Some four of 10 elderly and frail Americans who need help to function daily receive no aid from family members, friends, or paid providers, a crisis expected to grow as the population of those over 65 nearly doubles by 2050, according to a new study.

A unique "Frailty Index" created by Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire, also found that the situation is even more helpless for unmarried men and women and those who live alone.

In the report released Tuesday, researchers said, "Many older adults need care but do not receive it. Often frail from chronic conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, or arthritis, some need help bathing, dressing, or eating, while others need help taking medications, shopping for groceries, or preparing food. Although many older adults receive help from children, spouses, neighbors, or paid home health care providers, others have few people to whom to turn in times of need."

Their numbers prove that out. Pulled from the report:

— Approximately 20 percent of women and 16 percent of men over age 65 are frail and have at least one limitation in meeting their daily needs—bathing, dressing, shopping for groceries, taking medications, or some other ADL or IADL. They need care from others, but many do not receive it.

— Among older U.S. adults who are frail and have at least one functional limitation, 36 percent (38 percent of men and 34 percent of women) receive no care from family members, friends, or paid providers.

— Unmarried men and women are more likely than married men and women to have an unmet need for care. In other words, marriage protects women and men as they move from middle age into old age. Unmarried older individuals who need care must rely on other family members or friends, and they often do not have strong enough ties. As women and men age, their ties to potential caregivers may weaken, and they can become socially isolated.

— Unmarried men are particularly vulnerable: 44 percent of unmarried men have an unmet need for care. Living alone is associated with even greater risks. Sixty-nine percent of older unmarried women and men live alone and, of these, nearly half of men and 36 percent of women have an unmet need for care.

The full report can be viewed here.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at