Caregiver Blog | 08/30/22
Are You Aging Solo Too?
Many of us, whether by choice or due to life changes, are aging on our own. Recognizing that we are aging solo can help us take steps to make sure we are well prepared for our future and can continue living life the way we want to.
Some indicators that you might be aging solo are below:
- You aren’t married or don’t have a life partner
- You don’t have children
- Your relatives live far away or are estranged
- You’re living alone after the death of a loved one
As a solo ager myself, I found that building a network around me has provided a sense of security. My network includes friends, professionals, and organizations. I like living independently and the freedom to do what I choose when I choose. I don’t want that to change. But in case of emergency, I know whom to call and I take great comfort in knowing that my plans are clear.
Here’s a list of some of the things that have given me peace of mind:
I have advance directives and a will
In my advance directive, I chose the person I want to make health care decisions for me if I can’t make them for myself, either temporarily or permanently. It also specifies my health care wishes. My will ensures that my money and possessions will go where I want them to after I’m gone. Completing these took a little time, but it was easier than I thought it would be.
I live in a 55+ community
At 72 and in relatively good health, I don’t need any assistance right now. What I like about living in a community is there are activities, transportation options, and community spaces – and everything is accessible. If I need help in the future, I am already in a place that can accommodate me without making another move. I also have a small pet dog. When I am out of town my neighbor watches her, so I know she is in good hands.
I have a great primary care physician
Not as easy as it may seem, but I found a doctor I know I can talk to and who pays attention to me. He understands my life choices and situation. The hospital where he practices is a good one that includes most specialties.
I use technology
I have an app on my phone that makes shopping easy. Whether it’s groceries, take out, or home essentials, having things delivered to my door is great. I also have games I like to play on my phone. Sometimes I choose live options to play with another person, which makes me feel more connected.
I know my community
I’ve made it a priority to know what’s around me. This includes my local senior center, our Area Agency on Aging, and a list of county agencies and services. Even my church has volunteers who are willing to help when you need it.
I know my rights and my benefits
I spent some time learning about what I am entitled to through my health insurance and government programs. There is a lot out there and it can be a bit tricky to figure out. So far, I’ve been able to get discounts for healthy foods and even a housekeeping service once in a while. The more I know, the more help I can get. Often it’s at low or even no cost.
Aging solo takes initiative and planning. I’ve tried to be forward thinking and prepared. I can’t control everything, and it took time to get everything lined up. But I’m happy with what I’ve done to take care of myself and my own future.
The latest from Carallel
My sister needs a new doctor. Where do I start?
DEAR CARALLEL: My sister and I are all each other has. Our mother passed away when she was only 59 and since then it’s been the two of us (and our...
Industry Voices—Why the industry must address family caregiver burnout holistically
Caregivers need wraparound, specialized assistance—an expansion of their circle of care. We need to equip them with the skills to recognize their...
I don't want to deal with the holidays this year. What should I do?
DEAR CARALLEL: I’ve always loved the holidays. Maybe too much seeing as though my sister calls me the “female Clark Griswold”. But I don’t...