Of the more than 2 million Americans who are over 90 approximately 7 percent have lost a child since 50. The number of seniors is growing every year. This means that each year more seniors will have to live with the loss of a child. A child who they always thought that they would outlive. With increased longevity the chances of outliving at least one of your children becomes more likely with each passing year.
Affect on Seniors
Little research has been done on how this affects seniors since this growing trend is rather recent. For those seniors who have only one child, the loss of their child means they will most likely be alone at a time in their lives when they will need their child the most. Many seniors rely on their children for caregiver support when they are elderly. Some seniors lose their children to sudden or violent deaths. Their adult child dies in a car accident or, more frequently now, due to a drug overdose. This type of death is particularly difficult for parents to handle. They wonder if they could have done something differently and the child’s death brings a trauma from which they are unlikely to recover.
Seniors who lose an adult child rarely get the support from others that they would have received if they were younger parents. For many, the loss of a child at any time is so unspeakable that it makes others uncomfortable bringing up the topic. Seniors are unable to have more children and if they’ve also lost their spouse they may be left with no one to be by their side as they grieve.
For the elderly, losing a child means working through the trauma and finding new reasons to keep on going. Family has always been everything for many senior citizens. Reaching out to others who have also lost an adult child has proved to provide the best answer. To read the full article on the loss of adult children and how others have coped, click here.