The Stages of elderorphanism (Is that really a word?)

When we arrive on the planet, and probably for the next few decades, the thought of becoming an elderorphan likely never enters our minds.  We have parents, aunts, uncles and other relatives not to mention plenty of friends who we know that we could depend on if we needed them.  The majority of us possibly embrace the idea of parenthood at some day in the distant future.

Then come the middle years.  Perhaps our future elderorphans  enjoyed a lifestyle unrestrained by children and just kept putting it off.  Perhaps Mother Nature played a cruel joke on them and adoption would be their only path to a family, and perhaps they simply decided that they were not the parenting kind.  And life continued on as they enjoyed their time with their spouses, family and friends.

At some point though it may have begun to dawn on them that it might be a good idea to undertake some planning in case they managed to outlive those who were close to them and that they had designated if only in their minds as the people they could turn to for help and support if required someday.  But that time was still a long way off, and who could predict the changes that will confront them?  No need to hurry.  Things always sort themselves out!

As time marches on, the pressure slowly increases towards at thinking about the future.  The future elder orphans begin to study their wills.  Who will survive to be their executors?  Who will be the beneficiary of their estate?  But more importantly, who can they designate as their Power of Attorney for financial and other matters and for personal care?  Reflecting on their own acquaintances over the years, it becomes obvious that there were a few elder orphan friends, neighbours and relatives who navigated through this potential dilemma.   Some were happy and successful outcomes.  Some were sad and lonely.

Some elder orphans simply accept that the future is out of their hands and that there is little that they can do to influence the outcome.  Others decide to investigate some steps to ensure that they have the best chance of enjoying a happy ending.  The planners are probably still reading this.  Perhaps they will discover some ideas here that facilitate their quest for that goal.

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