Patient Advocates Support “Solo” Seniors

What is a Solo Senior?Older daugher with elderly mother

Have you heard the word Solo Senior? As more and more of our seniors fall in this category, the percentage is estimated to be at 22%. That is a staggering amount of our seniors that do not have a spouse or children that can assist them as their care needs change.

In 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that by the year 2030, 20 percent of people living in the U.S. will be older than 65.

Why Do We Have More Solo Seniors?

What do you think? Here are what we think are the main Four Reasons.
1. People are living longer
2. More individuals are divorced or never married
3. Individuals have fewer children
4. Distance within families physically or within relationships as families drift apart.

Did you know that it is predicted that by 2035, there will be 78 million people 65 years and older compared to 76.4 million under the age of 18?

How can Solo Seniors Plan Ahead?

Don’t be in denial! Plan Ahead! Just do it, be as prepared as possible. Do as much as you can ahead of time. If you are wondering what you can do here are some suggestions.

1. Make arrangements for someone to serve as your financial and health representative such as a friend or distant relative (cousin, niece or sibling). You may want to engage with a patient advocate who can coordinate and oversee your care.
2. Think about where you want to live if your care needs change. If you want to age in place, modifications may need to be made for a better fit.
3. Make a Plan of care. Get your health care power of attorney in place along with your living will. Find out what senior care communities and support services are available in your area.
4. What are your lifestyle and social needs? What are your social connections going to be. Most individuals retire from work, so how will you stay connected with others. Avoid social isolation and loneliness.

Don’t forget that an elder law attorney and financial advisors can help. Keeping up with your finances is critical so that you know what your available funds will be.

Solo Seniors of Today

Many Solo seniors of today are beginning to make it work! How you ask? Seniors are setting up senior villages or communities where they contract together for things such as repairs, transportation and care services. Home sharing with students or younger relatives in exchange for assistance with things around their home. Many are choosing their families to grow old with in order to support each other.

Don’t forget that you cannot always rely on your spouse or children. By the time you need their help they may already be unable to care for themselves.Do you know that we already have individuals that are an only child who are supporting the care needs of divorced parents, their stepparents and maybe their grandparents as well?

Let’s do everything we can to support this vulnerable senior population. A patient advocate can help in the short term to get you started or they can support you long term along the way.