My name is Carol Marak, Author, SOLO and SMART, A Roadmap for a Supportive and Secure Future. I helped my parents with their elder care needs and aging issues, like many family caregivers do. Once my parents died, it occurred to me that I have no one to assist me with the things my sisters and I helped our parents with. That's when I got on the stick and created my own life plan.
After spending thousands of hours helping my parents, researching for resources, and writing hundreds of articles on aging-related topics for the senior care sector, I've learned what's needed to grow older confidently even when living solo. It was family caregiving that awakened me to the significance of planning for the years ahead, especially since I was on my own and had no adult children or spouse to rely on.
Then in 2016, I launched the Elder Orphan Facebook Group because I wanted to know how many people are in a similar situation—living alone with no family to help with financial and medical decisions, long term concerns, personal care, estate planning, power of attorney and more. It was astonishing to discover there are many of us who live alone and likely will into old age.
What I have learned over the past ten years after creating my plan is to gain as much knowledge about self care, becoming self reliant, and creating a family-like community. Because if you live alone, you will need nearby support and most importantly, to be in good health, have enough money to outlast you, and have someone who cares about you.
In my own life planning, I've set up a social network that's connected, and have a fulfilling lifestyle that encourages purpose, expansion, and growth. Today, I teach people to do the same for themselves by applying the achievable steps that I put into play for the future. It's imperative for individuals to build a strong future self, one that plans for good health care, affordable housing, companions, personal care and support.
The many providers who serve the retirement sector has room to learn and understand about life planning. Singles and married couples without nearby adult children to watch out for them can have a safe, independent, and confident life even without family. All one needs is a plan.