The concept of solo aging sounds scary, but it is a harsh reality people have to live with. Not having a family, losing your partner, or having children living far away are a few reasons people find themselves alone during the later years of life.
According to statistics, 27% of adults ages 60 and older in the US live alone. That’s considerably higher than the average of 16% of adults in the 130 countries studied. As the population in the country ages, an increasing number of seniors end up navigating the challenges of aging alone.
However, if you are single, divorced, or without a family, nearing your golden years should not be a reason to worry. Timely planning and proactive strategies can help you maintain your dignity and live a fulfilling life over the years.
Here are a few realistic tips solo agers can rely on to overcome the impending challenges of growing old.
You may be strong and healthy today, but you will gradually need help and medical care. Research shows that 35% of persons aged 70 have mobility limitations, and a majority of people over 85 years suffer from these issues. Considering these numbers, you must plan for the future well in time.
Look for the options available at your location in the first place. Suppose you live in Burlington, Vermont. The state is among the ones with the fastest aging population in the country. Fortunately, solo agers can easily access in-home care services in Burlington. That means you need not spend your later years in a nursing home.
According to Always Best Care Senior Services, in-home care is ideal for people seeking the comfort of their living space during their later years. At the same time, they do not have to compromise medical care. Not to mention, solo agers can get the benefit of companionship to deal with their loneliness.
Besides ensuring long-term care needs, solo agers should prioritize financial planning for a secure future. Did you know that almost half of the American workforce lacks access to retirement planning? If you are in a job without an employer-sponsored plan, you should do your bit to create a financial cushion. It is even more critical for solo agers to have no external financial support.
Create a meticulous financial plan, covering your living expenses, housing, and healthcare. Also, list your preferences for end-of-life decisions and legal arrangements. You can seek advice from a financial advisor to effectively manage your savings, investments, and retirement funds. Check your long-term care insurance options. You may also consider downsizing to a smaller home at some point.
Lack of immediate support from a partner or family is perhaps the most significant challenge of solo aging. You may pay someone to help you with the physical needs of aging, but what about coping with loneliness? According to the CDC, loneliness and social isolation elevate the risk of chronic diseases. Proactively building a supportive network with other seniors, neighbors, and extended family is your best bet.
You can attend local events, volunteer for causes you care about, and join clubs or hobby groups to interact and network. Besides providing social interaction, these activities may help you establish meaningful connections. You may even find a like-minded partner to spend your life with, so do not hesitate to start a relationship.
Solo aging should not be about anxiety and depression. Cultivating a positive mindset can set you up for a healthy life even in your golden years. It builds your resilience, enabling you to overcome the challenges of aging alone. Here are a few tips to foster a positive mindset:
- Embrace life and make the best of what you have
- View everyday challenges as opportunities for growth
- Engage in activities that bring a sense of accomplishment and purpose
- Practice gratitude and focus on good things in life
- Surround yourself with positive influences
- Seek professional counseling if struggling with negative feelings
Adopting a healthy lifestyle is another factor that keeps you going, regardless of your age and companionship status. You can go the extra mile by adopting technology to stay connected and entertained.
Undoubtedly, solo aging is challenging, but it shouldn’t be a reason to give up on a fulfilling life during your golden years. Foreseeing your challenges and implementing strategies to overcome them can help you create a happy and meaningful life for yourself. You can find care and companionship from the most unexpected sources, provided you are open to embracing them.