Finances are the top concern for most women 55 and over. Last week, a research project by the National Council on Aging announced “unsurprising” data. The study names other worrisome factors like health care and prescription drug costs. The other two are being a burden to family and losing independence.
The Ipsos survey included 1,227 U.S. adults aged 60 and older on behalf of the National Council on Aging. The survey found health and finance-related issues to be worrisome.
While care giving, most women who help a loved one will risk losing their financial security because they quit or cut back on the hours at work. They forfeit contributing to their retirement funds and savings accounts.
In 2016, nearly 15 percent of women ages 40-44 had no children, up from 10% in 1976, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A 2013 report from AARP projects that by 2040, about 21 percent of the older, disabled population will be childless.
The number of childless older people in the UK is expected to double by 2030, putting huge pressure on a health and social care system that is already struggling to support the vulnerable, warned Kirsty Woodard, founder of the Aging Well Without Children.
If you’re in this situation, have you thought about how you will find help and support in the years ahead? It’s not just the child free individuals who think about it, so do the women with adult children living hundreds and even thousands of miles apart.
Ways to prepare:
– Identify a caregiver who could help if you became ill
– Have access to someone in case of emergency
– Find people to socialize with to avoid loneliness
– Mitigate your chances of developing chronic conditions
When you make a plan to tackle worries, then you’re less confused and uncertain about the future. The three strategies to get you moving in the right direction.
Identify and select one top concern you worry about. List the reasons for the needed change — the reasons that motivate you to want to change. Then, assess the factors of the issue, go deeper: If you want to avoid chronic illnesses, then stop smoking, stop using harmful amounts of alcohol, keep blood pressure in check, get active, lower cholesterol, eat a healthy diet, and keep blood glucose in normal range.
Or if you want a larger support system — what are you willing to do to increase that system of support? Are you willing to leave your house, join a Meetup group? What are you willing to invest to make this happen? No one will do it for you. It’s up to you to get going in the right direction.
Above all, shift your mindset from problem solving to a possibility focus. That can be done by asking questions that open your thinking to possibilities. Ask yourself: “Why does this issue exist?” And, “What might be an interesting new way to come at this challenge?”
Carol Marak is an aging advocate, Seniorcare.com. She earned a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Gerontology from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.