Elder orphans a growing concern in North Dakota, where 1 out of 3 seniors live alone

May 6, 2017
The Bismarck Tribune (ND)

Elsie Brenkworth doesn’t like people telling her what to do. So when her daughter who lives in Maryland lined up someone to visit the 93-year-old weekly at her home here, Brenkworth resisted. Volunteer companion Mary McCormack, 64, admits it was a stumbling start for the two. “At first, she tried to get rid of me,” McCormack laughed, “so we did have some weeks when we didn’t get together.” Now, their friendship is humming along, with a two- to three-hour visit every Tuesday. “I do enjoy her, and I look forward to her coming,” Brenkworth said. Brenkworth is among a growing number of seniors in the state who live alone. In fact, North Dakota tops all states in the percentage of seniors living solo, a situation that for some means a day-to-day feeling of deep isolation.

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