<![CDATA[Carol Marak - Blog]]>Fri, 30 Apr 2021 18:39:24 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[What Will I Learn in the Group Coaching?]]>Tue, 27 Apr 2021 16:42:24 GMThttp://carolmarak.com/blog/what-will-i-learn-in-the-group-coaching Picture


Do you spend time wondering about the future years and how the aging concerns like independence and safety will play out for you? Even questions like will my money last and who will look out for me are big dilemmas if you haven't planned for them.

I’ve been in senior care since 2006, and it still surprises me that so much emphasis is put on finances when planning for retirement.  I’m not saying money isn’t important at every stage, but after helping my parents with their care and speaking with many older adults about the aging complexities, it would make more sense for people to take a wider-spread approach instead.   

Caregiving Offers Knowledge


Have you ever been a caregiver? What was it like for you? Did the role and its tasks convince you that taking a holistic approach to your own senior years would better serve you? It doesn’t matter if you’re living alone or not, the entire process of creating a secure and certain future is loaded with obstacles and setbacks. 
I believe each of us know what contributes to living well. Even though you may have a sense of what’s important, do you know how to assess where you are right now and what needs remedy, or at least your attention?

Do you know what aspects of aging requires evaluation? Once you learn what needs evaluating, do you know how to measure for satisfaction and confidence?

That’s what the group content is about: The contributing factors for aging well. You’ll learn them, how to assess them as they relate to your life, and then, what to do about them to ensure an independent and safe future.  

You have gained a sense about the aging-related issues by helping an older relative or spouse.  The act has positioned you to evaluate and rate your own years ahead.  

Assess Your Aging Domains


Life revolves around ten domain factors that contribute to wellness: health and fitness, home and where it’s located, friends and connections, activities for engagement, self-growth, spiritual contentment, having support, finding purpose, money to sustain, and to be mobile.

Which one(s) make you feel confident or apprehensive? Do you know how each measures in satisfaction and security? Have you ever considered rating the life's domains? What questions do you ask to assess each one? If you did assess them, do many fall short or are you poised well in all ten? Do you want to know or would you prefer not knowing? Do you want your life to change?

If you were given a process that guides you through a self-appraising strategy, would you do the work and learn as much as possible? 


Ask yourself.. Do I want something to change? Perhaps it’s having better health, more friends, finding a purpose, or having more money? Are you at a point to commit to making changes that will improve life in 1, 2, 5 years from now? 

If you are ready to commit, then let’s get started! Making that decision puts you halfway there. Just know nothing can change if you don’t identify how well you rate where you are right now and start to address them. The first step--understand what is not working and what is working well.

Once you self-appraise each area of the top aging issues, you’ll give it a value on the scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being a “difficulty or complete dilemma” and 10 is “wow, this feels good.”

When evaluating for confidence, be completely honest with yourself and give an accurate value that adequately represents your level of satisfaction with each aspect, the barriers that impede wellbeing and the things that you worry about most.

Gain Clarity about the Risks

Knowing the potential risks equips you with clarity, knowledge of what’s ahead, and to prepare. Once recognized you get an immediate sense of relief knowing what’s in store. It’s the 'not knowing' that heightens worry and stress. Remember, when in a state of tension and unease, the brain reverts to distractions and absent-mindedness which hinders the ability to organize thoughts for preparation.

Planning requires self-control, mental effort, and willpower. 

Single adults' biggest concerns when living alone without the help of nearby family can be mitigated and remedied. The tools you are given in the Solo Aging Master Group Coaching helps you prioritize the concerns and to set the trajectory for living a more confident, fulfilling, and secure tomorrow.

The solo lifestyle assessment guides you through a roadmap that personalizes a plan just for you. It inspires action with personally relevant content and simple action steps you can make every day that ensures a healthy, socially connected, supportive, affordable, and purposeful lifestyle.

Learn to Mitigate the Top Issues of Aging
  1. Having little to no support and engagement
  2. Declining health and fitness
  3. Running out of money
  4. Losing the ability to live at home
  5. Death of a spouse or other family member
  6. Inability to manage your own activities of daily living
  7. Immobility--inability to drive
  8. Isolation and loneliness
  9. Strangers caring for them
  10. Fear of losing independence
Do you have a plan for these top ten concerns?  If not, join the Solo Aging Master Group Coaching series to get a good tight grip on each of them.  

YES! I NEED TO JOIN THE SOLO AGING MASTER GROUP COACHING SERIES
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<![CDATA[What is the Solo Aging Group Coaching About?]]>Tue, 20 Apr 2021 19:19:33 GMThttp://carolmarak.com/blog/what-is-the-solo-aging-group-coaching-about
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​What is the solo aging group coaching about?  What kind of topics and content does the group discuss?  These questions about the group coaching come across my email almost everyday.  Here's what the content is all about and the topics we talk about in a group setting.

Before I start, let me ask you a question.  "First look at the image above and answer, 
Which side of the aging perception wheel do you resonate with?"

