- 70% of elderly living alone are women
- Average marriage today last 11 years
- A decline in church attendance
- Differences between generations
As many of you know our senior population is growing more and more every day and the reasons for this are many, but the main reason was the explosion of births after World War II. Hence the name Baby Boomers. Due to the rapid improvements in medical care, many are living longer, also. Together this has lead to an abnormal number of our older population living alone and has created the need for people to help seniors living alone.
We have always had many of our seniors living alone, but the senior group numbers have increased dramatically, which leave many home alone. In the past, out of respect for the parent, children would look after their parents in their senior years, but for some reason, that number has decreased a lot lately. Why is this and why is there such a disconnect between children today and their fathers or mothers? I want to take a look at some of the numbers here and try to examine the reasons why.
Elderly Living Alone
In the United States, there is about 46 million elderly that lives in community dwellings, of which 29% live alone. Some other numbers are 70% of seniors living alone are women, and 46% are greater than 75 years old. Men are more likely to remarry before women, but men are expected to die before women. Many of the elderly lack sufficient income, especially as they grow older, because of added healthcare cost and inflation.
Most have the feeling of loneliness and social isolation. In those with health problems, new or worsening symptoms may go unnoticed. Many have difficulty taking care of any illnesses they may have because of physical limitations. Because of these limitations, they have problems preparing meals, and some do not prepare full balanced meals, making undernutrition a concern.
Despite these problems, almost 90% of the elderly display a strong desire to preserve their independence. Most fear being too dependent on others and, despite the loneliness, want to continue to reside by themselves. To ensure they can stay independent we should urge them to engage in routine physical activity and social intercommunications.
Many today have full-time jobs and are very busy these days, but how much busier are we today than we were ten years ago? A common phrase from the younger ones these days is “I have been so busy, I just don’t have the time.” Stopping by at least once a week, spend a couple of hours with your mom or dad who is living alone and see to it they are getting along well; taking their meds, eating correctly, and getting the needed exercise will do a lot to make their lives a lot better. Checking on a regular basis will help you to see to it that they are doing well and if not talk with them about other options that are available to help them get along better.
Divorce Rate U.S.
I have seen countless seniors living at home or sitting in assisted living facilities by themselves, alone with no one stopping by to visit. And when talking to the staff in these homes, they tell me some never have any family visit. Why is this? I guess there could be many reasons, but one of them could be the high divorce rates we have now. We all know the majority of divorces do not end gracefully. In the end, both parents are fighting and if there are two or three children involved the children will side with one or the other parent.
Today the average length for a marriage in the U.S. is eleven years. These numbers are in sharp contrast to previous generations where the subject of divorce was rarely brought up; men and women once married were expected to stay together till death do us part.
Studies have shown that the majority of separations occur in middle class to needy families. So what does this do to the family? It leaves one parent struggling to bring up the children on a limited income and not be able to save for retirement. Subsequently, the children are left on their own not respecting either parent, which leads to not helping their parents when they are older; leaving the parent alone in their senior years.
Family and Church
I know some of you are reading this, and you don’t want to hear about the importance of family and church, but when we talk about seniors living alone, I think it makes sense. No matter who you talk to they will tell us there has been a significant decline in church attendance these past few years. The reasons why are many, and that is a different subject altogether. If a young person attends church on a regular basis, he learns quickly about honoring his mother and father.
It does not matter if you are religious or not the teachings in the churches are very important in any civilization. I think all religions teach the significance of a father and mother, their role in guiding their children and how our young ones are to value their parents.
If you are the child of a struggling divorced parent, who rarely attended church, then you may not know the importance of the fifth commandment “Honour thy father and thy mother.”
Maybe you were brought up with an excellent happy modern day family, or what passes for a family nowadays. How can we describe the average family of the past few years? We could go back to the 1970s when all this started taking place. Most families are so consumed with living, working, and making money these days that parents spend very little quality time with their children.
