Our Aging Population
Life expectancy in the US is increasing, and it’s doing so dramatically. In 2011, a newborn baby could expect to live 79 years, up from 69 years in 1960. In 1900, a lifetime lasted only about 47 years.
Today, our odds of becoming centenarians are impressive. If you’re 55, you have a one-in-eight chance of seeing a 100th birthday. If you’re 20, your odds are about one in four.
Living Longer Isn’t Always Living Better
In years past, older people in the United States have relied on family to provide care and support.
Shifting family trends, such as marriage later in life, divorce and an increasingly mobile younger generation have changed the status quo. Many seniors often can’t rely on spouses, children and other family members for help.
65+: A Fast-Growing Demographic
The older population is growing-and it’s growing fast. The number of people 65 and older in the US is forecast to double in the next 40 years. And the older this group gets, the more likely they are to be living alone; even as they approach the age at which they may need help from others the most.
Organizations That Offer Help to Seniors
Thankfully, there are many organizations throughout the country that offer services to seniors. Often free of charge, these groups help those in need of assistance with day-to-day tasks or just a friendly face to check up on them.
One such organization is ElderHelp of San Diego. As a volunteer with ElderHelp, I’ve seen firsthand the difference we can make in the lives of seniors who may not have many people in their lives, or anyone at all, to support them.
ElderHelp offers great services such as rides to appointments and errands, help with personal care, grocery shopping, home repairs, yard work, and dog walking (my favorite) – to name just a few.
Often, our seniors just want a friendly visit or phone call to know that somebody cares about them. And the good news is that groups like ElderHelp exist all across the United States, ranging from local senior centers to far-reaching national organizations (see the map below to link to a few of the many nonprofits that are out there).
If you or a neighbor, friend or family member is having trouble going it alone, there are people that want to help. Or perhaps you want to lend a hand yourself. Get in touch and see what they can do for you… or what you can do for them.
Follow the links from the images above to access interactive visuals which you can download if you’d like. Also, if you have organizations in your area that you’d like us to add to our map, please respond in the comments section below.