What's your angle on aging?


Each person no matter the age or circumstance has personal perceptions about growing older and not many of them look forward to it because in most cases, aging  is looked upon as decline, isolating, depressing, complicated and uncertain. These negative notions about the older years are damaging to a person’s sense of self and physical health. Dreading the act of growing older can have enabling and constraining effects on the actions, performance, decisions, attitudes, and health of a person. These labels play a powerful role in shaping how we think about and interact with others, as well as how individuals within the stereotyped group see themselves.

That's a depressing way to look at the future.  People in general have a tendency to focus on the fears of  being lonely and alone, losing loved ones, losing the ability to do enjoyable things, losing the ability to drive and get around, having fear of dependence, feeling insecure, being isolated and left alone. But adopting positive aging perceptions can have the opposite effect on our attitudes and health behavior which can affect our attitudes to embrace personal empowerment principles. 

Where does your perception on aging land?

When thinking about the years ahead, do you feel discouraged or hopeful? Do you feel depressed or invigorated? Are you honest with yourself and willing to tell the truth about how you feel about the advanced years? If you lean to the left where the feelings and thoughts are bleak, perhaps reading stories of vibrant adults will shift that thinking. If you’re inspired and feel confident about the future and how well you’ve prepared, kudos to you.


Whether on the left or right, or somewhere in between, know that you’re exactly where you need to be. Either way, the future will come. However, if you want to grab on to hope and vibrancy for the later years, there are strategies to embrace and apply for a better future. 

The Solo Aging Master Group Coaching may be just for you. It’s designed to encourage participants to plan for the future by using the group’s energy and knowledge. By design, the energy and support one receives will assist to shift the mindset--from challenging and problematic to motivation and resolve. 

The benefits of group learning


Collaborating with peers who want a more secure, connected, and supportive life will influence you. Individual decision making and possibility thinking will be impacted and enhanced more by the presence of others. Few personal thoughts, decisions and actions are made in isolation—they are influenced by those around us. That's why learning in a group setting is appealing and beneficial.

Group learning promotes the inner strengths of each member and helps them exploit opportunities for personal growth. The Solo Aging Master Group Coaching provides an outlet for members to overcome their stress and frustrations by providing them friendship, collaboration and support.

Together with the group members, you have the opportunity to plan for and mitigate your own concerns that could put you at risk in the future. Those include: Health, social connections, reliable support, finding purpose, and living in a place where it's safe and encourages independence. If you want to be confident in your mid-life and older, and to avoid uncertainty and doubt, it behooves you to identify, assess, and plan for the potential obstacles that could get in the way of enjoying life down the road. 

Gain know-how about aging alone

My guided action steps taught in a group setting give participants the know-how and confidence to create a life you want to live. The tools given in the group will equip participants; widowed, single or divorced, to tackle tough issues like finding a health care proxy, forming a personal care support team, gain self-reliance, find affordable living, outlast money, make strong connections where you live, stay engaged and active, and to learn local resources to help you age well. These are the hectic issues solo agers face when they live apart from family members or have none at all.

If you resonate with the question, "Who will take care of me when I'm old," then the group is for you. If you’re inclined to worry about:


  1. Loss of independence
  2. Declining health
  3. Running out of money
  4. Not being able to live at home
  5. Death of a spouse or other family member
  6. Inability to manage your own activities of daily living
  7. Not able to drive
  8. Isolation or loneliness
  9. Strangers caring for you
  10. Fear of falling or getting hurt
And most of  all.. "Who can I rely on if I get sick or need help?" Then the group is for you. It's the the single person's biggest concern when living alone.

Group discussions answer 
 
  • "As I grow older, my health may begin to decline—How do I know the probability of my health years from now?"
  • "How do I create a sense of being cared about and cared for—like the kind most family members have for one another?"
  • "Who will watch out for me to make sure my needs are met and who will meet my basic needs for companionship, friendship, and community?"
  • "How can I know that money will outlast me?"
  • "Is the place I live affordable and can I keep up with the maintenance and will my monthly budget keep up with all of the expenses?"  
  • "What are my options?"
  • "Does my community offer help?" 
  • "Is there a process to follow that guides me through aging well or planning for the long term?"

JOIN THE SOLO AGING MASTER GROUP COACHING
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<![CDATA[Evaluate Your Solo Aging Outlook]]>Wed, 14 Apr 2021 13:09:51 GMThttp://carolmarak.com/blog/evaluate-your-solo-aging-outlook
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How do the upcoming years look for you? Are you on the path for a healthy, well connected, and secure future? Have you prepared well for the senior years? A question I ask single adults and even seniors constantly.  Few reply affirmatively.  What's your answer?  Have you considered how the future years will play out? Are you positive about the solo aging plan you've put in place? Or does the thought make you pull the covers over your head?   

Nothing gives you more reassurance about the advanced years than having a plan to rely on. But a plan without doing a full evaluation of where one currently stands is futile. That's like filling a flat tire with air before taking the nail out and mending the rip. 

