Life as a Solo Senior

Lonely old man staring out of a windowBaby Boomers are known for many things, two of which will affect them as they age, namely they have the highest divorce rates and the highest rates of childless marriages.  Since many boomers don’t have a spouse or children, many will face aging issues without the help of family members or close friend.  In addition, many Boomers and Generation X’ers have never been married or had a companion and they too will face aging issues alone.

Even if you do not have a spouse or children, it is important to plan ahead. So, what should you do if you will be living the Golden Years without a spouse or companion?   Here are some tips:

Consider Where and How You Would Live

Are you healthy and have no mobility issues?  If you answered yes, then start researching where you would like live when you get older. It doesn’t have to be an assisted living facility. It can be a condo located closer to shopping and mass transit or a rancher in the suburbs closer to long-time friends. Making plans ahead of time will help shed light on potential problems before they come up.

Get Your Paperwork & Estate Plan in Order

Do you have an advance care directive? Are your bank and investment account numbers written down and easily accessible?  What about computer passwords?  Are they written down and located in an easy to access location?  Do you have a will?  If you answered no any of those questions, then you have work to do.  See an attorney about creating a will and estate plan. Don’t wait for an emergency. Gather your financial information, set up an estate plan and make sure others know where to find them.

Don’t Overlook Your Health

Modern lifespans can reach into the 80s, 90s and beyond.  If you want those years to be good ones, pay attention to your health.  We’ve heard it a million times, “…eat right, exercise and watch your weight.”  Doing those things will help to improve both quantity and quality of life, so that you can enjoy your Golden Years with fewer aches, pains and medical interventions.

Develop a Network of Like-Minded Individuals

While it can be difficult to make friends later in life, it is worthwhile to have a network of people you can depend on for different things. Look to your church or synagogue, your local senior center, the VA or online, for groups that fit your interests. Contact friends you haven’t heard seen in awhile and set up weekly dinners or activity outings. Your network can also include paid help. Maybe you can hire someone to take care of your lawn or to do housework, so that you can have more time to do other activities. Doing these things will help you to identify who to reach out to and who not to reach out to in an emergency.

While the proliferation of solo seniorhood is relatively new, it will continue to grow as Baby Boomers and Generation Xers age.  Stay tuned for further developments.

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