Solo Agers face a variety of challenges when growing older, but the top and most worrisome is “How do I compensate for not having adult children and other family members to look out for me, because I don’t want to count on good friends to help?
It’s a common remark and dilemma that adults voice during the speaking engagements I give to seniors and family caregivers.
It’s the same worry I encountered after taking care of my parents. After they died and thinking back how difficult it was to meet the demands as a caregiver, it occurred to me how lucky my parents were to have three loving daughters to look out for them. But I wondered, “Who will do all that for me when I need help?”
The older adult segment, 55 and over, aging alone with no help has risen from 17 million in 2020, and it’s expected to increase to 25 million in 2030. The 2010 U.S. Census found 27 percent of adults 65 and over to age alone. In the upcoming 2020 Census, it expects to see that number approach 31 percent or more.
Members in my Facebook group for those aging alone share similar concerns. Some find it very discouraging to create networks of friends or neighbors to help one another out for a period of time and then a key person moves to another part of the country for health, family, or financial reasons, leaving others in a lurch.
We must learn the steps that pull us closer to success. And for older adults, success is aging well and having a strong network of dependable and trustworthy people to help us out.
Here are trends that seniors are following to create support:
– Share your home by taking on a roommate. But be careful when picking a roommate. It’s not so important to connect emotionally or to share your feelings. It’s more important to share responsibilities and complement each other so that you can avoid constant conflict. Negotiate ahead of time not just the expenses, but also who will be responsible for what chores and other household responsibilities.
– Before you rent out a room, read these books, Every Landlord’s Legal Guide, and Sharing Housing: A Guidebook for Finding and Keeping Good Housemates. You can find them on Amazon.
I encourage you to start planning for the future. It’s never too late. But the sooner you do the better you’ll get at adjusting for the changes life throws your way.
Solo Aging Advocate and Advisor, founder, CarolMarak.com Check out her daily tips for healthy aging on the Solo and Smart YouTube channel. Her upcoming book, Solo and Smart, is due out in bookstores and Amazon in 2021.