Growing Trend of Single Seniors 


Over 30 percent of adults 55 and older are aging alone.  AARP reports the largest American household to be single people 18 years and older.  The nuclear family has fallen to second. While many people still have a partner, a large number are childless or far away from their children.  Solo aging doesn’t necessarily mean single! And solo living doesn’t have to mean loneliness, isolated, fearful and alone. 

Evaluating where you are in the lifestyle you lead is the wise thing to do. As it stands today, forecasting one's future is a crap shoot and many times you miss the mark. Why? Because people have not been trained to fully assess life's domains. Seriously. How many people have gone to psychotherapy? Mental Health America claims the number of people looking for help with anxiety and depression has skyrocketed. From January to September 2020 315,220 took the anxiety screen, 93 percent increase over 2019.  534,784 took the depression screen, 62 percent over the 2019 screens.  Kind of low since we were experiencing total confusion in 2020. 

Seems a pandemic that throws people into isolation and loneliness would have placed more individuals in psychotherapy. Wouldn't you agree? Makes for a good debate about the reasons why more aren't concerned about their well being. Have we adopted a deep-seated "status quo" attitude? A better and more effective action plan to adopt; when you awaken to the reality, you won't tolerate anything less than truth, vision, and action. 

"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to their graves with the song still in them."  Henry David Thoreau 


Aging Alone Concerns are Critical

To design a roadmap that personalizes your strategy for living alone will require inspired action with relevant content that's personal to you. The roadmap should embrace simple action steps that you can make each day. You will target those steps to address health, a socially connected, supported, affordable, and a purposeful life. 

Single adults' biggest concerns when living alone without the help of nearby family can be mitigated and remedied. It's possible to create a safe, secure, and independent life. It starts with honestly–
when addressing the life domains or top concerns and the level of satisfaction with each.  Nothing can change if you don’t identify how well you rate them.

Snapshot of the Level of Satisfaction 

Step 1
--understand what is not working and what is working well.

Step 2—thoroughly evaluate each domain using a set of questions and answer honestly. 
Step 3—after rating each of the domains, connect the lines to form an inner wheel, using the diagram above. This gives you an overview of the level of your satisfaction. For an example, years ago when completing this exercise, mine looked like a crooked wheel. 
Step 4—ask, "in what ways do I want to change the shape of the inner wheel." Which domains draw your attention?
Step 5—once an area is selected, proceed with the following questions:
  • Why does this domain need attention?
  • What would it take to raise your satisfaction by one score in this domain?
  • What else can you do to raise your satisfaction in this domain? 
  • How will you maintain the motivation to follow through with needed changes?

Growing Older Alone Lessons 

If there was one lesson I learned from the family caregiving years and knowing that I will age alone: if I make internal changes and take actions today and most days to move me closer to good health, social engagement, better finances, affordable housing, and more, then why waste my time on worry and regret? If I don't put energy into making a more secure life in some fashion, then my future will be filled with complacency and resignation. I hope I deserve more. 

As mentioned in the article, Solo Aging Group Support for Adults, to live a healthy life as a single senior, it takes an expansive social network of friends, enhanced health care and retirement planning for solo living options, having purpose, knowledge of one's health risks and reducing them, and creating a support community.


Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers have the highest need for retirement planning especially for those living solo since they have the highest divorce rates, fewest number of children, and continue to care for parents. Many are primed to become a solo ager. Boomers typically do not have a large retirement savings however, others factors must be planned for to plan well when no family member is around to help. 

Planning for Solo Agers


If this exercise has inspired you to take action, then you're primed for The Solo Aging Master Group Coaching. The group is ongoing for as long as you choose. You can opt out any time but I doubt you will want to (because that's how insightful the information is for members.)  The exercises for the solo aging group coaching is based on my upcoming book, SOLO and SMART, out in 2022 or earlier.

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<![CDATA[Tactics for Aging Well when Living Alone]]>Fri, 09 Apr 2021 19:51:55 GMThttp://carolmarak.com/blog/tactics-for-aging-well-when-living-alone
The age of individualism has set Baby Boomers in the direction of changing aging—for the better.  Many of those born between 1946 and 1964 are more than half way through the life continuum and flourishing solo. 

The numbers of solo seniors continue to rise. An AARP Public Policy Institute Report expects the number of women ages 80 to 84 without biological children will increase from nearly 12% in 2010 to 16% in 2030 and to almost 19% in 2050. According to the US Census 2020, 31 percent of the 65 and older live alone. Furthermore, the number of never married Americans is growing from 9 percent in 1970 to 35 percent of the 25 to 50 age group.  And the largest American household, 28 percent, consists of single adults—passing the nuclear family by 8 percent. 

