7 Ways to Reach Elder Orphans With Your Dental Implant Marketing

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7 Ways to Reach Elder Orphans With Your Dental Implant Marketing

Dental implant marketing, like any marketing, is all about your audience. 

We need to understand our audience, we need to know how they think, and we need to truly try to serve them to the best of our ability.

And with dental implants, the 800-lb. gorilla audience is the senior citizen demographic. 

Three quick reasons for this (all of which you already know).

        1. The demographic is growing – The age distribution in the United States is changing. According to 2021 data, more than 55.8 million adults ages 65 and older live in the U.S., accounting for about 16.8% of the nation’s population. By 2040, that proportion is projected to grow to 22%.

        2. Seniors need the most implants. This is expected, but the sheer growth in this demographic makes this fact increasingly important.

        3. Seniors have the greatest amount of disposable income. Some estimates say they control 75% of the nation’s wealth.

Most of us know these facts already and can see evidence of them all around us in our communities.

But these are people that we are talking about, not just statistics. And here’s an important and often-overlooked fact about many of today’s seniors:

Seniors NEED Their Support System More Than Ever

Successful Dental implant marketing means reaching elder orphans.

Why is this the case? 

Here it is in a nutshell: Isolated seniors – now commonly known as elder orphans – are more common than they have ever been.

We talked about the emotional dangers of the edentulous (lacking teeth) condition in our blog Fight Deadly Social Isolation – With Dental Implant Marketing 

Let’s look more today at what an “elder orphan” is, why this condition is growing more common, and how you can use this information in your dental implant marketing.

Remember: The better you can understand your audience, the better your marketing to them will be. And the potential for marketing to the senior community is HUGE!

Elder Orphans Explained

Older man standing at the window looking out.

What is an elder orphan?

Elder orphan is a term that began to be used in the early 2010s and has gained greater popularity to describe older adults aging without the support and care of children, a spouse, or other close family members. 

Aging advocates, healthcare professionals, and social workers began to recognize the challenges that these older adults were facing and attempted to draw attention to their plight with this descriptive term.

The term highlights the vulnerability of this group because of their high risk of limited social connections, isolation, financial vulnerability, and difficulties navigating healthcare challenges.

How Prevalent Is This Problem?

Graph showing number of older Americans

        1. 27% of US adults aged 60 and over live alone, compared to only 13% of adults in the rest of the world. That’s 14.7 MILLION PEOPLE in the USA! Some of these people. Although some of these people live alone, they have a nearby.

family, church, or another support group. But it’s not that many, because…  

        2. 22% of Americans aged 65 and over are aging alone WITHOUT either family or a support system close to them.

        3. A majority of these elder orphans are women due to the fact that women live on average 5 years longer than men. 

        4. In the updated 2015 U.S. census, the percentage of older people living alone increased to 42.8 percent.

        5. Elder orphans are forced to rely on their support group, of which their healthcare professionals, including their dentists,                  play an increasingly important role.

As you can see, this is a growing demographic with growing needs.

Examples of the Sub-groups Within the Demographic

According to research and articles on “elder orphans”, everybody is at risk of becoming one. But the most at-risk subgroups are the following:

  •  Older adults who are isolated
  •  Older adults estranged from siblings and family
  •  Single older adults with no children
  •  Single older adults with estranged children
  •  Childless couples
  •  Married couples with estranged children
  •  Single older adults with no or limited social circles and support group
  •  Older women without support

What Is the Cause?

We need to recognize what has produced this vacuum of support for senior citizens in our communities.

Historically, the responsibility of caring for the aging fell on close family members. Adult children, or extended family in some cases, stepped forward to shoulder the burden. If all else failed, the community as a whole would come together to make some arrangements for elderly people who needed assistance during their sunset years.

Churches and religious organizations also played a large role in caring for their elderly parishioners in years gone by. 

In other words, although there were a few elder orphans, the number was small because, between family, church, and community, almost everyone was eventually adopted.

No longer.

Societal changes, including increased mobility, smaller family sizes, changing family structures, and decreased religiosity have led to many more senior citizens finding themselves aging without any of these traditional structures.

