What are the most important differences between single people and married people? If you asked most people this question, they’d probably answer that single people tend to be a bit lonelier, a bit sadder, maybe a bit more lacking in life purpose and fulfillment compared to their married friends and family members. One would be a lot more likely than the other to be eating delivery pizza alone on a Friday night, that’s for sure.
These are common cultural scripts, at least in the United States, and social science has reinforced them a bit by telling us over and over that getting married does, in fact, bring various benefits to one’s level of happiness and life satisfaction. Marriage is good for you, we hear over and over and over.
And yet: People, on the whole, seem less into marriage than they used to be. At a time when it’s easier than ever before to learn about the purported benefits of getting married, single people are on the rise, and there’s a growing awareness that not everybody gets married by the time they’re 30, or 40, or 50 — that more and more people are building solo lives for themselves that would have been viewed as wildly unorthodox in the fairly recent past. The numbers tell a straightforward story. In 1970, there were 38 million single people in the U.S., and they made up just 28 percent of the population. In 2014, there were 107 million and they comprised 45 percent of the population.
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Why we need more services for those without family
September 8, 2016
By Carol Marak
Thriving in a place that’s safe and comfortable, surrounded by cozy memories, is a natural desire of older adults. We treasure independence and want a space to call our own, and we prefer that place to reflect the person we’ve become. We understand that aging bids compromise, and once 65 hits, the changes bring reminders that we’re no longer the same. We don’t move as quickly, we don’t multitask as well, nor do we easily adapt. Those are the simple cues. As we age, the physical and mental challenges delivered through loss, immobility and dependence are the ones that put us at higher risks.
Who Is an Elder Orphan?
However, the effects of aging land harder on an “elder orphan,” because the worry and concern of “what will become of me if I can’t care for myself?” triples when no one is around. An elder orphan has no adult children, spouse or companion to rely on for company, assistance or input. About 29 percent (13.3 million) of noninstitutionalized older persons live alone. The majority of those are women (9.2 million, vs. 4.1 million men).
The stresses of living alone will likely worsen for the boomers as a group since we have fewer children, more childless marriages and more divorces compared to earlier generations.
I am an elder orphan — on my own to decide where, and how, I age.
I am alone with my dog and don't know where to turn. I fear becoming homeless, and I am scared to death.
— member of Elder Orphan Facebook group
And it’s the reason I launched the Elder Orphan Facebook group. In just a few months, it’s grown to over 1,100 members. Each person joined for different reasons, but primarily to find community, connection and support — my particular motives for starting the group. Here, we talk about what’s on our minds and state our doubts.
I lost my hearing aid last fall. Had a new ear test and found I now needed hearing aids in both ears. First place I tried was Zounds who had an ad in the local paper for $395.00 for hearing aids. They put me through extensive trials including standing outside and noticing the traffic noise could be muted. HOWEVER, when I went to purchase, it turned out what they had demonstrated cost $3-4,000. Talk about bait and switch. I took the $395 ones but returned them shortly as they did not fit. The next place had a great technician and sold me hearing aids which they had had as loaners for folks who lost or destroyed their aids. They had these reconditioned and sold them to me at a discounted price. HOWEVER, the technician left there and the new one I was assigned to simply did not know what she was doing. I forget the setting she used, but it was an inappropriate one. So, I returned those and eventually got a refund.
Now to my delight, I have found a hearing aid place that shows me the settings they’re using, explains what they’re doing and have given me among other things, a dehumidifier (I had my first hearing aid for 5 years and no one mentioned a de-humidifier). Their price was reasonable, their financing is no interest for 2 years and I can tell when I wear them.
Too many of my senior citizen friends won’t wear hearing aids — cost being one reason, vanity - the fear they’ll look old is another. Don’t they know they look old when they have to keep asking “what did you say?”
I got my hearing aids after I read that folks who don’t get hearing help are 5 times more likely to get dementia. Think about it… if you can’t hear, your brain isn’t processing as much…. Duh!!