Solo Agers are Changing Aging 

An elder care professional, Kelly, who is aging alone, prefers to rely on herself rather than institutions and even friends and acquaintances for help. Solos of this generation have spent their adult life funding their own mortgages, college funds, retirement accounts, paying for their parents’ care and getting themselves to the airport, shopping, paying bills—all on one paycheck. We’re very independent—and we’re electing to limit the involvement of family and friends when support is needed, or not to involve them at all. These solo agers prefer to self manage the aging challenges when it comes to planning for the long term.

Most of us were family caregivers—we helped our relatives to coordinate care and served as healthcare and financial agents. We managed their care and observed first hand what it’s like to grow old. Family caregiving showed many of us what we will need to age well. But for solo agers, there are no family members to oversee our care. While few rely on a close friend many more cannot. Friends are in the same age group and dealing with their own health and care issues. More significantly, friends are not willing to take on the responsibility of making health decisions for someone who is not family or even to take on the responsibilities of caring for someone else.

Multi-Person Approach for Care

Like Kelly, the self reliant and independent type of solo ager will turn to a multi-person strategy—a team of support made up of friends and acquaintances to be advisors and helpers, though not necessarily “deciders or be the primary responsible contact.” Others piece together a collection of volunteers and paid professionals. Still other solos, with adequate resources, are seeking out paid professionals to meet all needs, from home care to health decision surrogates. And, unfortunately, there are far too many solos doing nothing—no planning—assuming “there is still time” or “the system” will take care of things. This strategy will put more pressure on the already overburdened public “safety net.” It’s the reason to consider joining my Solo Aging Master Group Coaching—we tackle such issues head on.

Paid Care Managers and Patient Advocates

Older adults aging alone who have the resources to pay out of pocket for assistance can hire care managers, banks and trust officers, physicians, attorneys, social service providers, gerontology professionals, and even move to a senior housing community. 

If you’re a young boomer new to the idea of planning ahead, consider hiring a patient advocate to assist with finding a new doctor, or just want someone to check in on you. Patient advocates are a wonderful resource if you’re confused about the medications and concerned about allergic reactions, or if you need help searching and selecting a specialist, need help navigating the clinical trial landscape, or need help securing financial resources for treatments. 

The 60+ solos are very familiar and comfortable using paid expertise than older adults of the past generations. The young seniors paid for elder care for parents and daycare for children. Since COVID, boomers pay people to deliver their groceries, and pay professionals to manage their money and make a career transition. 

Build a Family of Choice

Solo seniors navigate multiple challenges when living alone but the most worrisome one is, “How do I compensate for not having adult children and other family members to look out for me, because counting on good friends is not what I want to do.”  It’s a common remark and dilemma that I hear most often during my speaking engagements to seniors and family caregivers. It was the same worry I had after taking care of my parents. 

According to the CDC 70 percent of older adults have at least one chronic disease and that puts them at even higher risk when aging alone with no support at home. Both safety and independence are threatened. With the high prevalence of solo individuals and the clear risks associated, it is crucial that adults plan for the years ahead, create support and connections, and learn the available resources.

To be crystal clear, a community of support does not mean expecting your neighbor or friend to be the go to person for your care needs; a ride to the doctor’s office, shopping, meal preparation, cleaning, running errands, etc. Instead, a community of support is your reliable circle of neighbors and friends who simply have your back. The person that makes you feel, “Ah, I’m not alone, there is someone who cares.”   

The Go to Support Team
Start here when building a team of support:

Physicians
  • Pharmacists
  • Medical professionals
  • Care Managers
  • Daily Money Managers
  • Patient Advocates
  • Clergy/Church members
  • Volunteers
  • Caregiver consultant/Social worker
  • Counselors/Therapists
  • Adult day program staff
  • Home Care Providers
  • Medical organizations
Your physician and staff can give the necessary medical guidance to remain healthy, strong, and recommend care remedies. Pharmacists will answer questions about medication; usage and interactions. Clergy and church members will give spiritual guidance, occasional companion visit, and a meal or light transportation. Neighbors and friends are good to call on when feeling isolated and alone. Adult day staff can offer outside the house activities. A caregiver consultant and patient advocates offer resources, education and even act as a family mediator. Home care agencies offer certified and licensed staff to provide custodial and skilled care services. There are widespread benefits to having a multi-faceted care team.

​Communication, cooperation, and forming partnerships within the community can promote a successful aging experience.


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<![CDATA[What's Needed in a Plan for Solo Aging]]>Wed, 31 Mar 2021 20:41:11 GMThttp://carolmarak.com/blog/whats-needed-in-a-plan-for-solo-aging
As a person aging alone, you must understand the roadblocks a single person encounters when on their own.  There are eight to ten hard aging topics that all adults will face sooner or later. Not understanding the issues and not addressing each one head on will eventually turn into a stumbling block that impedes well being and put a person at risk of unnecessary worry and concern. 

When you know the potential risks, it equips a person with clarity, and knowledge of what’s ahead. It’s the not knowing that heightens worry and stress.  The Solo Aging Master Group Coaching will equip participants with strategies to tackle the concerns and give answers to, “How do I plan for the years ahead as a single person? Is it possible to take care of myself with no immediate family? Where do I start?”

