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Posted by Positive Aging Community on 12/08/2022

Spotlight on a Solo Aging Support Group

A live and interactive discussion with the founders of a thriving Solo Living Support Group in Oregon. Meet members and leadership to learn how they created an open forum for solos to discuss relevant topics and to support each other.

The group is part of Viva Village - Viva Village expands and enhances the ways we can age well. We believe that a better experience of aging is possible when we can grow with and rely on each other. Viva Village is a member of the Portland area Villages NW Hub and Spoke Nonprofit Network. Villages NW provides administrative, development, human resource, and financial services to local Villages, as well as nonprofit status. 


Developing a Solo Aging Support Group Document Developing A Living Solo Group B.pdf

Questions Asked

  • I love the Village movement! Any advice on how to start this kind of group if there are no Villages in your area? Thanks.
  • Does the group meet on Zoom?
  • Thank you Steve, thanks to presenters, this is a great discussion a real gift to and for our lives, thank you so much...
  • We have a great LGBTQ workgroup at Village to Village Network.  We are looking for a speaker in January for solo aging and specifically, LGBTQ and solo aging.  High percentage of older adults that are LGBTQ and solo agers.
  • Is it possible to quickly review how this solo aging support group became organized?  How did you reach out to others to interest them in being part of your group?  Thank you
  • Barbara may I suggest Sherrill Wayland, SAGE Advocacy and Services for LGBT elders https://www.linkedin.com/in/sherrill-wayland/
  • I am part of the LGBTQA+ community and a founder of OSL; a virtual community kf LGBTQA+older adults.  We are interested in the village movement, trying to figure out how to figure out this when we are, at the most a Massachussetts group.  It would be great for us to talk.  Our platform is pretty interesting (and I’m not the tech person)
  • Some people have a large family but some solo agers say they feel solo in a crowd because family is a different and special kind  group, can you expand and talk about this concern, anyone can speak to this topic, thank you
  • Elizabeth Kubler Ross, grief and stages of grieving, how to draw boundaries in the group, yes Kubler Ross great body of work in work of grieving
  • Written Tips to start a solo support group & best practices you’ve discovered work best

Chat Transcript

12:09:05     From  Kathy Beck   to   Hosts and panelists : What is Viva Village?

12:09:21     From  E Bu : what village?

12:09:59     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : Viva Village is part of the village movement - a grassroots community to support aging in place https://vivavillage.clubexpress.com/

12:10:10     From  Barbara Sullivan : Hello Viva Village!   Excellent conversation!   Thank you for sharing.

12:10:30     From  John Doll : are there any men in this group:

12:11:41     From  TERESA TAM : I lead Solo Ager groups in Seattle through the Phinney Neighborhood Association’s Greenwood Senior Center. To date they’ve been online, so they’re appropriate for anyone living in WA state. If you’re interested, please contact me at  teresat@phinneycenter.org or 206.531.0061.

12:11:52     From  Anne S : Please mute your mic if you are talking in the background!!!!!

12:12:09     From  Jo Hewett : Are you a program or committee within your village?

12:12:23     From  Anne S : LOTS Of talking in the background!!!!!

12:12:41     From  Patricia Dubroof : Women take care of themselves!!

12:13:53     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : Essential Retirement Planning for Solo Agers: A Retirement and Aging Roadmap for Single and Childless Adults https://www.amazon.com/Essential-Retirement-Planning-Solo-Agers/dp/1633537684

12:14:19     From  Sara Geber : Hello everyone!


12:14:37     From  Donna Savage : Talking in background is distracting...

12:14:39     From  E Bu : I think we all understand the need. what we need is info ion how to set up

12:14:49     From  WENDL KORNFELD   to   Hosts and panelists : I facilitate a solo agers group in NYC, meeting monthly for eight years now. We do have men members but wish more would take advantage of what we have to offer.

12:14:54     From  E Bu : the group

12:17:24     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : Holidays as a solo

12:17:31     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : Travelling as a Solo

12:17:40     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : Advantages and Challenges

12:17:50     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : Tips and Suggestions as a Solo

12:18:01     From  Joe Sperling : Solo aging requires planning.  The need for support is universal and non-discriminatory.  Part of planning should be learning about and acquiring Long-Term Care coverage. Unless assets are unlimited, LTC insurance is vital to protecting what one has.  I am an independent insurance broker with over 30 years experience, and will be happy to provide guidance regarding coverage options.  I am Joe Sperling, phone 301-980-8869. Email: joe@joesperlinginsurance.com.    None of us are invincible.  Get protection before it is too late.

