It is easy to burn out when you are responsible for providing full-time care to an aging or disabled loved one.
According to research, 27% of American adults live alone or are aging alone, whether by choice or unforeseen circumstances. These statistics are expected to increase as societal norms evolve and different ways of living are embraced. Being single is no longer stigmatized, and more adults are choosing solo aging.
What is Solo Aging?
Simply put, solo aging is aging by yourself. For many, it means they are aging without a spouse, children, or other close relatives. People may find themselves in a solo aging situation due to being widowed, divorced, or estranged, or they may choose solo aging as a lifestyle.
Over the years, solo aging has been largely misunderstood and misrepresented. However, it is now growing in popularity and even a desirable way to age. Even for those who did not choose solo aging, it can be a very positive way to live.
Tips for Positive Solo Aging
- Build a community. Meaningful relationships directly affect how happy and connected a person feels. Whether extroverted or introverted, friendships and human connection are critical for health and well-being. Companionship is important not just for the social aspect but also practicality. Being part of a community allows you to connect with others you can rely on for help when needed.
- Live healthily. Living healthy may be a no-brainer. However, it may be the hardest to commit to regularly. Routine exercise, healthy eating, and keeping your mind sharp will encourage your ability to live independently and significantly enhance your quality of life. Keeping your cognitive and physical function at an optimal level can minimize many of the concerns that come with aging alone.
- Carefully think about where you will live. Living arrangements are generally the most significant financial and social factor to consider. Single individuals have the flexibility that many do not, which allows them many different options. You may like the thought of aging in place. However, considering the community and resources you have available is essential. You may want to consider seeking a roommate, as it can positively affect your finances and provide companionship. Retirement or senior communities also offer a sense of family, support, and access to resources as you age.
- Ensure legal matters are in order. Those who age solo do not have a spouse or an adult child they can rely on to make decisions in the event of their death or serious illness. Ensuring that your assets and wishes are legally protected is crucial if you plan to age independently. Meet with an estate planning attorney to ensure all legal documents and matters are properly executed. These may include a living will, advanced directives, powers of attorney, trusts, and other matters your attorney deems important. Regularly evaluate and update any legal documents.
- Plan ahead. Compared to a retired couple, it’s even more critical for a single retiree to create a detailed and personalized retirement plan. Earlier planning is best, as there might be a time when you can’t take care of yourself or make your own decisions. Look into different long-term care options and consider what is ideal for you. Additionally, research professional caregivers and local assisted living communities. Additionally, speaking with a professional about financial planning for any unforeseen events that may occur as you age is also wise.
Successful Solo Aging
Aging solo allows you complete control of how you live out your retirement, as you are not legally bound to anyone else. With a positive outlook, a little mindfulness, and proper planning, solo aging can be an extremely gratifying way to live out your retirement. Elder law attorneys are an invaluable resource as you prepare for solo aging. Our experts are happy to help as you plan for the years ahead. If you have questions or would like to discuss your personal legal matters, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (321) 729-0087.