Members get an overview of the upcoming obstacles that single people face living alone while growing older and learn the benefits of thinking forward one, five, and ten years from now. The leading obstacles for aging well are health, housing, social connections, transportation, and help and support. When a member of the Master Group Coaching you take the first step in predicting the future. Think about the life domains and where you stand with each: health, housing, money, social connections and support, and accessible transportation.

Participants will begin planning for the future by knowing what they need most right now as it relates to the years aheads.   

Is Managing Stress Needed?   

Planning is a thought process that requires mental effort and a cognitive capacity unencumbered by stress. Other strengths like self-regulation and self-control attribute to taking responsibility and action.  This is important because stress affects the ability to concentrate and focus our attention on the matters at hand. 

Is Better Health Needed?
Because we’re living longer, we need to keep our health care costs down as much as possible.  Each of us has individual desires and preferences and even different needs. There is NO one way to handle health concerns--each of us are different. You may have genetic issues to contend with. That’s when you need to follow your doctor’s care plan. But if your family genetics are strong, you will worry less. However, that does not mean you can ignore taking care of yourself. 

Do You Need to Increase Self-Reliance?
Having self-reliance is important for several reasons. The most obvious being that depending on others for help, means there will be times when it’s not available.
  • Means you can solve problems and make decisions by yourself.
  • Allows you to feel happy by yourself, in yourself, and about yourself—without needing to rely on others;
  • Involves developing self-acceptance, a very powerful thing to have;
  • Involves acquiring self-knowledge and practicing self-compassion;
  • Gives you perspective, which in turn…
  • Gives you direction.

Is Shifting Your Perspective about Aging Required?
Adopt a positive viewpoint about aging--see it as a healthy, normal part of life. And it’s the mindset that you will do whatever is needed in order to continue doing the things that you love and are important to you as you grow older. Some ways to do that are pursuing passions and making contributions to the world around them.

Shift Mindset from problem focus to possibility thinking. We are much more powerful than we realize. "When you focus on problems, you'll have more problems. When you focus on possibilities, you'll have more opportunities."

You will learn to ask: "What is my situation and what are my possibilities?"

Social Connections--Meet new people and stay engaged
Living in isolation and being lonely can be dangerous for health.  Staying socially active as you age can reduce risk for various mental health issues including depression and Alzheimer's disease. By keeping your brain constantly engaged in activity and interaction you are sharpening your mind and reducing risk of cognitive decline.

We depend on friends for participation in social activities but rely on close relatives for support during illness. But who do you count on if relatives aren’t nearby? That’s why our social circles and support teams must involve neighbors, peers, friends, members in our faith organizations, where we play, senior centers. 

Research has confirmed the health benefits of having a large number of social relationships. But does it matter who we're connecting with—family, friends, neighbors? To satisfy their various social, emotional, and health needs, adults turn to different types of social relationships. 

Take Care of Practical Necessities
If you take care of the practical items first, you’ll be free to pursue  fulfilling social connections with fewer worries:
  • Legal documents
  • Keep your affairs in order
  • Finances--Know how they will support your future
  • Get and stay organized

Affordable Living Arrangements
What is your preferred living arrangement? What type of lifestyle do you want to live?

Once you get a handle on these, you'll begin to see how simple it really is. You can make huge predictions incredibly accurately. The more you control that information and those variables, the more detailed a prediction you can make.

Start by making safe predictions. Add more detail and complexity to see the trends in your life. Then make basic predictions about your future. Gradually develop pinpoint accuracy. As you start to see just how well you can predict your life, you will begin to see just how adjustable your future really is. You can predict it. You should predict it. It's your life. It should be exactly what you want it to be.

SOLO AGING MASTER GROUP COACHING

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<![CDATA[How Solo Boomers Retirement Differs]]>Thu, 25 Mar 2021 20:12:13 GMThttp://carolmarak.com/blog/how-solo-boomers-retirement-differs
The skills needed for navigating and planning for solo aging are new and unlike the way it was for our parents. One reason is you live alone and unlike your parents, it’s all on you--everything. From bills to mortgages to car loans to food and all costs of living falls on you, the solo individual.  

​Our lives are vastly different from married people because the individual doesn’t have someone to do the simple tasks
--pitch in with chores around the house, run an errand, change a light bulb, fix the toilet, to more complex things like drive the person to the eye doctor, or check in on them if sick, to have a conversation with after a tough day, or get help with making medical and financial decisions. So many things folks living alone must face on their own.  

A friend says it best, When my husband was alive and I was working, I often came home really exhausted, and found dinner cooking on the barbecue. Even long after the bereavement was over, I missed having somebody to share opinions, ideas and my day with. Since I have no children, I often wonder exactly what on earth I am going to do when I can no longer drive, or need help because I am ill.

