Our mission, and the mission of many who are championing TCP’s cause around the globe, is to ensure that everyone’s wishes for end of-life care are expressed and respected. Yet, one group is particularly at-risk of being left out, those without a loved one to have these crucial conversations with. Approximately 22% of those over 65 in the US are or are at-risk of becoming “orphan elders/solo agers”, those without a spouse or child, according to a 2016 study.
What can we do to make sure this vulnerable group is not left behind? How can we best support this group to ensure they are listened to and given opportunities to express their wishes for care through the end-of-life? And, how can we ensure they have someone to speak for them (health care agent/proxy) if they are unable make health care decisions for themselves? We offer up four steps.