Friday, September 16, 2016

We need to think about "elder orphans"


Carol Marak, writing for Twin Cities Public TV, defines "elder orphans" as older people with no spouse, kids, or companion to aid them.

She quotes one woman as saying she was alone with her dog and doesn't know where to turn--she feared becoming homeless and was scared to death.

Older people (take it from me) don't move as quickly, don't multitask as well, and don't adapt as well.

Marak started an Elder Orphan Facebook group. Check it out. It has 1,100 members so far.

Topics the Facebookers cover:

Legal and care issues. One couple said they had no "trusted friend" to oversee their financial affairs.

Affordable housing. A 69-yr-old, living on Social Security, was losing her mobile home because she could not longer afford it.

Transportation. One person got a ride to the hospital--but could not get one home. She had to be admitted because she could not get home.

Some locales are developing solutions to some of this.  The Milken Institute is working with mayors' offices to build awareness.

The best cities in which to be an elder orphan (Milken):

Provo, Utah
Madison, Wisc.
Omaha, Neb or Council Bluffs, Iowa (tied)

These rank high in terms of health care, active lifestyles, vibrant economies, and enriched environments. Still, even those have some drawbacks.

Sounds like good work--and a good use of Facebook.

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