an elderly black woman knitting in front of a fireplace hung with christmas stockings because trying to find a stock photo of an elderly black woman is impossible

“Gains in life expectancy don’t mean living more years disease-free,” says Brown, noting that many now spend old age managing chronic diseases like dementia, cancer and heart conditions. Beyond not having kin to help, loneliness in itself is a threat: Stronger social relationships reduce the risk of mortality by 50 percent, research shows.

Black Americans face more lifetime stress than White Americans because of racial inequality, discrimination and segregation — stress that also strains relationships, says Debra Umberson, co-director of the Aging and Longevity Center at the University of Texas, Austin. They’re more likely to prematurely lose close family members, including children, Umberson notes. “Stress, family disruption, grief and loss, and incarceration can create new economic strains and interfere with one’s ability to work.”

Physicians must be made aware that older adults could lack people at home to monitor their health, experts say. Another solution could involve facilitating tailored one-on-one care that doesn’t require unpaid family caregivers or exorbitant costs — almost like a wedding planner, says Verdery. But half of older adults living alone had incomes below the “Elder Index” — a measure of the income required by those who are 65 or older to continue living independently — in 2019, according to AARP research.

Read more on Ozy.

This is an external article from our library

Everyone is talking about caregiving, but it can still be difficult to find meaningful information and real stories that go deep. We read (and listen to and watch and look at) the best content about caregiving and bring you a curated selection.

Have a great story about care work? Use our contact form to submit it to us so we can share it with the community!

Related Articles

I’m disabled. Please help me.

I’m disabled. Please help me.

Revolving doors at office towers might as well be called “blind-person milling machines.” Try finding the bottle of vitamins you want on a CVS shelf...

Popular categories

After Caregiving
Finding Meaning
Finding Support

Don't see what you're looking for? Search the library

Share your thoughts


Share your thoughts and experiences

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Join our communities

Whenever you want to talk, there’s always someone up in one of our Facebook communities.

These private Facebook groups are a space for support and encouragement — or getting it off your chest.

Join our newsletter

Thoughts on care work from Cori, our director, that hit your inbox each Monday morning (more-or-less).

There are no grand solutions, but there are countless little ways to make our lives better.

Share your insights

Caregivers have wisdom and experience to share. Researchers, product developers, and members of the media are eager to understand the nature of care work and make a difference.

We have a group specifically to connect you so we can bring about change.