The host discussed at great length yesterday, and mentioned again today, this article in the Wall Street Journal:
Baby boomers are aging alone more than any generation in U.S. history, and the resulting loneliness is a looming public health threat. About one in 11 Americans age 50 and older lacks a spouse, partner or living child, census figures and other research show. That amounts to about eight million people in the U.S. without close kin, the main source of companionship in old age, and their share of the population is projected to grow.
The piece then goes on to describe the health effects of and some of the causes that have created this situation, but the piece is mostly anecdotal. Some of the causes are simply implicit in the situations – multiple divorces, outliving your support network – things like that. The host beat me to the punch in mentioning church as the place to find relationships and a support network. But many churches are not up to this kind of ministry. Most congregations are either dying away and therefore unable to support themselves, let alone someone new, or they are so focused on growth that a senior that will not drag along people with them is just a low priority. Churches in order to be attractive to the public often reflect, perhaps more than they should, the prevailing societal outlook about a lot of things. And therein lies the heart of this issue.