Elder Orphans Hiding in Plain Sight: A Growing Vulnerable PopulationReport as inadecuate




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Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research - Volume 2016 2016, Article ID 4723250, 11 pages -

Research Article

Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Northwell Health, Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine, New Hyde Park, NY 11040, USA

Maimonides Medical Center, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Brooklyn, NY 11219, USA

Received 1 February 2016; Revised 16 June 2016; Accepted 12 July 2016

Academic Editor: Iracema Leroi

Copyright © 2016 Maria T. Carney et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Adults are increasingly aging alone with multiple chronic diseases and are geographically distant from family or friends. It is challenging for clinicians to identify these individuals, often struggling with managing the growing difficulties and the complexities involved in delivering care to this population. Clinicians often may not recognize or know how to address the needs that these patients have in managing their own health. While many such patients function well at baseline, the slightest insult can initiate a cascade of avoidable negative events. We have resurrected the term elder orphan to describe individuals living alone with little to no support system. Using public data sets, including the US Census and University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Study, we estimated the prevalence of adults 65 years and older to be around 22%. Thus, in this paper, we strive to describe and quantify this growing vulnerable population and offer practical approaches to identify and develop care plans that are consistent with each person’s goals of care. The complex medical and psychosocial issues for elder orphans significantly impact the individual person, communities, and health-care expenditures. We hope to encourage professionals across disciplines to work cooperatively to screen elders and implement policies to prevent elder orphans from hiding in plain sight.





Author: Maria T. Carney, Janice Fujiwara, Brian E. Emmert Jr., Tara A. Liberman, and Barbara Paris

Source: https://www.hindawi.com/



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