As many older adults prefer to age at home and in community, some may not have family or relatives living close by. Over a quarter of adults age 65 and older live alone in the U.S., and that percentage increases with age. While the older adult may have family who live nearby, many do not and may need to rely on friends or neighbors for assistance with various tasks to help them continue living at home. These tasks can range from companionship or grocery shopping to caring for them and taking them to medical appointments.
Keiro, with the support from community organizations and experts, came up with the resources below for tips to those who live alone, as well as those who may be a friend or neighbor helping older adults, and what they can as well as cannot do depending on their relation with them.
We also accompanied some of the community stories we have heard related to helping friends.
Stories in the Community Parts 1 & 2
We portray here two stories that actually happened in the community where a friend was helping a friend, or when such network wasn’t available.
Dwight and Brian
This story shows the importance of having your financial and legal documentation in order as well as being open to accepting help. Luckily for Brian, Dwight was willing and persistent enough to make sure his friend was properly cared for. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
Barbara and Ron
This is an extreme example of a situation where very few of the support system options seemed to work. While it is very common to have spouses support one another, it is important to think about others who could help as well. Thankfully, the social worker was able to keep an eye on Barbara and Ron, but there were limitations to what she could do. Experts in our community say complicated situations like this happen more frequently than we may realize. That is why it is so important to plan in advance as much as we can.
Thank you to Little Tokyo Service Center, Staci Toji, and Iyashi Care team for their assistance with these articles.