Aug 10, 2017 by Comfort Keepers
Having children does not guarantee that a senior will have help in their elder years. Even so, there are between 30 and 50 million family members caring for senior loved ones in the United States alone. Granted, not all of these family members are the children of an elder requiring care, but seniors who do not have children remain at a significant disadvantage when it comes to the support of family caregivers.
According to the AARP, close to 95 percent of seniors want to remain in their own home as they age, regardless of the physical or mental challenges they may face in doing so. Without help, however, this is not always possible. As a result, seniors who do not have children are far more likely to end up in an institution than those who have family members to care for them. University of Southern California gerontologist Dr. Merril Silverstein put it this way, "Historically, childlessness has been a consistent predictor of whether you end up in a nursing home.”
With the rapid increase in the number of seniors from the Baby Boomer generation, the number of seniors without children is expected to grow tremendously. Current estimates place the rate of childlessness among Baby Boomers at 20 to 25 percent. These seniors, along with others who are without children, should be giving hard thought to their living situation and the use of in home caregivers if they have not already done so.
In addition to caregivers, seniors without children may want to give some consideration to their physical living arrangements. For example, what forms of public transportation are reasonably available? If the senior cannot drive, how will they get around? What sort of senior-friendly activities are nearby and accessible? If the answers are not favorable, a change of venue may be in order.
Seniors may also want to get their bills set up on auto-pay. Comfort Keepers caregivers can help create a list of recurring bills and work together with a senior to set up payments. This way, accidents, injuries, illness, or other unexpected life events will not lead to shut-off notices or collection action.
Seniors should remember that just because they do not have children, it does not mean they do not have family. Brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, and other family members may want to help with caregiving if given the opportunity. Knowing who can be counted on is important, especially when drafting documents like powers of attorney, living wills, and so forth.
In short, seniors without children have a greater chance of spending their final years in a nursing home. Yet, with proper planning and assistance from other family members and professional caregivers, it is possible for most childless seniors to remain safely in the comfort of their own home. For more information on the many ways Comfort Keepers can help your senior loved one age with dignity, contact a senior care coordinator today.
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