Elder Orphans

Through a variety of scenarios more people today face aging alone. These “elder orphans” as they are often called have no immediate family on whom they can rely for assistance with their day-to-day affairs or even as an emergency contact for healthcare. Recently I have met several new clients who are tackling this question in their Life & Estate Planning. They struggle with nominating someone as power of attorney or to administer their estate.

Online resources also seem to be limited on how to address this situation. The problem is widely acknowledged but solutions are sparse. Depending on a client’s circumstances here are some ideas I have suggested to clients:

  • Start now to reinvigorate your social network. Re-examine your family tree and reintroduce yourself to some of the other branches. Becoming involved in these families now, before help is needed, might make it easier to ask for assistance later. You might a bond with family, especially younger members and find someone who is trustworthy and willing.
  • Get more involved in your social circles. The better you know those with common interests the easier it will be to find someone from these groups who might be able to help. Some clients have had luck through their churches.
  • Senior communities. This option may not be financially feasible for everyone, but if moving is an option, joining a senior community early again lets you develop those trusted relationships either with staff or neighbors, long before you need assistance.