Elder Orphans: Aging with No One

One of the gifts of growing older for many is the love of family. Kids, grandkids, and even great-grandkids can mean the world to many of us. Not only for the joy they bring in sharing times and memories but in that we have someone who will help care for us as we age and slow down.

For many seniors they may have close friends throughout the years, but as they grow older, their lives may travel down different paths. Maybe they decided not to or couldn’t have children, they may be unmarried or widowed, or maybe they are estranged from their families. They have now found themselves aging and alone. Dr. Maria Torroella Carney, chief of geriatrics and palliative medicine at North Shore-LIJ Health System in New York, calls these seniors ‘elder orphans.’

It is possible for people to plan their future in the event of becoming an elder orphan. One way is to act early. Figure out details of how you would want to be treated at a hospital in case you are not able to communicate your wishes. Save up money for medical emergencies, long-term care, and whatever else you deem necessary. It is all up to you.

Here at Reach Out Morongo Basin we cater to many senior and disabled neighbors, some of which are elder orphans themselves. Sometimes our work with them is the only social contact they have. It is important to keep in contact with old friends and to make new ones. In today’s world of social media, this contact is more attainable than before. To learn more about elder orphans, take a look at the U.S. News article here!


Robin Schlosser

Executive Director