Sunday, May 31, 2015

'Elder Orphans' Are Childless Boomers who Have no one to Look After Them in old age

Some 25 percent of Americans 65 or older could find themselves "elder orphans," according to a report in Psych Central.

These are people who have no family support to fall back upon when they run into health problems leaving them to deal with the medical and social service system on their own.

"We have a sense that this will be a growing population as society ages and life expectancy increases, and our government and society need to prepare how to advocate for this population,” said physician Maria Torroella Carney, chief of geriatric and palliative medicine at the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System.

"There is potentially no structure to address this population as this population is hidden right before us," said Carney.

"Our goal is to highlight that this is a vulnerable population that's likely to increase, and we need to determine what community, social services, emergency response and educational resources can help them," Psych Central reported.

About 19 percent of women aged 40 to 44 do not have children, about double the number  in 1980.

"This is a population that can utilize expensive healthcare resources because they don’t have the ability to access community resources while they’re well but alone," Carney said.

"If we can provide earlier social services and support, we may be able to lower high healthcare costs or prevent the unnecessary use of expensive healthcare. With greater awareness and assessment of this vulnerable population, we can then come up with policies to impact and manage better care for them."

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