Council on Aging Answers 2017 - 62

HOUSING

COUNCIL ON AGING - SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Experts Predict Growing
'Elder Orphan' Population
While many of our readers are serving as family
caregivers or have done so in the past, a Caring Right
at Home poll showed that only 25 percent are confident they would have an adequate family support
system if they were to need care in the future.
AARP experts report that seniors who are receiving care today have an average pool of seven people
who can help. But as the boomers themselves begin
to need care, the balance will shift alarmingly. Many
baby boomers are unmarried, and boomers had fewer
children. AARP senior policy analyst Lynn Feinberg
predicts, "By 2050, the caregiver support ratio, which
was 7.2 when boomers were in their peak caregiving
years, is projected to drop to 2.9 when the boomers
reach their eighties."
62

Answers Guide 2017	

Some seniors will have no family members at all
to assist them, says Dr. Maria Torroella Carney, a
geriatrician with North Shore-LIJ Health System in
New York. Dr. Carney says these "elder orphans" are
"vulnerable to a wide range of negative outcomes that
include functional decline, mental health issues and
premature death." She cites a University of Michigan
study showing that 22 percent of people older than 65
are (or at risk of becoming) elder orphans. Dr. Carney
cautions, "We have a sense that this will be a growing population as society ages and life expectancy
increases, and our government and society need to
prepare how to advocate for this population."
AARP and Dr. Carney both call for greater awareness of the needs of these unsupported seniors. Says

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Council on Aging Answers 2017

Contents
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Intro
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Cover1
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Cover2
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