If the parents or a parent is spending time with the children, it is usually running to the store, to meetings, parties, Disney World, or a sporting event. How many families actually sit down for dinner every night and have an actual conversation with their children? Yes, some do sit down for a good meal, but the TV may be going full blast, or mom is on the cell phone with her co-workers, or Johnny is talking to his new girlfriend on his cell phone. In the meantime, dad might be checking the stock futures on his iPad. My question; are we having thoughtful, constructive conversations with our children? Could this be why they have left us alone, to live alone?
Baby Boomers vs. Millennials
We could talk forever about the difference between Baby Boomer and Millennials. Much of this was due to the accelerated advancement of technology, which in some ways made the gap between the two generations farther. Somehow this led to everyone to become consumed in themselves and maybe a few others.
What are some of the differences between the generations that could have created the disconnect between them:
Dealing with money – Put it away, Pay Cash, Save and Save
Work Ethic – Dedicated, Pay your dues, Work hard, Respect authority
Technology – Adapted
Entitlement – Seniority
Workplace view on time – Punch the clock, Get the job done
View on Work/Life Balance – Work hard to keep job security
Baby Boomers 1946-1964
Dealing with money – Buy now pay later
Work Ethic – Driven, Workaholic – 60 hour work week
Technology – Acquired
Entitlement – Experience
Workplace view on time – Workaholic, Created the 50 hour work week
View on Work/Life Balance – Were reluctant of using too much time off work for concerns of squandering their place on the corporate ladder, which led to less family time and family vacations
Generation X 1965-1980
Dealing with money – Cautious, Conservative
Work Ethic – Balance 50/50, Work smarter and with higher output
Technology – Assimilated
Entitlement – Merit
Workplace view on time – Project-oriented, Get paid to get the job finished
View on Work/Life Balance – Because of parents who are Boomer workaholics, they concentrate on a more precise balance between work and family
Dealing with money – Earn to spend
Work Ethic – Ambitious, What’s next
Technology – Integral
Entitlement – Contribution
Workplace view on time – Effective workers but gone at 5 PM, View work as a gig, something that fills the time between weekends
View on Work/Life Balance – Not only balance with work and life, but stability with work, life, and community
This information comes from wmfc.org, but what is really telling is the difference between the generations when it comes to values:
Traditionalists – value family and community
Baby Boomers – value success
Generation X – value time
Millennials – value individuality
As we can see there is and always will be vast differences between generations and some of this can be the reasons they hesitate to take care of their senior parents. Those of the Traditionalist generation placed great value on family and community, and we can see in later generations success, time, and individuality play a more significant role. Traditionalist believed in getting the job done no matter how much time it took, but more following generations think their time is more important than work.
My Final Thoughts
We should remember the generation we are talking about the most here is the Traditionalist. They are the ones home alone with very little company, or they are in assisted living facilities with few visitors. The Traditionalist generation was the generation that valued family and community more than the other generations. Read one of my earlier blogs about the Challenges of Taking Care of the Elderly, where we talk about the problems of caring for our parents in their senior years and the importance of caregiving.
It would be great if all children could look after their parents in their older days to keep them out of assisted living nursing homes, but of course, sometimes this is not possible. If the children could help their parents as much as possible before putting them in a nursing home would make a lot of difference. I can assure you no parent wants to die alone and I know for me it would be hard to say I did not do as much as possible to make my mother or father as comfortable as possible in their final days.
Are you taking care of a parent who suffers back pain, arthritis or has problems walking? What about issues with depression from living alone, or anxiety for you from worrying about their health. Pure CBD from Changing the Future Outcome is becoming more popular and has been proven to help with all these problems. I take care of my elderly mother, and it has helped her with her back and arthritis. It has helped me have patience when dealing with her senior idiosyncrasies.
An excellent article here for more information on how CBD can help your aging parent; How to Help Your Parent with CBD on the Naturally Powerful website.
I urge you to click below and read all about these products.
Your Comments are Always Welcome. Please Comment Below