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There's a new trend among America's elderly class, and it's kind of depressing
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Solitude isn't only increasing among the young. According to a recent report by CBS News, roughly one-third of Americans ages 45 to 63 are single, leaving them increasingly vulnerable in their old age. - photo by JJ Feinauer
Americans seem to be falling in love with the single life.

According to a report from the Pew Research Center last year, the share of men and women in America who have never married has been steadily increasing since the 1980s.

But solitude isn't only increasing among the young. According to a recent report by CBS News, roughly one-third of Americans ages 45 to 63 are single, leaving them increasingly vulnerable in their old age.

"It's hard to age even when you have a good support system. So you can only imagine if you don't have anybody with you to help you," Dr. Maria Carney of North Shore-LIJ Health System told CBS News.

Carney calls this segment of the population "elder orphans." Much like their adolescent counterparts, they are left to navigate the world alone, even as their health declines.

As I reported last month, some doctors are worried that this trend of elderly solitude could contribute to difficulties in treating Alzheimer's disease.

And as the Deseret News' Lois Collins reported Wednesday, marriage rates have hit a new record low, which means "elder orphans" are probably just going to increase.

Collins also wrote about a new report from The Pew Research Center today, which compares the characteristics of aging populations in Italy and Germany to those of the United States. An increasingly large share of the United States, as Collins points out, is over the age of 65, and support for the elderly has weakened within family structures.

As the study points out,"in all three countries, financial help is more likely to flow down to adult children than up to aging parents."