Solo Boomers are different from Older Relatives

  • Parents had a full company pension plan which most of us don’t. 
  • Parents had offspring and a wide spread extended family to rely on for help. Most solo agers don’t. 
  • Parents stayed together through thick and thin. Boomers did not. We have the highest divorce rates. 
  • Parents grew up during the depression, boomers grew up in more prosperous times.
  • Boomers made more money, had access to credit cards, and spent freely because it was good for the economy. 
So how does this alter a solo person’s retirement preferences and lifestyles in comparison to their parents? The Greatest Generation was more cautious about saving for retirement because they had lived through the Great Depression. My dad saved “every nickel” he could get his hands on. He single handedly taught me and my siblings to be thrifty with money. His cautious point of view prepared my parents for retirement. 

My dad retired at 63 because he had learned to invest and save those nickels wherever he could. He opened various savings accounts, CD’s, bought bonds and certificates of deposits, and invested in his company pension plan on top of social security. My parents never traveled or went on vacations.  

Boomers' Retirement Preferences


Boomers have much different retirement preferences, plus we’re living longer and retiring in our seventies, maybe, but certainly not our 60s. For solo agers we can’t retire that young. Most of us wait till our seventies. Furthermore, we like to travel, dine out, and spend more on entertainment and attractions. At the same time, we enjoy learning new skills. But we’re faced with the question of how much money we’ll need to save for a comfortable retirement lifestyle.

What’s more relevant, solo boomers don’t want to retire and grow older like our parents did--we want more meaningful lives. It’s quite obvious we grew up in a very different world than they did.

In the next post, I'll discuss where solo boomers go from here when planning ahead for the future:  
Skills Needed to Plan for Aging Alone.

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<![CDATA[Solo Aging Group Support for Adults]]>Thu, 18 Mar 2021 21:42:19 GMThttp://carolmarak.com/blog/solo-aging-group-support-for-adults Solo Ager
​​Living a Healthy Life when Aging and Living Alone

To live a healthy life as a solo ager during the mid-to advanced years, it takes an expansive social network of friends, enhanced health care and a well being plan, retirement planning for solo living options, having purpose, knowledge of one's health risks and reducing them, and creating a support community.
Baby Boomers have the highest need for retirement planning for solo lifestyles since this cohort has the highest divorce rates, fewest number of children, and continue to care for parents. Many are primed to become a solo ager. Boomers typically do not have a large retirement savings however, others factors must be planned for to plan well when no family member is around to help.

The Lessons of the Caregivers Experience 

This was my chance to reflect on the aging care of a loved one. For years my sisters and I helped our parents and was involved in their health care. I saw firsthand what I will face in the future. What disturbed me the most was that I had no children to watch out for me. No spouse or a partner either.

I was a woman aging alone and realized I needed to spend more time planning for solo agers circumstances. At the time I journaled and took notes on the lessons learned helping my loved ones while being their patient advocate. It was a good thing because later, when faced with retirement planning for solo living, and thinking about the essential retirement planning... the lessons and hardships families lived through — will be all individuals launching point to a new way of life. 


Tips for initiating the aging strategies and roles

  • Do not force action. Just have willingness to think about the retirement planning for solo seniors. 
  • Start with a wish list about your health, care, friends, and living options. Give permission to feel hope and describe what you prefer to experience in the future. 
  • Be grateful for the family and health you currently have and people who care about you. 
  • Understand that any lifestyle change will take effort, time, and consistency.
  • Admit this is not a one-time thing, it's the first in a series of actions. 
  • Be open to changes. 

Seniors Planning for the Solo Agers Lifestyle

The Solo Aging Master Group Coaching will give members the needed information when aging alone. Members will create a social network when they sign up for and participate in the solo aging group. When aging alone without children nearby, living alone can put a person's long term care at risk.

The best thing about the group coaching it shows that people are not alone, even though we don't have loved ones who live close by. Each member will be a significant part of a support group of online friends and peers in search of opportunities for care, patient advocate, community, purpose, solving the health care proxy dilemma, retirement savings, designing affordable retirement communities with personal and health care needs in mind. The solo aging group will meet online two to three times a month--depending on the assigned tasks.  

LIVE Coaching 

The LIVE sessions are led by me, Carol Marak, a solo agers advocate and advisor. Each week I will present a new topic to discuss. At the end of the session, you'll be given homework. But while in the LIVE session, each member will have time to share, ask questions, and collaborate with one another all the while addressing their top solo aging concerns. It will be enjoyable and enlightening. Aging alone does not have to be a dreaded essential retirement planning effort. You won't learn just from me, but from each group member. 


Even though an adult does not have family members or children to count on, they can create necessary steps for better health, well being, and a family of choice. What adults need the most is information on the tough topics of developing a circe of care and caregivers, support, and solutions and living options that set our lifestyle on a better path.

Guided Planning for Solo Agers


My guided action steps give participants who are baby boomers and the generation x individual who identifies with the term solo ager. Members may live in a family of one but that does not mean they have to live in isolation, loneliness and without support of other people.

