Adoption: An Aging Population

Americans Are Living Longer

There are currently over 4 million American Seniors living in nursing homes (source: CDC), 50% of which have no friends or family to visit them. As life expectancies increase, Americans are living longer, often finding themselves in long-term care facilities. Whether it is a few months or a few years, this stretch of time without social interaction from friends and families and spending holidays alone can be very hard on a person’s well-being. Unfortunately, simply saying that seniors in America have it hard is not enough. Looking at the statistics, we see just how tough things really are.

  • Approximately 45% of older women age 75+ live alone (source: ACL.Gov)
  • 28% of noninstitutionalized older people live alone (9.3 Million Women and 4.5 Million Men) (source: ACL.Gov)
  • Hunger threatens 9.8 Million Elderly Adults (source: NCBI)
  • 21% of Americans age 65+ do not, or cannot drive, decreasing their ability to participate in community events (source: HCAOA)
  • 1 million homebound seniors are malnourished (source: PUBMED)
  • Elders suffer from a higher average rate of suicide (source: NCBI)

What is an Adopt A Senior program?

In response to this information, ‘Adopt A Senior’ programs have popped up around the United States. So, what is ‘Adopt a Senior’? These amazing programs focus on enhancing the life of, and increasing social interaction with, American senior citizens who may otherwise have no visitors. While each program differs slightly by location, getting involved is simple.

Ways to get involved include:

  • Donations
  • Pen Pal Programs
  • Personalized Gifts (Holidays, Birthdays, Anniversaries)
  • Events  
  • Becoming a caretaker
  • In-Person visits

Do I Have to Join a Program to be Involved?

You do not have to join an organization to ‘Adopt a Senior’. Approximately 7 million family, friends and neighbors provide care to people age 65+ who need assistance with daily activities (source: Caregiver.Org).  For individuals looking to make a difference in an elder’s life, we recommend starting in your community. Look at your neighbors, the older gentlemen at your local coffee shop, or the elderly woman sitting alone at church. Pay attention to these individuals who may benefit from assistance or simply a nice conversation and take the opportunity to be a friend.

Making a Difference

By Adopting a Senior, you are doing more than putting a smile on someone’s face, you have the opportunity to make a real difference in an individual’s life. By being there for elders in your community, you provide benefits that may have been lost due to age such as mobility, nutritional well-being or an increased mental state.

Getting Involved

If you are looking to get involved with your local seniors, the following programs are a great place to start. Click the links below to find out more.

Adopt a Senior Organization

Elder Helpers

National Council of Aging

AARP

Volunteer Match

Volunteers of America

Meals on Wheels

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