There's always more to explore with your AARP membership. Explore your member benefits today.
Reply
AARP Expert
0
Kudos
929
Views

Re: Becoming an Elder Orphan

929 Views
Message 1 of 14

@philb908321 wrote:
im still waiting for my angel, but im afraid shes not comming ....i wait n grieve

Good morning, Phil. At least its morning for me on the west coast. I saw this post, and i went to your list of posts to see if i could find out more about you. Please don't get your hopes up, i'm not looking for a companion, but i do 'hear' your desire for a friend, companion, person to be with, help out, travel with, or whatever. And i also hear your frustration that folks on this aarp community site are not responding super fast. 

I'm about your age, will be 59 in August. I moved to a radically different part of the country 2 years ago to be with a new partner, and since i did that, i've learned a few things about making friends. I'm wondering if any of my experiences might be helpful to you as you look for companionship: locally and not on a national board like the aarp community. Also, could you tell us more about where you are? or does that matter? It sounds like you're willing to move.

     You are a veteran, a young one, so maybe a gulf war vet, or something, and you are disable so you get a veteran's pension and maybe social security as well. It's great that you have an income; i bet it is also a modest one. Sounds like you can do most everything, very handy guy! despite your disability, so that's awesome.  Since you're a veteran, is there a social group near you that gathers? Is there a VFW (or is that mostly much older guys and the occasional guy?)   Perhaps you've tried to engage with other veterans at your local VA Hospital, or other veterans organizations. Any luck?

         I am a therapist in a very rural county and i have seen several veterans, still see two. Most have PTSD. And we are 2 hours from the nearest VA so they get to see me through the Triwest Choice program. One of the things they bring up a lot is feeling lonely. No matter what kind of veteran you are, what you did or where you went, there's a feeling that no one outside of the military has a clue about your experience. Their disabilities tend to be psychological and some physical as well. We work on strategies for calming themselves when a panic attack happens. My psychiatric colleague gives them prozasin and antidepressants to help with nightmares. And then they go out from my office to engage with the world again, and try to escape it most of the time. This place is so rural they succeed.

       When i moved out here, i joined the volunteer organization that helps raise funds for the school, for flags on the tombstones in the town cemetary, and for spraying of mosquitos. We even have a Mosquito Festival to help pay for it. Is there any organization that you'd like to volunteer for? Is there a local library? Is there a skill you could teach young people, like welding or carpentry?  If you could hook into something voluntarily, you'll make acquaintances, feel useful, and perhaps get into a social circle that will eventually lead to connection, companionship, etc.

       That's one thought.

        I see that one of your posts expressed frustration with this process, and the community, and you called the enterprise a 'pos'.  I wish it was easier to make friends, find companions. The thing is, people can smell desperation. Which is why joining a social group or volunteering, might help you to link up with people WITHOUT the pressure of desperation. Does that make sense?  It's kind of like trying to be happy. Its a  hard goal to head for straight away. But if we are useful, and socialable, and helpful, dependable, trustworthy, find joy in a hobby... happiness will sneak up on you.

      If you feel isolated, connecting with other folks near where you are now may be both enjoyable and more effective at finding the companionship you seek....

      So, i responded. Tell us more about you? Does anything i suggested make sense?

      I sincerely wish you all the best, Phil. And please respond. 

 

Jane

Report Inappropriate Content
0
Kudos
929
Views
Conversationalist
0
Kudos
946
Views

Re: Becoming an Elder Orphan

946 Views
Message 2 of 14
im still waiting for my angel, but im afraid shes not comming ....i wait n grieve
Report Inappropriate Content
0
Kudos
946
Views
Bronze Conversationalist
1
Kudos
1151
Views

Re: Becoming an Elder Orphan

1,151 Views
Message 3 of 14

Try to find a church home if you can it is a wonderful source of companionship and activities for all ages.  Plus, you can select your Pastor as the contact person in case something happens and at our age (I'm 67) the only thing they'd need to know is if I died since they would be burying me and having my service. Write down what you want done and the church members will take care of it; that's why it's called a church home.  Smiley Happy  Good luck!  Sending prayers of support and happiness your way. 