Joining and participating in the solo aging group coaching and information sessions, will build confidence to create a life to your liking. The tools given in the class will equip participants; widowed, single or divorced--to easily navigate for the years ahead and share our experience as a solo ager. Participants will learn strategies to avoid living like orphans.

Solo Aging Needs


  • The Need for Planning as Solo Agers and Reasons Why Boomers don't
  • The Stumbling Blocks that Impact Solo Agers Planning Ahead
  • Accurately Assess the Top Concerns and Opportunities of Solo Agers
  • Shift Mindset from Aging Problems to Aging Possibilities
  • Learn Your Strengths and Weaknesses 
  • Find living options that avoid loneliness and isolation
  • Creating community and a social network
  • Navigating the health care
  • Avoid multiple doctors visits and the nursing home
  • and explore the many best roles to take on!

The Solo Aging Master Group Coaching

For me the essence of coaching is change, improvement, and finding essential retirement planning resources and information, whether it's something we plan to do - or shifting the way we think - or becoming more resourceful. It's essential that an individual leave the group sessions with at least one action - and new perspectives that enhance aging alone. From the very beginning the coaching tools and worksheets applied in workshops - handouts where people document what they learn about themselves, the self care, the need for community, and identifying their health risks, will equip them to better manage their long term care needs.

Years ago, knee deep in retirement planning for solo living, I did it alone with no group or coach for guidance. However, I was a member of a counseling group and benefited very much. Group coaching works the same way - it's powerful and effective for improving health, wellbeing, personal strengths, self-efficacy, self-reliance, and beyond. All the tools for developing essential retirement planning as a solo ager.

Additional Benefits of Group Coaching

Individuals can benefit from:
  • Shared wisdom of the other members
  • Working toward common goals as part of a structured, step-by-step program
  • Positive effect of social facilitation
  • Increased self awareness from helping others within the group
  • Development of advocacy and trust
  • Improved conflict resolution
  • Heightened emotional intelligence
  • More affordable value

The Planning for Solo Agers and Baby Boomers

The Solo Aging Master Group Coaching begins March 24th at 5:00 pm CDT and is ongoing for as long as you choose. You can opt out any time but I doubt you will want to (because that's how delightful it will be for boomers.)  The planning for solo agers group coaching will be based on my upcoming book, SOLO and SMART, out in 2022 or earlier.

Planning for Solo Agers with Carol Marak


Family caregiving taught me about the challenges I will encounter in the years ahead.  It's that knowledge I share with solo agers who face growing older without a spouse or adult children to rely on. 

SOLO and SMART Masterclass Group Coaching 

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<![CDATA[Risks that Family Caregiving has on the  Advanced Years]]>Sun, 14 Mar 2021 15:47:25 GMThttp://carolmarak.com/blog/fallout-and-risks-that-family-caregiving-has-on-the-advanced-years
How many former and current family caregivers relate to this, quitting a job to help  parents? 

A caregiver’s identity and sometimes, a portion of their lives, becomes wrapped up within the demands of caregiving.  But once the caregiver role ends due to the passing of the care recipient, the person is left without someone to care for — losing a sense of purpose and usefulness.

Statistics show 60% of family caregivers are working either full-time or part-time in addition to self-care duties, placing strain on the ability to focus and perform while at work.  That was my case.  

A recent study of the Elder Orphan Facebook Group, revealed that over 48% of the members have been in a caregiving role. They took care of a parent, child, spouse, or partner. Learning that stat made me think that caregiving can put an adult at risk for aging alone. 

Caregivers are the first responders and the core members of elder help. They make a big part of the health and hospice care team and are an unsung pillar in the United States economy. We contribute a total of 450 billion dollars of unpaid healthcare efforts and labor per year. 

What's Sacrificed
  1. Work productivity, on-the-job focus, and career advancement — the elevated stress at home and on the job place strain on productivity at work and can force one to retire early to care for an ill family member. 
  2. Creates a financial burden, putting strain on the out-of-pocket costs on care-related bills.  
  3. Physical and emotional burden often becomes overwhelming, creating detrimental effects on the body and mental health. 
  4. Social connections and friends dwindle since time and effort are given to the care recipient. Giving care takes so much from the person, the caregiver chooses to withdraw from all connections. The withdrawal can lead to depression, loneliness and isolation. 

The sacrifices made and struggles confronted--most family caregivers don’t like to think about the challenge of what comes after the death of the loved one. But those still in the throes of giving care, will take a peek into the future and relish (at times) or dread what's possible.  (I experienced both.)  And when the funeral is over, the uncomfortable void emerges. And the perfect time to ask:  

What did I learn from the experience? 


This is your opportunity to reflect on the past months and years that have taken you to where you are today.  Consider journaling or jotting down your "lessons learned."
Because later, when you're faced with thinking about the advanced years... the lessons and hardships you lived through — will be your launching point to new life. 