12:18:12     From  E Bu : interesting book: "Share the Care: How to organize a group to care for someone who is seriously ill"

12:19:06     From  Jo Hewett : How many members in Viva Village and number of solo agers?

12:19:08     From  Sara Geber   to   Hosts and panelists : I’d like to get a copy of this chat.  Can you send it to e afterward?

12:19:13     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : Share The Care: How to Organize a Group to Care for Someone Who Is Seriously Ill, https://a.co/d/diFvrN5

12:19:59     From  E Bu : could we get copies of the topics and the ground rules?

12:20:03     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community   to   Sara Geber and all panelists : yes chat it will be at the recording link

12:20:19     From  Sara Geber   to   Hosts and panelists : Thanks!

12:21:33     From  Barbara Sullivan : We have a LGBTQ workgroup at VTVN.  Can you address, if possible, the challenges for LGBTQ solo agers?

12:22:00     From  Joan Lewis : I'd love copies of the topics and ground rules.

12:22:32     From  E Bu : how did they find the other solo ages initially?

12:22:50     From  susan V. : love these ideas

12:24:19     From  Jessica Novello : Our Baltimore-based continuing care at home program has been meeting a lot of solo agers and we are looking to best support them- empowerment, socialization, and long term care planning. Continuing Care at Home can provide financial payments and care support that is preventive and proactive for a wide range of adults 60+ including solo agers. There are many programs on the East Coast. You can learn more about our program here: www.thewesleyathome.org This is such a great set of topics and much needed. Excited to learn and share!

12:25:24     From  Patricia Dubroof : Wow, this is a great program. Villages work well for non medical but it's amazing that folks are willing to help with personal care.

12:26:21     From  Patricia Dubroof : In my field of Home Care we work with many solo agers. The connection between caregiver and client becomes something very important.

12:26:25     From  Pat France : Are you familiar with NEXTDOOR?  It is nationwide and I have had success on many things with NEXTDOOR. Just suggestion to get a SOLO group together in your area.

12:27:51     From  Ann Sklar : I too would love to get copy of ground rules and topicsif possible.  Thanks.  Ann Sklar

12:27:52     From  Patricia Dubroof : I run a Death Café every month on zoom to help everyone talk about end of like issues. If you'd like to join, pdubroof@assistinghands.com and I'll send the zoom link.

12:29:37     From  Jo Hewett : I like the uplifting positive support concept.  For the newly solo entering the group does it ever move into the grief support arena which could be problematic.

12:30:51     From  Bob Lagoyda : Any thoughts about living/aging in place/community versus living/aging in congregate senior living for solo agers?

12:30:58     From  Renee Dunham : Where in Oregon is Viva Village located?  I realize that location is not essential for some of the benefits.  However, i have considered moving to Oregon where m son and family are located.

12:31:41     From  TERESA TAM : There is more information on the Seattle-based Solo Ager groups on the PNA website: https://www.phinneycenter.org/gsc/social-connection/

12:33:35     From  Nancy Ruffner : Wendl Kornfeld, NY

12:34:04     From  Barbara Sullivan : There was a great article in AARP by Sharon Jayson (featured Villages) on Solo aging.  Link is here;  https://bit.ly/3rEiDwB

12:35:30     From  alan dinsmore   to   Hosts and panelists : I am still looking for some reasons why men are not very much a part of this.

12:37:03     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : From WENDL KORNFELD to All Panelists 12:14 PM

I facilitate a solo agers group in NYC, meeting monthly for eight years now. We do have men members but wish more would take advantage of what we have to offer.

12:37:04     From  Kathy Beck   to   Hosts and panelists : How can we contact Wendl Kornfeld?

12:37:26     From  Patricia Dubroof : Making new friends is so important for a continued social portfolio!!

12:37:41     From  Charlene Neu   to   Hosts and panelists : What’s the best way to find out solo Aging groups in your area or if you are thinking about moving to a new location?

