SeniorCare.com, an online resource dedicated to informing consumers on the realities and options within the senior care industry, today publishes the preliminary results of one of the first empirical academic research studies aimed at understanding older adults who are aging alone with limited support.
The study surveyed more than 500 participants who were all aged 55 and older and who self-identify with the term elder orphan, defined as aging alone with limited support. The purpose of the study was to explore the predictors of well-being throughout the life course and the advance care planning needs of this demographic in the US.
The preliminary results offer some important insights into the financial, mental and physical health of those aging alone, which will help businesses, healthcare organizations, faith groups and government agencies better understand the specific needs of this demographic. Unsurprisingly the data shows that the needs of this group differ significantly to those that have family and other support networks to lean on, which should act as a wakeup call for the industry.
Everyday in the US as many as 10,000 people turn 65 years of age, with 28% of those in this age group now living alone. And many of those living alone are often considered to be “hidden in plain sight” within our communities, as their situation and needs go unnoticed, which can exacerbate the problems faced by this demographic. Therefore understanding the specific needs of this group is growing ever more important.
“After caregiving for my older parents, it occurred to me how hard and demanding elder care is. If it had not been for my sisters and me, our parents would have been hard pressed to remain independent. And I realized I am up a creek without a paddle because I have no one to rely on. It’s a big issue for 28% of the 65s and older,” said Aging Alone spokesperson and SeniorCare.com Chief Public Relations Officer Carol Marak. “That’s why through research such as this, SeniorCare.com are helping to inform and educate the industry, so it’s better equipped to manage the needs of this growing demographic.”