Tips for initiating the aging strategy
  • Do not force action. Just have willingness to think about it. 
  • Start with a wish list. Give permission to feel hope and describe what you prefer to experience in the future. 
  • Be grateful for possibilities. 
  • Understand that any change will take effort, time, and consistency.
  • Admit this is not a one-time thing, it's the first in a series of actions. 
  • Be open to changes.
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<![CDATA[Solo Living Survival Tips]]>Tue, 09 Mar 2021 18:23:59 GMThttp://carolmarak.com/blog/solo-living-survival-tips
​Looking beyond the family of four is a really big shift for all Americans. 

Today, 35.7 million Americans live alone, 28% of households. That is up from 13% of households in 1960 and 23% in 1980, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Delayed or forgone marriage, longer life expectancy, urbanization and wealth have contributed, demographers say.

I offer below a few tips for solo adults to consider when living alone. These are a few of the topics members of my Master Group Coaching discuss. We also offer support and camaraderie. Solo living discussions is what we're all about. It's fun too!  Read more about my Solo Aging Master Group Coaching.  


Tips for getting along well when solo living
  1. Have faith and trust that all will be okay. I know hundreds of people who live alone. In my Facebook group there are close to 10K members. What does that tell you? We face challenges no doubt but one thing I can say about solo adults… we are very resourceful and learned to manage well on our own.
  2. Have a morning routine that gets you up and going. It could be making coffee, reading the paper online, or starting the day with exercise. I enjoy stretching and doing a few yoga poses. You only need a couple of things to give your morning structure. Walk with a friend or neighbor or run an errand together.
  3. Make time for you - take good care of yourself.  I’ve been on my own for close to 20 years! If I get sick and can’t go out for food or medicine… I’m up a creek. The worry of having no one in the house to get me a cup of soup can be stressful. It’s a hard reality to deal with, that when you live solo, you cannot rely on anyone other than yourself. So, it is essential you are as strong and healthy as you can be. And this is the biggest reason I live in a high rise building. I have close neighbors and we look out for one another.
  4. Make friends with your neighbors. Take charge and start a support group of like minded friends or neighbors who live nearby. Gather and discuss ways you can help each other remain independent and strong.
  5. Eat well. Avoid the easy way and ordering fast foods. Those are not the healthiest. I enjoy cooking, but with it can be a hassle cooking for one. However, I've adapted and have found it easier to do after twenty years!  The top foods for us are vegetables, greens, and seeds. But check with your doctor before changing a diet.  
  6. Keep mood in check — staying active, eating nutritious foods, connecting with peers, going outdoors for a walk and getting fresh air will benefit your body and mind. 
Numbers never tell the whole story, but in this case the statistics are startling. According to the market research firm Euromonitor International, the number of people living alone globally is skyrocketing, rising from about 153 million in 1996 to 277 million in 2011 – an increase of around 80% in 15 years. In the UK, 34% of households have one person living in them and in the US it's 28%.
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<![CDATA[Solo Aging Master Group Coaching]]>Fri, 05 Mar 2021 23:41:29 GMThttp://carolmarak.com/blog/solo-aging-master-group-coaching
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​Having a secure, connected, and supportive life doesn't just happen..it requires planning. To live a good life as a solo ager during the mid-to advanced years, it takes managing worry and stress, knowledge of one's challenges and reducing them, and creating a plan for the life we want, not the kind filled with pipe dreams but the honest to goodness, genuine kind that is easy to achieve and flourish in.  

That's what planning for the years ahead is all about. And that's what the Solo Aging Master Group Coaching will help you accomplish. The best part, you are not alone. You will be part of support group of peers in search of designing their own future. The group will meet online two to three times monthly--depending on the assigned tasks.   

The LIVE sessions are led by me. Each week I will present a new topic to discuss.  At the end of the session, you'll be given homework. But while in the LIVE session, each member will have time to share, ask questions, and collaborate with one another. It will be enjoyable and enlightening. You won't learn just from me, but from each group member. 

My guided action steps give participants the know-how and confidence to create a life to your liking. The tools given in the class will equip participants; widowed, single or divorced--to easily navigate for the years ahead.  

Weekly Topics 
  • The Need for Thinking Ahead and Reasons Why We don't
  • The Stumbling Blocks that Impede Planning Ahead
  • Accurately Assess the Top Concerns of Solo Agers
  • Shift Mindset
  • Learn Your Strengths and Weaknesses 
  • these are just a few!

The Solo Aging Master Group Coaching begins March 24th at 5:00 pm CDT and is ongoing for as long as you choose. You can opt out any time but I doubt you will want to (because that's how delightful it will be.) 

The SOLO and SMART Master Group Coaching is $10 a month till June 2021  Private coaching sessions are available upon request.  

Join the Solo Aging Master Group Coaching
See image above to find the RED BUTTON to join the Master Group Coaching.

Or Contact Carebuzz@gmail.com for more details!!
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