Report Inappropriate Content
1
Kudos
1151
Views
Conversationalist
3
Kudos
1366
Views

Re: Becoming an Elder Orphan

1,366 Views
Message 4 of 14

I called myself an orphan when my mother passed away. Both of my parents are gone and I have no siblings. I am divorced with no children. My best friend moved far away several years ago. I am retired and the friends that I have were mostly from work. They are much younger than me and have families of their own. I was feeling very isolated and even more so when I was asked for an emergency contact. I had no one to put down. I had used my mother for years, but she was now gone. My health is failing and making life more difficult.

 

My life improved when two of my work friends stepped in to help me. They have become like children to me. They are my angels. When I had no family or anyone else to reach out to, they have adopted me into their families. They have proven over and over again that good friends can be as good, if not better than family. I feel very fortunate now and encourage others to look outside of their family for help. You just might find your angel too.

Report Inappropriate Content
3
Kudos
1366
Views
AARP Expert
0
Kudos
1385
Views

Re: Becoming an Elder Orphan

1,385 Views
Message 5 of 14

@bd8344 wrote:

I thought I was reading my own story. lol.  I am a 62 year old divorced female with no children.  That is the biggest reason that I am divorced. It was my ex-spouses way or no way and I could no longer live like that because that did not include children.  He would not even discuss it when I approached him.  That's okay that is his loss and my gain.  He has since remarried but it was like he was trying to replace me because the new wife looks just like me when he left.  (I wonder how she would feel about that? lol.)   Both my parents and all my aunt and uncles are gone now, and my siblings are each more than 10 years my senior and we do not have much of a relationship.  It started out as I did not want to be around them because they did not treat me right.  Now one is so paranoid they do not want any one except our eldest sibling, their children, grand-children and current spouse around them. And the other one will go to visit the one closest in age to them but not me.  That's okay because I have decided that when they call me to help them when they get to the point they need more help than just their children to help, I am not going because of how bad they treated me.  I had to put someone down as emergency contact in case of an emergency but neither one thinks I should and act as though they will not be there for me if anything happens.  I am currently trying to figure out what I am going to have to do to make sure my last requests are carried out as I want and not the way someone else thinks it should be.  Since I have not remarried and do not have many real close friends any longer that live close by, I really do not know what I am going to do.  I figure all I can do is to live my life the best I can and accomplish what I can and not live my life with regrets.


Hey BD. 

I am sorry that your siblings were unkind to you when you all were younger. You could take the high road when one of them calls upon you, if they do. And perhaps one of them has a child, who'd be a niece or nephew to you, who could then be a help to you when you need someone to speak on your behalf.  When i was a geriatric care manager, for the childless folks it was usually a nephew or niece who took charge. But the quality of the relationship makes all the difference. A callous relative isn't as good as a sincere friend.  

 

So, you're going to build some friendships and strengthen the old ones even though they're far away, right? You'll have to be intentional about it. Do you have a faith community?  Even if you're agnostic, there's always the Unitarians. They are the most welcoming denomination anywhere, and you don't have to check your intellect at the door. Get to know some folks, make some friends, be useful, and when the time comes, you'll have a couple of people to rely on. Maybe?  Or, join a volunteer crew at the local library... any place you have an interest? Go to the local yarn store and learn to knit. 

 

I relocated across the continent about 2 years ago, and although i moved here for my partner, so i had her, thanks be to God, i really had to work to make friends. Because people don't know they need you in their lives by late middle age. They think they have all the friends they need!  I had to charm them! So, i joined the local volunteer group. I slowly asked a few women whether they'd agree to take walks with me since i need the exercise. I'm also volunteering to take library books up county or down county, and so i'm getting to know librarians, who are always smart people who know the community. I live in a very rural place; 7,500 humans in a county bigger than Connecticut. So, it's taken me a while to figure out the place. I'm a city kid. And left my home of 56 years, only place i really knew. I joined the local church, but the preaching drove me to distraction. Tried a couple of others. Kinda gave up on that. But if this place had more options, i'd belong for sure. Anyway, after 2 years, i think i have a handful of friends. It takes work. And a concentrated effort to BE a good friend before one can earn a good friend.

 

So enough about me. 

 

What is your plan? You have choices. Some people have their attorneys act as financial proxy and health care proxy, but, you know, it's just not the same to have someone you're paying to be your advocate. Love is a better motivator. I am sure you have people who love you. 

