As we age and our needs for care become greater, many of us envision turning to family members for support.
Whether it helps with household chores, help to get from place to place, or even making major medical and housing decisions, we often rely on those closest to us for support.
However, what about those older adults who don’t have a family to care for them? Elder Orphans, or people who are aging alone without family to care for them, are a growing demographic in our community.
AARP estimates that 1-in-5 people over the age of 65 are or will be without family caregivers and that 23 percent of Baby Boomers will fall into this same category. So what is an older person to do when they don’t have a family to provide care?
When the family isn’t available, having a strong network of friends and neighbors can be just as helpful. One emerging model gaining some traction in our region is the “Virtual Village” model, connecting seniors together to coordinate services like transportation, yard work, or even physical fitness.
Seniors who are active in Senior Centers often find that they can access many needed resources through the center (transportation, for example) and also develop friendships with people who will provide help if and when needed.
With isolation being one of the leading health risks amongst seniors, both approaches provide positive health and quality of life benefits.
If you are an elder orphan looking for support or just want to get a jump start on planning for your older years, contact our Social Work team at the Northshore Senior Center at 425-487-2441.
They’ll be happy to help you start making plans and connections to make your aging process as easy as possible.
CEO Northshore Senior Center