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Posted by Positive Aging Community on 05/26/2022

Understanding Solo Aging

Understanding Solo Aging

Solo aging is simply aging on your own. For most people, this means aging without a spouse, adult children, or other close relatives. Whether they are widowed, divorced, estranged, or never had a spouse or children, many solo agers find themselves in their 70s, 80s, and beyond without any immediate family members. 

Long misunderstood and misrepresented, solo aging is emerging as a desirable and increasingly popular way to age. Even for individuals who didn’t necessarily choose solo aging, it can be a positive phase of life with the right attitude and some advance planning.

Who is Solo Aging for?

Anyone and everyone who is over age 65 and living independently. Solo agers are making decisions on their own as they age. It is important to remember that solo aging is not just for individuals who have always been single. For instance, an older adult may become a solo ager when their spouse predeceases them. Even individuals with kids may become solo agers if their children live far away or if they are unable to be involved in aging decisions or caregiving.

Joy Loverde is a senior living expert and industry veteran, as well as the author of The Complete Eldercare Planner and Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old? She joined a recent Positive Aging Sourcebook Digital Discussion on solo aging. In the last decade, Joy’s focus has shifted from helping individuals care for their elderly loved ones to helping them plan for their own future. 

When should you start planning for solo aging?

Yesterday. Or today. Or as soon as possible. Planning for solo aging is much easier and far less stressful if it is done BEFORE a crisis. 

Especially if you realize that your circumstances will mean that you will become a solo ager, it is important to start as early as possible to plan for the future. This includes planning for your financial, emotional, and physical well being. 

Solo agers need to consider how they want to live and receive care (if necessary) as they get older. They should also give serious thought to whether they want to “age in place” or move to a senior living community of some type. Aging in place means that you will be living in your current neighborhood or live in another community that is not age restricted. There are also a wide variety of senior living communities—ranging from communities where residents are fully independent but enjoy amenities to properties that provide varying levels of care for residents as needed. 

How do you maintain and build connections and friendships as you age?

Joy explained that there are community organizations, events and clubs in every town and city—many designed specifically for older adults. 

With no shortage of places to meet people, you have to focus on not just meeting volumes of people, but on being a good friend and forming long-term, deep commitments. Friendships take time and perseverance, and there must be a balance of give and take. As a start, Joy recommends seeking out county and city groups for older adults run through Area Agencies on Aging. She also suggests a quick google search of “free activities” and your city or town’s name. 

What do you need to be a successful solo ager?

While the specific answer varies widely according to personal desires, the short answer is quite simple: a clear, actionable plan. Solo Aging has many facets including:

• Location – Decide where you will age. Do you plan to age in place in your current private residence or move to a different location or senior living community? 

• Accessibility – If you are aging in place, does your current residence need updates or modifications to accommodate your needs as you age?

• Finances – Do you have the financial means to see your plan through? Have you calculated your projected expenses? 

• Legal – Both financial and medical planning may require the assistance of a legal professional. You should at the very least have a power of attorney appointed to oversee your decisions and estate if you can longer do it. 

• Medical – Do you have any long-term health conditions you need to plan for? Do you have a strong family history of a certain condition? Have you appointed someone (friend, family, or attorney) as a medical power of attorney?

• Emotional – Do you have a social safety net? What can you do to create one? Do you have relationships with your neighbors or friends close by? 

For more information on solo aging, download the digital discussion at retirementlivingsourcebook.com. You can also find Joy Loverde’s books at www.elderindustry.com.

On-demand recordings of Solo Aging Discussions

Discussion with author of Solo and Smart, The Roadmap for a Supportive and Secure Future

Discussion with the author of Solo and Smart, The Roadmap for a Supportive and Secure Future, Carol Marak When author Carol Marak was helping to care for her aging parents, she got...

Posted by Positive Aging SourceBook on 04/21/2022


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Solo Aging Discussion with Joy Loverde, author of Who Will Take Care Of Me When I’m Old?

Joy Loverde has a reputation for being a path carver and visionary. Joy is the author of the "Who Will Take Care Of Me When I’m Old?" and "The Complete Eldercare Planner." The American...

Posted by Positive Aging SourceBook on 03/02/2022

proaging solo aging

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Live & Interactive Panel Discussion on Solo Aging

Studies show that 22 percent of Americans age 65+ are at risk for becoming “solo agers” or "elder orphans". Join us as we discuss challenges and brainstorm solutions on this important...

Posted by Positive Aging SourceBook on 02/02/2022


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The Legal Implications of Solo Aging

A live & interactive discussion that will dive into legal planning, challenges, and solutions for current and future solo agers! Co-hosted by Carol Marak, Author of Solo and Smart Featuring:...

Posted by Positive Aging SourceBook on 10/20/2021


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Solo Aging - Live and Interactive Discussion with Carol Marak - Author, Solo and Smart

Studies show that 22 percent of Americans age 65+ are at risk for becoming “solo agers” or "elder orphans". Carol Marak - Author, Solo and Smart A noted speaker on topics...

Posted by Positive Aging SourceBook on 08/26/2021

proaging money matters

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