 

This is a good place to lay out your thoughts if you want to. I'd love to 'hear' them. And i'm not going to judge. We're all doing the best we can.

 

Share more?

with every good wish for you,

jane

Report Inappropriate Content
0
Kudos
1385
Views
Bronze Conversationalist
0
Kudos
1443
Views

Re: Becoming an Elder Orphan

1,443 Views
Message 6 of 14

I thought I was reading my own story. lol.  I am a 62 year old divorced female with no children.  That is the biggest reason that I am divorced. It was my ex-spouses way or no way and I could no longer live like that because that did not include children.  He would not even discuss it when I approached him.  That's okay that is his loss and my gain.  He has since remarried but it was like he was trying to replace me because the new wife looks just like me when he left.  (I wonder how she would feel about that? lol.)   Both my parents and all my aunt and uncles are gone now, and my siblings are each more than 10 years my senior and we do not have much of a relationship.  It started out as I did not want to be around them because they did not treat me right.  Now one is so paranoid they do not want any one except our eldest sibling, their children, grand-children and current spouse around them. And the other one will go to visit the one closest in age to them but not me.  That's okay because I have decided that when they call me to help them when they get to the point they need more help than just their children to help, I am not going because of how bad they treated me.  I had to put someone down as emergency contact in case of an emergency but neither one thinks I should and act as though they will not be there for me if anything happens.  I am currently trying to figure out what I am going to have to do to make sure my last requests are carried out as I want and not the way someone else thinks it should be.  Since I have not remarried and do not have many real close friends any longer that live close by, I really do not know what I am going to do.  I figure all I can do is to live my life the best I can and accomplish what I can and not live my life with regrets.

Report Inappropriate Content
0
Kudos
1443
Views
AARP Expert
0
Kudos
1733
Views

Re: Becoming an Elder Orphan

1,733 Views
Message 7 of 14

Hey Deena, 

     Wow you are really on the ball! You are clearly working that marvelous brain of yours to figure out every angle and the best course of action. Excellent. That's what we all need to do, especially when brains are good but the body is not so good. More power to you!  

     this aarp discussion group on caregiving is really a godsend to so many. free and convenient: you put out a question or a challenge, and you get some great ideas over the next few days. 

     I do hope you can hook up more locally with supports and resources that sustain you. I'm very glad you have a good local friend, and the sister in FL. I live in very rural oregon, so rural that the health designation is called 'frontier'. My sister lives in urban philadelphia. She's my POA, but she's 2500 miles away. i have a local best friend and so i am good, as you are. and i'm still working although i can see retirement from here.

      so glad to know you, even just a little. Carry on and don't be a stranger!

 

Jane

Report Inappropriate Content
0
Kudos
1733
Views
Conversationalist
0
Kudos
1817
Views

Re: Becoming an Elder Orphan

1,817 Views
Message 8 of 14

Hi Jane! Thanks for your response, advice, and support. I've already been checking into some senior options through the Illinois Dept of Aging and some local community resources. I got a really good intro to this arena a few years ago for my mother, especially after she had back surgery then a stroke a year later.

 

Re my COPD - I haven't managed it as well as I should have because of insurance issues. I see a Nurse Practitioner about every 3-6 months when I need an extension for my BP or inhaler meds. She has referred me at least twice to a pulmo and a cardio specialist for tests. Long story short - at this point I'm just one month away from Medicare coverage/insurance so I'm biding my time.

 

As for a designated "proxy" - I have a half-sister in FL that I'm very close with. We've talked in the past and I already told her that I want her to take care of my affairs, and she agreed. Just a few weeks ago I was talking with a long-time local friend and she offered to be my Emergency Contact and would contact my FL sister if need be. I gave them each other's contact info. I've already filled out the Financial/Property POA form and working on the Health POA. Still need to snag someone to sign off as a witness. I want to donate my body for science/medical research but I don't meet the weight/BMI requirement.. I've already signed up for organ donation. Again, my thinking is very practical - when I expire, I don't need the body nor the organs anymore. If someone else can use them for research or to extend someone else's life, so be it! It's recycling at its best! But meanwhile, I'm very aware that I still need to at least maintain myself as best I can. I didn't foresee that I would not be able to get out and about like I used to, so I'm grappling with that. And I'm trying to do this "remote baby-sitting" of my mother while juggling my own chainsaws.

