By Roz Jones
Aging alone is a growing trend, with an estimated one in five Americans over the age of 65 living by themselves. This means that more and more people are facing the challenges of aging without family or help from others. The good news is that with the right preparation and support, it’s possible to age alone without sacrificing quality of life. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about solo aging.
The Challenges of Solo Aging
Aging alone can come with its own unique set of challenges. These include loneliness, financial insecurity, inadequate housing, and lack of access to healthcare services. It can also be difficult for those who are aging alone to find meaningful social connections due to limited mobility or a lack of access to transportation. However, there are ways to mitigate these challenges and ensure that those who are aging alone remain safe, healthy, and comfortable.
One way to combat loneliness when aging alone is by making connections. This could mean joining a local senior center or engaging in activities that foster meaningful relationships such as volunteering or taking classes at a local college or university. It’s also important for those who are aging alone to reach out for help when they need it—whether it’s talking to friends or family members on the phone, hiring in-home care services, or seeking out medical assistance from trusted professionals if needed.
Ensuring Financial Security
Another challenge when solo aging is ensuring financial security over time. This includes making sure that one’s savings will last throughout retirement; setting up automatic payments for bills; and meeting regularly with a financial advisor to make sure all finances are in order for years ahead. Additionally, those who are aging alone should make sure their estate planning documents—such as wills and advance directives—are up-to-date so their wishes will be respected after they pass away.
Finally, it’s important for those who are aging alone to have access to resources that will keep them safe and provide them with necessary support throughout their golden years. This could mean hiring an in-home care provider; utilizing meal delivery services; finding transportation assistance; seeking out legal advice; taking part in programs offered through the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD); enrolling in Medicare; and/or joining community activities geared towards seniors such as book clubs or exercise classes. Taking advantage of resources like these can help make solo aging much easier and more enjoyable overall!
Solo aging can come with its own unique set of challenges but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming! With the right preparation and support network in place—including making connections with other seniors, ensuring financial security through proper planning measures, and accessing helpful resources—those who are aging alone can still enjoy healthy lives full of purposeful activity well into their golden years! If you know someone who is facing these challenges now or may face them in the future, encourage them to seek out assistance so they can thrive during this stage of life!
Do you need caregiving assistance and services in your state? Checkout AARP’s Family Caregiver Resource Guides created to help family caregivers access key programs, services, and agencies within their loved one’s community. Click or tap on a state to find tools and support for everything from health, legal and financial assistance to respite care!
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Are you trying to decide if you can provide care to your aging loved one and continue working your 9-5 job? Check out my latest podcast to learn how this is possible and why you should be transparent with your employer about your role as a caregiver!
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