originally Posted by runswithscissors View Post
Here's what the article said:

Are you an "elder orphan?" Also called unbefriended adults, they are people aging alone, without kids.

But now, they have a Facebook group with about 5,000 users since it began last year. You have to be 55 or over, live without a spouse and not have children. Or, if you do, they have to either be estranged or live far away.

So yeah, THAT site is for estranged or distant PARENTS.
Whatever anyone's definition of "orphan" may be, this is the definition and criteria for membership of the group. It has nothing to do with the members' own parents.

People will post about visiting their kids from whom they may live some distance away but are definitely not estranged.

Here's the thing, they give their rules but they play fast and loose with them.
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Old 08-18-2017, 09:08 PM
Status: "Disagreeing is not the same thing as trolling." (set 6 days ago)
Location: Texas
9,443 posts, read 3,628,914 times
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On another thread elsewhere, young people were criticized for not leaving their parent's home. Not "leaving the nest". So what should they do? Leave or stay home with their parents?

Those spinsters and bachelors that everyone criticizes for living at home, supposedly "sponging" off their parents, are the ones winding up doing all the care for their aging parents.

I lived alone as a young person for many years, and even that is kind of scary. If you are home alone in your apartment and choke on something or have a stroke, there's nobody else around to see it. You'll die.
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Old 08-18-2017, 09:37 PM
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
7,595 posts, read 4,674,480 times
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Originally Posted by PriscillaVanilla View Post
I lived alone as a young person for many years, and even that is kind of scary. If you are home alone in your apartment and choke on something or have a stroke, there's nobody else around to see it. You'll die.
Everyone, alone or not, should learn how to do the Heimlich maneuver on themselves.

How to Perform the Heimlich Maneuver on Yourself: 6 Steps

Dial 911 if you think you're having a stroke, even if you can't speak.

Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke:

Stroke - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic
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Old 08-19-2017, 12:40 AM
Location: USA
6,223 posts, read 5,353,584 times
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Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
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.

The local firms that provide home aid care are desperate for help right now. The main problem it can be a pretty taxing job (both physically and mentally) and for relatively low wages.

My grandparents all lived into their 90s and lived independently (except for my grandfather who got dementia his last few years and needed a nursing home)
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Old 08-19-2017, 01:01 AM
Location: A State of Mind
5,177 posts, read 2,072,667 times
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Originally Posted by thinkalot View Post
It has nothing to do with parents. It is about people with no spouse and no children.
And surely, having none or few relatives or any others around, besides. It sounds like that "group" mentioned is not exactly what it claims to be, yet appears many could relate to this "aloneness" and do need to have a support system that truly applies to their situation.
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Old 08-19-2017, 01:09 AM
10,357 posts, read 7,972,760 times
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There are so many potential solutions to the issue of "elder orphans.", of which I am one, or will be in the future.

How about cooperative housing in which about a dozen of these orphans buy an old house and live cooperatively in it, sharing expenses, and gaining support and company. Too many, are closeted in tiny apartments, and isolated.

Why can't we have cooperative housing of young couples desperate for child care and older people with time on their hands and no family? You wouldn't have to live in the same house. It could be like a condo complex , only with a purposeful mix of people who need childcare,or even pet sitters, and those older people who have no one to care for them or care for. I knew someone paying hundreds a month for doggie daycare. The dog would have been perfectly happy spending the day with an older person, to the benefit of both.

If there is a shortage of home health care aides, and they are too low paid, how about a bartering system? An older person agrees to babysit someone's kids in exchange for getting some of the care they may need, like getting groceries for example. Or an older person agrees to tutor a young student, and in exchange the young student performs some tasks for the older person.

There are communities like this for the severely disabled in Canada, in which younger healthy people share a home with a handful of profoundly disabled adults, forming a community that genuinely cares for each other, stays together for years and becomes a family.
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