Planning as an Elder Orphan

When we age, we depend more on children, spouses, other family members, friends, and others in our communities to help us with various projects, chores, and problems. For older people that do not have a large network of family members and others who they can turn to, simple outings such as visiting a doctor, picking up groceries, or filing a tax return can all turn into large obstacles. The term elder orphan refers to older people that do not have these people in their lives to rely upon. However, even if you are an “elder orphan,” as you age you can take steps to prepare yourself for the next part of your life.

Rapidly Rising Cost of Senior Healthcare Services, Such as Homemaker Services, Leads to Poor Health

The average American underestimates the cost of homecare by 50 percent, according to Genworth. Moreover, the cost of senior healthcare services is rising at a rapid rate that many Americans simply cannot keep up with. Homemaker costs have risen by 11.1 percent in the past five years alone. Today, a Genworth survey reveals that the average cost of a private room in a nursing home is $118,990, but that cost will jump to $159,913 by 2027. Similarly, homemaker services cost $49,718 in 2017, but will rise to $66,817 by 2027. Millions of Americans rely on their children or other relatives to take them in because these costs are just too much. If an older person or couple cannot afford care and does not have a family support, they risk serious health issues when they cannot properly care for themselves.

Steps to Take if You are an “Elder Orphan”

If you are an elder orphan and do not have a spouse, relatives, or children to rely on, you are not alone. In fact, over 20 percent of women who are in their 50s do not have children, according to USA Today. Additionally, 80 percent of women who are 85 years or older are unmarried. Women generally live longer than men, and when their husbands pass away, they are unlikely to remarry in their later years. Even older couples who are still together may fall under the same category of an elder orphan, because it is simply too much to ask for one partner to care for the other when both need professional assistance. According to USA Today, some simple tips to consider include:

  • Think about your living situation, your sense of community, whether you will be able to get around by yourself or if neighbors will be able to provide assistance. Is a car necessary, or will you be able to use public transportation when you can no longer drive?
  • Find a person who can help you make healthcare decisions;
  • Contact long lost family members;
  • Contact an attorney about creating an advanced healthcare directive and a Medicaid trust plan.

Call Maryland Elder Law Attorney Tara K. Frame Today

A Maryland elder law attorney will be able to provide you with even more details and a plan to get started on today. We encourage you to reach out to the Pasadena law offices of Frame & Frame today at 410-255-0373. It is best to take action and plan sooner rather than later.