|Families are the building blocks of our parishes and, indeed, our Faith. By including them in our mission we can renew the Church’s energy for evangelization and insure the sustainability of our Order. Here you’ll find just a few of the ways we can begin doing this, for it will always be a work-in-progress. (Click each item in the list below to see more detail.)
The Family Director’s Blog
The Looming Care Crisis, Part 2: Elder Orphans
- The isolated aged living, often singly, in local communities
- Family or relatives live far away, face restrictions themselves or simply don’t exist
- They risk losing decision-making capacity, mobility and independence
- They are at increasing risk for health and safety-related problems
- Few people are aware of their situation and still fewer visit them regularly
- They lack social contact and can easily become lonely, depressed
- Financial resources may be strained due to medical costs, poor decisions or inflation
How common is this?
- 22% of people 65 and above are in situations of this sort
- 33% of those aged 45 to 63 may be destined to find themselves in this position
- There were 35 million in 2002 – by 2012 there were 43 million
- 11.6% of women 80-84 were childless in 2010; that will increase to 16% by 2030
What must happen?
The medical and social community must actively screen for elder orphans before they lose function or are admitted to a healthcare facility. That includes us – you, your council, your parish, its ministries! Several ideas and suggestions were voiced in last month’s THK. That’s a start as each person and each situation will require different forms and degrees of care and interaction. I forgot to list it, but Meals on Wheels would certainly be appropriate, especially on holidays and long weekends. Keep an eye out for your elderly neighbors; ‘see something, say something’ – and say something if you don’t see them as usual.
But this could happen to YOU or someone you know so you’ve got to prepare. Who will care for you? Where and how will you live? Where will you generate a close-at-hand circle of friends? Who will be contacted if there’s an urgent need and who will have the authority to make decisions if you can’t? Who can provide a ‘second opinion’ on your decisions so as to avoid scams? Your estate, its related documents and your finances must be in order. Major medical issues can drain savings; your Field Agent may be able to help you on that and maybe other financial questions.
And, here’s a link to some resources and discussions: https://www.seniorcare.com/
NC Family Director
NC Silver Rose Chairman