 

Thanks for listening/reading. It's good for me to know I'm not the only one! :-)

 

Cheers,

Deena

 

 

Report Inappropriate Content
0
Kudos
1817
Views
AARP Expert
1
Kudos
1861
Views

Re: Becoming an Elder Orphan

1,861 Views
Message 9 of 14

Hi CityGal, 

I hear you when you ask: "Still, there's this other large issue of being an Elder (Female) Orphan. What are WE supposed to do???"   There are some amazing resources on the AARP site which you've been directed to. You've been tenacious and creative about how to live your life now within your limitations with the aim of the best quality of life. Way to go. We all have to do that now and in the future. 

 

I have been a social worker a loooooooooong time, and i have a couple of thoughts. Always glad to hear what you've worked out, too. One idea: call up the area agency on aging that covers your area. There are services free to anyone 60 and over. You find your agency by putting in your zip code into www.eldercare.gov. Ask someone to pay a home visit, and pick their brains. South Chicago might have a program at some church somewhere that might be a perfect addition to your situation. You never know and it costs nothing to try. 

 

Another thought. I once worked on a project to inform people with COPD and i learned about pulmonary rehab. Dunno if your pulmonologist has mentioned it and maybe you're not eligible, but what the heck,again, worth asking. 

 

Given your 'orphan' status, I bet you've given thought to things like designating someone (one of your friends?) as health care power of attorney. And maybe you need to have someone have access to your finances, to pay bills if you are temporarily incapacitated. Someone to manage the practical issues if you're hospitalized with pneumonia, which is unfortunately more common for people with COPD. Of course you'd have to trust this person deeply. And if there's no one you can think of who'd be good at managing your money, then an attorney might be a good person to talk to. The health care proxy is another decision: who do you tell your wishes to, now, so they can advocate for you when you can't speak for yourself?

 

Some deep stuff here. 

 

What do you think?  One thing at a time, one step at a time...

 

Thank you for your candor. Love to hear more. We're all figuring this out together...

 

Jane

 

 

 

 

Report Inappropriate Content
1
Kudos
1861
Views
Highlighted
Community Concierge
1
Kudos
1889
Views

Re: Becoming an Elder Orphan

1,889 Views
Message 10 of 14

@citygal226wrote:

Oh how I hate it when I make that typo between "an" and "and"!!!

 

Yes, I did get approved for paratransit and looking forward to using it soon. It's cheaper than a Lyft ride to/from the doctor's office. I'll be getting my first Freshly delivery this coming Fri. My fellow senior friend has been very pleased with the meals, quality, and variety.

 

My sibling/sister and I were NEVER close, so I won't miss having her in my life. She is toxic. We've had problems before over the years. She is just someone I never liked, and never felt love for. Probably very strange for most people to understand. But it happens. No, I don't think a counselor/mediator would help at all. I think we will ONLY ever interact if we absolutely have to, to help our mother. Otherwise, I don't even want to be in the same room with her, and I have informed my mother of that.

 

As for volunteering - Until 2014, I was a big-time volunteer! In Chicago until I moved to Las Vegas in 2011, then in LV until my health started to decline and transportation became an issue. Now that I've moved back, I'm in the South burbs with no nearbyopportunities and I don't have the energy/stamina. I really miss the face-to-face interaction with people that I had as a "public contact" volunteer. I have considered virtual opportunities that I've seen on VolunteerMatch.com but just haven'tfollowed up.

 

American "Lunch" Association? That was HILARIOUS! Guess I'm not the only one who makes unintentional typos! Yes, I have signed up at the Am. LUNG Assoc. but forgot about them. I never get any email from them so I'm not sure it's an active group. But I'll visit them again soon. I've joined a few other COPD online support groups, too. It helps a lot to know there are Kindred Spirits out there.

 

Still, there's this other large issue of being an Elder (Female) Orphan. What are WE supposed to do???


CityGal226,

You are not alone, 1 in 5 Americans over the age of 65 are at risk of becoming an elder orphan. Here are some tips for planning ahead if you don't have a family caregiver. READ HERE.

 

And HERE's a thread within this community talking about elder orphans. 

 

Please keep in touch!

AARPJen
Caregiving Concierge
Report Inappropriate Content
1
Kudos
1889
Views