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When I think about the word orphans it refers to children who do not have parents to care for them. The elder orphan’s terminology is all about seniors who do not have someone to be there when they are unable to take care of themselves. For the most part they are people who do not have a spouse, children or family members to rely on when they are in need of help.

The words "loving generous, respectful, courteous" are all but faint memories of a seniors past. Time and health are non renewable resources; when they are gone they are gone. No caring family to provide for the practical, financial, physical or emotional support.

The world is suffering from an epidemic of loneliness. To-day in Canada/ United States it is estimated that upwards of 40% of seniors suffer from some degree of isolation. After all we are social animals; feelings of neglect can take a grievous toll.

Lonely people have a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression and premature death.

Many elder orphans do not have a care giver who will be able to help them in their time of need. No friends or family members to help them cope with life’s many challenges.

I sadly remember, a middle -aged well- dressed man at the London airport at Christmas who was on his cell phone with his mother. " Sorry mom but we are on our way to Mexico and we will not be there to help you celebrate your 80th birthday"."We will try and call you when we come home in a couple of weeks."

The neighbours are not always your friends when they are needed to give a helping hand. The family doctors too often do not have the time; the emergency rooms in the local hospitals are filled to capacity with the elderly sadly stuck in the halls.

Many elderly women who are divorced/widowed are not secure about their financial future. Hard to find/ trust total strangers to manage your dwindling assets to fund your stay in an expensive nursing home.

We have four neighbors in Dorchester who think that they have solved the problems. Friends for life they have agreed to sell their homes and move into five plex. Every one would have their self- contained apartment and a unit would be set aside for a care giver to provide help when needed. Good nutritious meals to be enjoyed by all. If one of the group falls ill or passes on there is help from the group of friends. It is like unto a Israeli Kibbutz (collective) simple environment where the members take the time to care about each other’s welfare.

"Old age is not for sissies" What are your plans? Who will be there when you are in need?

Len Lesser is a resident of Dorchester, Ont.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com