• Preventing Senior Isolation: Can You Actually Adopt a Senior?

    From a425couple@21:1/5 to All on Sat May 12 18:29:36 2018
    XPost: alt.politics.economics, alt.economics

    from https://health.usnews.com/health-care/for-better/articles/2018-05-11/preventing-senior-isolation-can-you-actually-adopt-a-senior

    Preventing Senior Isolation: Can You Actually Adopt a Senior?
    Elder orphans, who have no children or spouse, can have a difficult time
    aging in place.

    By Anthony Cirillo, Contributor May 11, 2018, at 6:00 a.m.
    U.S. News & World Report
    Can You Actually Adopt a Senior?

    About 15 million people in the U.S. live alone, including 27 percent of
    the 65-plus population. (GETTY IMAGES)

    A recent article in The Washington Post focused on the millions of
    Chinese citizens living alone. There was a particular emphasis on one:
    Han Zicheng. He literally wanted to be adopted.

    Han posted note in a bus shelter. According to the Post, the headline
    read: "Looking for someone to adopt me." The text that followed said:
    "Lonely old man in his 80s. Strong-bodied. Can shop, cook and take care
    of himself. No chronic illness. I retired from a scientific research
    institute in Tianjin, with a monthly pension of 6,000 RMB [$950] a month."

    A woman saw the note and posted it on social media, and Han received
    extensive media coverage. Unfortunately, he died March 17 – his death
    mostly unnoticed, his adoption just a dream.

    About 15 million people in the U.S. live alone, including 27 percent of
    the 65-plus population. Carol Marak, an advocate on behalf of older
    adults and family caregivers, calls these people "elder orphans."
    Isolation can lead to poor physical and mental health as well as
    thoughts of suicide – thoughts Han had as he desperately sought companionship.

    Legal Adoption Fraught With Minefields

    Obviously, I'm not a legal expert, but from what I've read, in very
    specific circumstances you can adopt someone older than yourself. You
    don't have to stretch much to see the potential of elder fraud and
    abuse. What commonly happens when an older adult cannot take care of him
    or herself is guardianship.

    According to the National Guardianship Association, "Guardianship is a
    legal process, utilized when a person can no longer make or communicate
    safe or sound decisions about his/her person and/or property or has
    become susceptible to fraud or undue influence."

    Guardianship gone wrong can be disastrous. Just ask Catherine Falk,
    Peter Falk's (Columbo) daughter. In 2009, during her legal battle to see
    her ailing father, she proposed a "Right of Association" bill for the
    state of California, enabling visitation rights among family members
    when an ailing, incapacitated loved one who is being wrongly isolated by
    a guardian or power of attorney. She has joined forces with the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse in an effort to pass legislation in
    every state across America to prevent this.

    [See: 14 Ways Caregivers Can Care for Themselves.]

    An Adoption Mindset

    OK, so perhaps legal adoption is out of the question. You can think
    instead about developing an adoption mindset. Here are some things we
    can do as a community.

    We covered home sharing in a previous article. In the context of that
    article, it was more about the older person having someone move into
    their house. But it could work the opposite way, too, having someone
    live with a family.

    The Adopt an Elder Foundation in California provides financial and
    advocacy assistance to low-income elders that affords them the
    opportunity to maintain an appropriate degree of independence and
    quality of life. Other communities can emulate this.
    In Charlotte, North Carolina, Love Inc help congregations in forming one
    or more LINC (Love In the Name of Christ) teams. A team is a group of
    six to 12 individuals who agree to provide certain types of services
    such as transportation, grocery shopping, yard work, house cleaning, visitation, meal preparation and telephone contact.
    If you need inspiration, check out Angela Bronson's buddy program in Los Angeles. Once a month, her third-grade students visit residents in the
    Jewish Home for the Aging. where they interview and write a short
    biography on the life of their elderly buddy. This can easily be adapted
    for home-bound elders.
    [See: 9 Habits That May Reduce Your Risk of Developing Alzheimer's.]

    Elder Orphans and Potential Orphans Can Help Themselves, Too

    Consider that 19 percent of women ages 40 to 45 have no children, and
    you quickly realize that this problem can continue for generations. So,
    it's best to be prepared sooner than later.

    Make sure you're legally protected as you age. Do you have a will, an
    estate plan, a trust, a medical and financial power of attorney, and an advanced directive?
    Are you in the best possible health? Evaluate your eating habits. Look
    at your exercise routine. Staying healthy is the key to aging in place,
    in your home.
    Surround yourself with people, in essence, forming a "family" to
    substitute for a spouse and children. Create a lifestyle that does not
    isolate you.
    Consider a move to an urban area where you can walk to nearby locations
    while in turn keeping fit.
    You might consider a move even if you already live in an urban area. If
    your home isn't suited for aging in place, you might need to find a
    place that will serve you better.
    Aging alone can lead to mental decline unless you consciously work on it.
    Carol has created the Elder Orphans Facebook group that people can join
    for mutual support. There are nearly 8,000 members. She has taken that
    further and formed her own local group that physically meets in her
    Working together as a community and with our older adults, we can
    minimize isolation and all of the bad effects it can have on quality of
    life for older adults.

    Anthony Cirillo , Contributor

    Anthony Cirillo is president of The Aging Experience. He’s a passionate advocate for family car... READ MORE »
    Tags: aging, senior citizens, senior health

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