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:
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.