More and more Americans have chosen to avoid religious and community involvement, leading single and childless lives and focusing on their careers and personal goals, only to find themselves facing the question: “Who will care for me now that I am old?” 

As previously mentioned, it is a growing problem, thanks to the Baby Boomer generation (people born between 1946 and 1964). There were 76 million Boomers, by the way.

The elder orphan population increases each year as more Baby Boomers retire each year. From now until 2030, 10,000 Baby Boomers each day will hit retirement age, a huge number! Although some will continue to work either out of financial necessity or a desire for identity and self-worth, many will begin to collect Social Security checks and sign up for Medicare. 

These many aging Boomers can rely on willpower for a number of years yet, but the 22% aging without any family are keenly aware that their support structure needs to come from somewhere else. 

They see the medical establishment as a very important part of their futures.

Elder Orphans and Dental Implant Marketing

Older woman in dental chair with young male dental tech standing beside her.

Dentists, seeking implant patients need to be aware that they have the chance to fill, or perhaps already do fill, an even more important role in the lives of their senior citizen patients than in generations past. 

This role is forced on them due to the lack of family that many senior citizens now experience and it needs to be faced. It is so important to shoulder this burden with the good of our senior citizen patients firmly in mind.

Many people use this new vacuum unethically to their own advantage. 

Dentists must never dream of doing that of course, but they do need to recognize that their word probably will carry more weight, that their influence might be greater, and that they have the responsibility to help guide elderly patients to make choices such as implants, partly because they have no one else to help them.

We must rise selflessly to the challenge and truly seek to use this influence for the betterment of their lives, but it is not wrong to also help them to buy something that benefits us if it is what they need.

These vulnerable seniors need caring experts in their life more than ever before. Position yourself as that expert who can speak into the vacuum of seniors’ lives – the vacuum that family used to fill.

As a trusted counselor, you will experience the happy benefit of a full implant calendar!

So What Can Dentists Expect?

So what can dentists expect to see more and more frequently as the number of elder orphans increases?

  1. You will find your advice sought more frequently.
  2.  You will find your elderly patients’ needs for information greater than ever before in spite of the ready availability of advice on the Internet.
  3. You will find them more open to case studies of other patients due to their lack of relatives and friends from which to hear experiences.

How Can We Use This Information in Our Dental Implant Marketing?

7 Ways to Reach Elder Orphans With Your Dental Implant Marketing

We need to remember how important it is to know our audience and use our knowledge to help meet their needs. Here are 7 important ways to use this information in your dental implant marketing:

      1. Present your practice as a family of patients. This will appeal to seniors’ desire to belong and find a support group.

      2. Freely dispense information about dental implants and the options that seniors have with them.

      3. Present yourself as the expert on dental implants. Seniors are longing to hear from an expert.

      4. Let your marketing show that you genuinely care. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you                care, the saying goes, and it is true.

      5. Feature case studies to show them how much this has changed the lives of other patients.

      6. Be aware that many of your patients will be elderly women. They know that many caregivers would not hesitate to take                    advantage of them. Position yourself as a bulwark of trust and they will be loyal to your practice. And, above all else, DO                  NOT ABUSE THIS TRUST!

      7. Talk in your dental implant marketing about the fact that, in your practice, you take the time to LISTEN to your patients.                    Show interest in their lives and pursuits and you will both increase their loyalty and give them the chance to talk to a caring            human being, a chance many of them might seldom get. 

When it comes time to consider dental implants, don’t you think that these steps may make a difference?


Although every generation has its unique needs, it is probably safe to say that probably no generation has ever produced as many elder orphans as the Baby Boomers seem poised to produce. 

We need to recognize both the opportunities and the dangers and treat our senior citizen friends as we would want to be treated. 

And part of doing that is going to be helping them as much as we possibly can get the dental implant treatment that they need. 

And this starts with our dental implant marketing.

Dental Growth Partner for Maximum Impact

Would you like help reaching out to the many elder orphans in your community who need dental implants? 

Would you like to use your dental implant marketing to meet the unique needs of the aging Boomer generation?

Consider reaching out to Client Connection Group today. Our powerful educational advertising will reach the seniors in your community and position you as a caring expert!

Join the Client Connection Group community of satisfied dentists from coast to coast today

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