Many elderly people in cities, live alone, with their windows sealed or nailed shut because they are so afraid of crime-afraid that someone will break in, and they will be defenseless. So many are poor and sick, hardly able to care for themselves, with no family or friends, and are often dealing with some level of confusion or dementia. When the elderly die, they usually die alone, just as they have lived in their later years. Sometimes they die at home alone, and sometimes they die in hospitals, or nursing homes. It is such a tragic end for a person who has given so much of their lifetime to others, and yet, when it is their time to depart, there is no one to be there for them. Many times their bodies are not discovered for a long time, because no one cares, or notices that they are missing.
They are sometimes referred to as “elder orphans.”
There is so much isolation in today’s society. In a 2004 issue of Geriatric Times, Bruce G. Rosenthal, of the American Homes and Services for the Aging, commented, “As many as 60% of nursing home residents have no regular visitors.” .
Many older people have experienced multiple bereavements as well. Those with dementia or cognitive impairment can’t manage the grief process as a healthy person would. They may even forget their loved ones are gone, and wake up each day searching for them. Even for the elderly with good mental function, often clinical depression sets in, and there is insomnia, weight loss, poor nutrition, and withdrawal. They don’t usually ask for help, or reach out to others.
It makes me angry that older people are in such horrible situations. All of my life, I have loved the elderly. Perhaps it is because I was raised by grandparents (alongside my mom) until I was 7. But now that I am caring for my mom, who is widowed, aging, and very ill, I can’t imagine her having to face her difficult situation alone. And I can’t help but wonder how many people there are like her,or in much worse condition, who are sick, frail, and totally alone.
* The lonely and forgotten elderly need us so desperately. They sit, crying and alone, with broken hearts, and no hope. No one visits them. They need our love…our touch…our warm smiles. Please be there for those who have no one. ♥