Did you know 25% of Baby Boomers have no children? Based on the most recent census count, that translates to nearly 19 million Americans. Additionally, 33% of Americans aged 45-62 are single.
For these two groups of people, proactive planning for aging is even more important than for those with children and spouses or partners. Not knowing who will help with decision-making, care, or other important age-related concerns often leads to no planning at all. This situation effects so many more people than we might think.
If you or someone you know is in this position, a good piece of advice is to start looking to your social support network to create a group of trusted professionals. This should include a financial advisor, an elder law attorney, close friends (preferably who are younger), and nieces/nephews or other extended family members. It could also include an Aging Life Care Professional who can look at the big picture and be available for any care related needs. In addition, the Aging Life Care Professional can make sure your “team” is meeting your needs and acting in your best interest. Think of this person as the coach who manages your team. An Aging Life Care Professional can also help you create a Life Care Plan to make your wishes known well in advance of any medical crisis.
Another concern for Solo-Agers is the risk for exploitation or abuse due to their vulnerable position. Without a spouse/partner or adult children monitoring finances or decisions, many can fall prey to the wrong people or make poor/disastrous choices due to loneliness, fear, neglect or confusion.
Don’t let this happen to you or those you know. Be proactive by setting up a support system in advance.
by Joan Garbow, MSW, LCSW, CCM
Advanced Member of The Aging Life Care Association