12:39:17     From  Nancy Karp : how do people with limited mobility deal with these challenges? I can walk but not all that well, so getting around is sometimes a challenge.

12:39:22     From  Anne S : Thank you for the effort to minimize the background noise!

12:39:43     From  Barbara Sullivan : Reach out to me if you are interested in speaking at our workgroup in January.  Barbara.sullivan@vtvnetwork.org

12:40:07     From  Renee Dunham   to   Hosts and panelists : In your Events Group, have you members who are not local?  I live in Washington DC but am considering moving to Corvallis Oregon where my son and his family live.  Where are you located in Oregon?

12:40:39     From  Margo Melnicove   to   Hosts and panelists : Steve, the background noise seems to come on when you speak, I don't hear background noise behind other speakers.

12:41:05     From  Sara Geber   to   Hosts and panelists : I consider married people without children to be Solo Agers. Most couples don’t know who will go first, but many are engaged in magical thinking that they will go on as a couple forever.

12:41:27     From  Joe Sperling : Just because someone has children and/or a spouse does not mean they are not solo-agers.  They may not be getting any support from family.

12:41:33     From  Bob Lagoyda : Aileen Montour, President of Pryde  Housing in Boston could be a speaker on LGBTQ+ solo agers:  https://www.lgbtqseniorhousing.org/team

12:42:56     From  Joy Loverde : Barbara may I suggest Sherrill Wayland, SAGE Advocacy and Services for LGBT elders https://www.linkedin.com/in/sherrill-wayland

12:43:18     From  Jessica Novello : Any specific groups or contacts in Baltimore, MD?  I work for a non-profit and we have low cost space in our Towson, MD office that we could use to host a group or provide information.

12:45:07     From  Sara Geber : I would hope that you DO talk about end of life planning.  That is one o the most important aspects of planning as a solo ager.

12:45:18     From  Kathryn Stratton : Steve, do a search “how to suppress background noise on Zoom”. You can learn steps to take to resolve your problem.

12:47:50     From  Patricia Dubroof : I'd be happy to facilitate a Death Café for your groups. pdubroof@assistinghands.com I can also speak on planning for home care options. 301-363-2587

12:48:00     From  Nancy Ruffner : The fact that there is a village structure from which the group emanates is a real boon. Somewhat bonded and that builds in safety. The steering panel is key.  It's been my observation that the Need is there, the Want is there, however everyone wants (me or) someone else to plan and run them (bandwidth problem for this working Patient Advocate). Seems sharing the planning and facilitation is the answer.

12:48:24     From  Barbara Sullivan : There is a workbook that was passed on to me by Terry Ann Black, Caring is not Enough.  Her email is caring.info@yahoo.com.  She is published and it is on Amazon.  There is also a LGBTQ version.

12:50:17     From  Barbara Sullivan : There are 17! Villages in Oregon.  You can find them at https://www.vtvnetwork.org

12:54:46     From  Donna Savage : Meaning not part of a couple., I assume.

12:56:05     From  Renee Dunham   to   Hosts and panelists : How do we as aging people keep younger people in our midst?  It is good for them and good for us!  There is a lot we can pass on to a younger population and they keep us connected to the present world!

12:56:19     From  E Bu : what is the book title?

12:57:04     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : Solo Agers: A Retirement and Aging Roadmap for Single and Childless Adults https://sarazeffgeber.com/

12:58:12     From  Barbara Sullivan : I agree!!! Thank you Sara for saying that about the article.

12:59:34     From  Steve Gurney - ProAging Community : Who Will Care for the Kinless https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/03/health/elderly-living-alone.html

13:01:33     From  E Bu : could we get a pdf of the rules and topics?

13:01:53     From  Gerry Lukos   to   Sara Geber and all panelists : Sara, I'd be willing to talk with you about what I have been doing to try to manage future care. I call it Dead or Daily.

13:02:22     From  Barbara Sullivan : Sara, we would welcome you to talk to our Villages also!

13:03:00     From  Patricia Dubroof : Thank you all!!

13:03:31     From  Sara Geber : Anyone who wants to contact me is welcome to do so.  Find me on LinkedIn or at LifeEncore.com


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