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What If You're A Solo Ager?

What If YouÔÇÖre A Solo Ager?

How Many Solo Agers Are There?

If you are a solo ager yourself and wonder if you’re alone, it turns out you’re not alone in being alone.  Lynn Feinberg, an expert in caregiving at AARP, says that about 20 percent of women are childless today, compared to only ten percent in the 1970’s.  This trend is expected to continue.  The birthing rate for Americas as a whole has declined.  Feinberg also reports that those aged 85 and older without surviving children will increase from 16 percent in 2000 to an approximate 21 percent in 2040.  Divorce rates are also surging among baby boomers.  The number of solo agers among boomers is already at 20 percent.  For these reasons, care for “solo agers” (an older person with no spouse or children to help with care) is becoming an increasing concern.  An AARP study shows us that there will be an increasing disparity between the number of people who will need care, and the number of caregivers available.  In 2010, there was a ratio of 7 potential caregivers for every in-need-80-and-older person.  By 2030 that ratio is expected to drop to 4:1, and potentially lower at 3:1 by 2050.         


How to Plan for Care as a Solo Ager

It’s easy to assume as a solo ager that there’s just no point to planning without a spouse or child to take care of arrangements.  One thing to consider is where to live.  A lot of the housing options available to those with children are still available to those who are child free.

- Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)-- allow residents to remain in the same community even after they assistance with daily living is needed.

- Assisted living communities  (a bit different than nursing homes.  Sometimes a lot more benefits and freedoms)

- Board and care facilities

- Nursing homes when a high level of care is required

- Co-housing--increasing in popularity, this is an arrangement where a group of older and multi-generational residents live in an area that includes homes specifically designed for the aging population's’ needs.

- Staying in your home with the help of in-home care might also be an option--sometimes those who opt for this develop close-knit connections with others doing the same so that they can help each other out.  

When you don’t have a spouse or children, you want to make these plans ahead of time.  Visit the establishments that offer these different housing arrangements to get a feel for them.  Make sure you select someone you can trust as your power of attorney if possible.  This perhaps might be a niece or extended family.  You can also seek the services of a fiduciary, which is a personal financial advisor that you can authorize to act on your behalf.

“When it comes to ensuring that your end-of-life wishes are respected, good planning can make up for most of the gap left by the absence of adult children.”— Sara Zeff Geber, retirement planning expert.

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