It’s a sad sight to see how more and more seniors are growing old alone, meaning they have no immediate relatives, especially offspring, to take care of them as they transition into later stages in life. Whether childless by choice or circumstances, these seniors are among a growing number of adults who have no children. AARP (2013) statistics show that 11.6% of elderly women ages 80 to 84 were childless in 2010. That percentage is projected to rise to 16% in 2030. Even if you chose not to have kids, you can’t help but think who will take care of you in your golden years. What if your spouse or significant other passes away before you do? What will happen if illness befalls you and you don’t have any family members nearby to help with chores and financial matters?
Strictly defined, “elder orphan” is a senior over age 65 who is single/widowed/divorced with no children and no nearby relatives who can support him when he becomes dependent upon others. If you find yourself in this situation now or perhaps in the next 30, 40 or 50 years, you can find visit https://awoc.org/ to check out Ageing without Children (AWOC), an organization founded to help seniors find resources in their local areas. There are many other resources, such as AARP, AgingCare.com, and National Council on Aging (NCOA) that will help you plan ahead for a better future.
The scriptures are full of promises that God is with you through all stages of your life:
“There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” Deuteronomy 1:31b
“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will carry you.” Isaiah 46:4
“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation.” Psalm 68:19 (emphasis added)
“In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old.” Isaiah 63:9 (emphasis added)
These scriptures speak to the personable, intimate nature of God. He is right there with you; He was there to see you when you came out of your mother’s womb, and as a father carries his son, God has carried you all the way from childhood to your present place, whether you acknowledge it or not. In some sense, we were born with a particular disposition, a set of health strengths or weaknesses and a personality. But for the most part, the way our life turned out was shaped by the choices we made. No matter how many regrets you may have, it’s never too late to turn to God and commit your soul to the One who cares the most about your well-being. I am completely amazed by the stories I hear of older adults whose physical health has turned around because they decided to trust in God. They were so close to death and had no one close by their side, but God sent some incredible people into their lives and they went from being unable to walk, confined to a hospital bed, to walking and even jogging and living a normal life – and all of this can be attributed to a resilient faith in God that never gave up on hope. In return, what can we do to thank God for all He has done?
“And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare your Strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come.” Psalm 71:18
May we look at the blessings in our lives and make it our mission to declare God’s goodness, not just to this generation but to all generations to come. Although we cannot repay God for all that He has done for us, the best gift we can give is share about God’s faithfulness and pass our stories of miracles to people around us. To God be the glory.
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