Elder Orphans

I recently saw an episode on the PBS Newshour that talked about the increasing number of families who now support their elderly parents. Many of us Baby Boomers are now, or will soon be approaching the times when we can no longer adequately care for ourselves. For those fortunate enough, the kids/grandkids will invite them into their homes.

Almost twenty years ago I did the same thing for my mother. Even though she had abandoned me at the age of nine I, unlike my two siblings, felt a responsibility to care for her. She lived with us for almost three years before her needs outpaced our ability to provide. I continued to take care of her as her legal guardian until she passed.

It is nice that families are graciously accepting their parents into their homes, but what about those of us without children? I didn’t know we had a name until I came across this article below.

I first heard the term “elder orphan” a few years ago. Typically, it refers to seniors who are aging alone. They have no spouse or partner, and no children to step into the role of caregiver.

AARP recently estimated that 20 percent of the aging population, or 8.6 million people older than 65, are now “orphans” or at risk of becoming an elder orphan. By 2050, this number will mushroom to 16 million or higher

Source: The Gainesville Sun

My wife and I are elder orphans and that is kind of a scary thing. Who will do for me what I did for my mother? With no one available to depend on for health crisis or even occasional daily needs, we do kinda feel like orphans. Do we need to hire a lawyer as our legal guardian when the time comes or is their another alternative? I have put this topic off for too long now.

I guess there are organizations already in place, such as the ones shown in the featured image above and below. Wouldn’t you know that there is even a website www.ElderOrphanCare.com  It’s nice to know they we are not alone with this problem?

Are you an Elder Orphan?


Coping With Deafness And My 10 Pillars

I want to continue on from my 10 Pillars post of last week with a personal story about the second pillar which is “You are not alone”. 

As I have mentioned before I want deaf in 1988 at the age of forty-two, but I had been hearing impaired for years before that. I lost hearing in one ear during my early college years in the 1960s.  Since I had no insurance and I couldn’t afford to pay doctor bills and college tuition at the same time, it would be a few years later when I discovered the cause of my impending deafness.

After I graduated from college and had a job including full benefits I was told that I had cochlear otosclerosis and it would eventually cause total deafness. As the hearing loss progressed I got more and more powerful hearing aids for my remaining ear. 

1988 was a year of struggle for me. When I got out of bed in the morning I didn’t know if I would be able to hear or not. Finally, my doctor admitted that there was nothing else he could do for me so “goodbye”.  There was no counseling, no references to others that might be able to help me cope, just “goodbye”.  I felt like I was just set adrift in an endless ocean by myself.

Now, remember 1988 was before Google and such.  There was a public Internet connection via AOL but it was very crude and almost worthless. In spite of that, I spent hours looking for someone to help me.  Finally, I ran across an organization called ALDA (Association of Late-Deafened Adults) where I finally discovered that I was not alone in going deaf in mid-life. There were others like me out there. 

Now with Google and a very robust Internet, it is quite easy, if you look, to find help and convince yourself you are not alone. But you would be surprised at the number of people who will continue to live a pity-party for the rest of their lives after their traumatic event.

I would love to hear your stories about feeling alone in the world…

My 10 Pillars

I know you don’t care but since I am an addicted list maker I have been tinkering with my blogging schedule here at RJsCorner.  In order to not fixate on the political scene I have committed to addressing more diversified topics.  That diversity is driven by my blogging schedule as shown at the top of this and every page.

Monday is the only day I allow myself to concentrate on the political scene inside the beltway and particularly inside the Oval Office topics. Any more than that could drive me to insanity. 🙂  I have just changed Tuesday to blogging about my 10 pillars of life as shown here. My 10 pillars help define what I am and why I am on this earth. So to that end, I will be spending Tuesdays concentrating on one of those ten topics. 

Today’s post will concentrate on explaining the second pillar on this list.

I realize that I am prone to depression when things don’t go as I think they should. During those pity-party periods, I tend to think that I am the only one who has my problem-of-the-day.  Of course, thinking that a problem is exclusively mine makes it harder to deal with. We must each realize that no matter what our problems are there are people out there who have been there before us and can help us with them.  They will show us ways to cope with our problems. Siri might be a good start in finding them but she is never a total solution. 😳

Over the years I have learned a lot by studying how others cope.  So, my #6 pillar helps in accepting dealing with my #2 pillar. Never stop learning. Never think you know all there is to know. People who are convinced of that almost certainly know less that anyone. 

Pillar #2 – You Are Not Alone

In future posts I will be giving you some personal stories about realizing that I was not alone with particular problems.

The Cutting Room Floor

“You are not alone” is one of my Ten Pillars of life. The thought is that no matter what adversities you face, there is always someone who has had them before you and they can help you learn how to cope.

Asking for help is a hard thing to do for many of us. We just don’t want to admit to ourselves that we sometimes struggle through life, let alone broadcast that fact to the world! It takes a brave person to do that. One of those brave people is Michelle over at the Green Study. She recently came out with a heartwrenching post where she told the world about her problems with depression and the history of psychiatric problems in her family.

Here are some of her words in relation to the recent celebrity suicides:

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I constantly struggle with my deafness, my Aspie characteristics and sometimes depression. I thank the Lord that I am not overwhelmed by these things as many are. I feel an inordinate need to show the world that they are not alone. Someone else struggles as you do.  Just knowing that might help them pull back from the edge and seek help.

One of my hardest personal struggles was the period when I went deaf at the age of forty. I knew deafness was coming but I still was totally unprepared. When it did happen my ear doctor basically told me that he couldn’t help me anymore so just go away.  I felt abandoned! I went through months of depression until I finally discovered the organization called ALDA (Assoc. of Late Deafened Adults).  They helped me realize I was not alone.

Thanks, Michelle for letting others know that they are not alone with their problems…

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Rising US suicide rates…

2018-06-11_09-47-48It is sad to see that suicide is on the rise in the US. A couple of prominent people have brought it to the forefront. As noted below a part of the problem is the lack of proper healthcare here in America. It is hard to believe that over 45,000 people committed suicide last year alone.  The stigma of mental illness causes too many to not seek help when they are severely depressed and that is the major cause of it.

I go through some pretty significant periods of depression myself but never to the point of thinking life is useless or needs to end.  If I ever do get to that point I pray I have the strength to get some help.

John Mann, a psychiatrist who studies the causes of depression and suicide at Columbia University, said several factors have likely contributed to America’s rising suicide rate, including stress from the 2008 financial crisis and the current opioid epidemic. But they don’t tell the whole story.

“We have a serious, national problem in terms of adequate recognition of psychiatric illnesses and their treatment. That is the single most effective suicide-prevention method in Western nations. We’re missing most of these cases. That’s really the bottom line.”

The larger majority of suicide victims who have a psychiatric illness — nearly 3 in 4 Americans— are not receiving treatment at the time of their deaths.

via Rising US suicide rates could be connected to mental healthcare costs – Business Insider

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As far as I know, depression is pretty much a chemical imbalance in the brain and is, for the most part, a treatable condition. It is interesting to see that the most significant rate increases are in the middle, more rural part of the country. I wonder why that is? Maybe it is a signal just how depressed and fearful Trumpters are about their way of life? It is also interesting to see that California, Arizona, and New Mexico are among the lowest. Maybe it is the water 🙂

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