Vulnerable Population and Self-Awareness Name: Institution: VULNERABLE POPULATION AND SELF-AWARENESS Losing a spouse can be a life changing and challenging event. The situation is worsened in the elderly that is, those aged from 65. Loneliness is common among this group since their social networks is already reduced, affecting their quality of life…
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This impairs their quality of life by decreasing their subjective health and increasing depressive symptoms. Loneliness among widows could lead to cognitive decline and increased need to use health services available to them. This paper applies criteria in selecting a vulnerable population, studying the population’s demographics and reflecting on personal attitudes and values towards that population. There are over 13.7 million widowed individuals in the United States, with over 11 million of this number being women (Jenkins, 2009). Female survivors have outdistanced the men by an increasingly widening margin with women now representative of eighty percent of the population of widows in the US. In 1940, there were approximately twice as many widows as there were widowers, with this ratio climbing to 4:1 and expected to continue rising in the future. Several factors can explain this disparity between the two sexes. First, women have a longer lifespan compared to men with women living into their advanced years more than men do. Second, most men will marry women who are younger than they are, which increases their probability of outliving their spouse. Thirdly, widowers tend to remarry more than their female counterparts do; therefore, men tend to leave widowhood more than women do. 65% of women aged 65 and above are widowed, which reflects their greater life expectancy (Jenkins, 2009). Widows also undergo longer periods of grieving accompanied by feelings of guilt and retrospection of a past relationship mistakes. Before the demographic research, my view of widows was one of grief and loneliness. It seemed me that they were, in too much grief, to reconsider marriage due to their attachment to their late husbands or even out of respect to their children and the memories that they held of their late father. It also seemed that widows complained all the time, especially when in public. This was especially so with elderly widows who came to social meets by themselves. I thought that they had no more reason to complain than widowers did, some of whom I knew personally to be very affable characters. However, after this demographic study, it is now clear that widows have very limited chances of remarrying. Despite their loneliness and want for companionship, by the time they get to 65, there are very few men available for re-marriage. The emotional loneliness that they experience is a subjective response to lack of intimate and close attachment. When they lose their husband, who was an intimate attachment, their identity becomes impaired since they have no one to foster a feeling of security, which leaves them in a state of isolation and aloneness. The demographic study also brought me closer to their social isolation. Whereas I thought they were socially isolated because of unending grief, it became clear that this was caused by lack of a social networks, or even dissatisfaction with their present social network. A lack of social integration makes them feel that they do not have friends. Social researchers feel that social isolation is can be measured by contacts and integration the widow has with the surrounding social environment (Owen, 2009). Healthcare professionals are in good positions of helping the elderly women suffering from loneliness, which in turn, leads to suffering from health problems. However,
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Vulnerable Population Name of Author Author’s Affiliation Author Note Author note with more information about affiliation, research grants, conflict of interest and how to contact Table of Contents Introduction ..... 3 Demographics ..... 3 Immigration Status & Occupation of South Asians …..
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