Are You a Solo Ager? Here Is How to Plan Ahead
Are you an older adult living on your own without a spouse, partner, or adult children nearby? If so, you are a solo ager—and, to put an ironic twist on it, you are not alone! In fact, in 2020 the Pew Research Center reported that of people over the age of 60, 27% in the U.S. and 28% in Europe were living alone.
“This is happening more and more,” said Dr. Marcio R. Soares, a geriatrician with the University of Miami Health System, in UMiami Health News. “It is a growing trend, and we are going to have more of them 10-20 years from now.”
Older adults may be living alone for a variety of reasons. They may have never married or had children. They may have outlived their spouse or partner. More older adults today are divorced. Solo agers who are part of the LGBTQ+ community may be concerned about facing discrimination in group living settings.
Whatever the reason or combination of reasons, solo agers are a growing part of the population, and they will need to tackle the same planning tasks that couples or people with family support do—living arrangements, receiving care, socializing, etc.—on their own. Here are a few important things solo agers need to think about and plan for.
Where To Live
Most older people these days—solo or not—express the desire to live at home in their community rather than live in an assisted living or care home. If you wish to live at home, you should prepare the home itself for aging in place. Working with an aging-in-place expert, examine areas of your home that might benefit from safety devices, better lighting and related updates, including:
- Closets and cabinets
- Stairs and steps
It’s good to caution older adults that even if the home is made safer for aging, it is important to think about a “plan B” in case illness or other circumstances demand a move to a care home. Do the research now about places you might want to live so you will have a plan if the time comes. Also prepare yourself by researching or making notes on local estate agents, estate sale/downsizing firms and the like.
Home and Health Care Needs
Thanks to the wide availability of professional in-home care services, many solo agers enjoy living at home even if they need help around the house, help with personal needs, or in-home health care.
In-home care services might include:
- Specialty care, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia care, hospice support, Parkinson’s care, diabetes care, and respite support for family carers who need a break.
- Companion care that helps with chores around the home, such as cooking nutritious meals, light housekeeping, shopping, and safety supervision, as well as companionship inside or outside the home.
- Personal care. Solo agers may find they need a little help with personal grooming, hygiene or getting out of bed.
- Nursing care, such as medication setup and administration, catheter care, and vital signs monitoring and reporting to physician. Some Right at Home locations offer nursing care, so you will need to check with your local Right at Home office to see if they provide it.
Many people who are part of a couple enjoy their own friendships as well as the connections they make as a couple, and solo agers, too, may have busy lives filled with friends and activities. As you age in place, will your local friends be around, or will they move away? Will you still be able to visit long-distance friends or relatives?
Many older adults enjoy care homes and residential housing because of the social connections and activities they provide. On the other hand, you may find that you can maintain the social life you desire without moving.
It is a good idea to think through your closest friends and anticipate any changes that may affect your ability to see them. Fortunately, community connections like centers for older adults, churches and gyms—while members may come and go—offer a stable presence in older adults’ lives.
Assistance With Planning
Elder law attorneys, financial planners, geriatric care managers and your local Right at Home Care Planner can help you do much of this planning.
Why Right at Home?
- Over 20 years of experience. Right at Home has been providing award winning customized senior care and home care for over 20 years.
- YOUR Caregivers are all part of YOUR Care Team. This means that there is no revolving door of Personal Support Workers and Nurses. With the help of your Care Planner, you choose and get to know them. This leads to an level of care for your loved one that is unsurpassed in our industry.
- Working with government support. Your Care Planner will work to help you find the government supports you are eligible for (if you would like them) and then work to find a solution for the care needs that go above what government and family can do. We will also work around the government care plan so that we are enhancing it.
We help in home, wherever home is to you.
Our Caregivers are always out in the community visiting homes, Retirement Residences, Long Term Care (LTC), hospices and hospitals.