Solo Seniors or Elder Orphans are those aged 65 and older who are aging alone. They may or may not have married. They may or may not have children. They may have family but the immediate family may not be nearby or maybe they are estranged. What they do have in common is the fact that they are facing their later years alone. A 2016 study uses the term Elder Orphan to describe individuals living alone with little to no support system. They estimated the prevalence of American adults 65 years and older in this situation to be around 22%. Solo Seniors do not have the emotional support from a spouse or an adult child who they can turn to to help manage their medical, emotional, and physical needs. They do not have a family member to help them make major decisions as they age.
Solo Seniors or Elder Orphans do not have to go it alone. The key is to start planning on who to rely on before a crisis arrives. Our Solo Seniors need to make sure they have a power of attorney and a living will. They need to make sure they have the people in place that they can turn to to manage their living situation, their financial care, their legal concerns, their physical needs, their emotional care, and their medical needs.
As a health advocate, I am there for my Solo Seniors when it comes to the management of their health needs. I am someone they turn to for their everyday health concerns or when they are in a medical crisis. I make sure my Solo Seniors have all of their health needs met and that they are not lost in the healthcare system maze. I am a support for their preventive care as well as their ongoing medical conditions. Having a health advocate by their side gives them the security to know that someone is watching out for their well being and that when the going gets rough, they don't have to go at it alone.
As always, if things are not going as you plan with your health and you need some guidance, don't forget to reach out to me... your health advocate. A partner in your health. www.melissahakim.com