Elder Orphans Are Those Who Are Aging Alone With No Family To Help Care For Them.

According to a study published in 2016, approximately 22% of those aged 65 and older in the US qualify as elder orphans. As more people choose not to have children, a segment of the population referred to as “elder orphans” continues to grow.

People with family to help care for them usually designate relatives as their caregivers and/or decision-makers in the event their health declines. Despite not being able to make the same designation, elder orphans still can and should establish a plan for their care. In a recent survey about older adults aging alone, it was discovered that 70% of them had not identified a would-be caregiver and 43% lacked a living will or health care power of attorney because they haven’t had the chance to get around to it.

Elder orphans need to be looked after, and Carolina FEP can help

Elder Orphans Must Ensure They Have Their Health Care And Financial Durable Power Of Attorney Documents In Place.

These will make certain that their health and finances are handled by someone they trust to follow their wishes as best they can. For medical decision-making, elder orphans often designate a friend, a clergy member, or even a geriatric care manager who is knowledgeable in specific medical areas. For financial decision making, elder orphans can either select the same designations as with their medical decision making or can designate a bank or law firm as trustee. They can also appoint a “micro board” to oversee their care, which usually includes a lawyer, the health care and financial agents, an accountant, and a geriatric care manager. 

Once the power of attorney is established, the next important step is to select where they would like to live when they are no longer able to live at home alone. Options for this could include living at home with a full-time caretaker or moving into an assisted long-term care facility. If they wish to move to a long-term care facility of their choosing, it is wise to begin the process of selecting one as soon as possible. Some facilities allow people to make reservations in advance in case they ever need to move into the facility quickly. 

However, as technology advances, there are non-traditional care options that allow people to stay home as long as possible including apps like the EyeOn App, which alerts people, you have designated as your check-in buddies if you fail to check in on your phone after a set period of time. Other technology like in-home medication reminders and smart home devices such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa devices can also provide assistance. 

Many Elder Orphans Report Struggling With Feelings Of Isolation And Finding A Social Network Can Help With Those Feelings.

Support can often be found in places such as a local Senior Services Center, a place of worship, and various civic organizations.

As humans, we are programmed to seek and be fulfilled by connection. It is important for those aging alone to develop a social network they can call on in times of need. Many elder orphans report struggling with feelings of isolation and finding a social network can help with those feelings. Taking care of one’s mental health is just as important as taking care of one’s physical health. 

Our team of estate planning and elder law attorneys are here to help with all your questions and concerns. We want to ensure that elder orphans have a plan in place and prevent the courts from making decisions on their behalf. For elder orphans who do not have a specific individual they would like to receive their estate assets, there are other options including leaving the assets to a charitable organization. 

If you are an elder orphan in need of an estate plan or know of an elder orphan in need of an estate plan, please give our office a call at 919-443-3035. 

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