Solo Baby Boomers’ Needs Differ From Their Parents’

How do you know when it’s time for Mom or Dad to move to a long-term care facility?

That was the topic of an article we posted on the blog a while back. We talked about five safety concerns that signal the need to move to a supervised environment. Adult children need to pay attention to their parents demeanor and physical appearance, their home’s upkeep, and other factors to help make that decision.

But what happens when there are no children?

A full 20 percent of Baby Boomers are childless, and many of them are also single. If you’re in that category, you might be caring for your sick, elderly parent—but who will care for you as you age?

Child-free or single adults choose assisted living or continuing care communities at a much lower rate than seniors with children. The main reason for that is they have no children to encourage them to make the move. As they age, they become more and more at risk of social isolation, falls, kitchen accidents, and so on.

Individuals aging alone need to take that into account when they look to the future. With no children to raise the safety issue, elderly solo agers might stay at home, barely managing, until a crisis pushes them to make a split-second decision. Making those decisions now can save a world of aggravation in your old age.

Here are three areas aging childless singles should be preparing for:

Emotional support

Aging is difficult any way you slice it, and going it alone only compounds the challenge. If you are supporting an elderly parent, you know how important family connection is to their health and emotional well-being. Start forming connections now that will serve as your emotional support as you age. These can be your friends and peers, neighbors, or relatives.

Residential decisions

Decide where you want to live in your older age. A senior living community is a great option for younger Boomers, especially if you have friends in the same community. Choose a community near your place of work, house of worship, health club, or other location you frequent. Continuum of care communities, like Bridgeway Senior Living, are especially useful for solo agers. You have the flexibility and independence to continue working, travel, or do anything else you like doing. As you age, you have the option of increasing the level of care while remaining in the same environment with the people you’ve grown close to.

Financial and legal decisions

Long-term care can be very expensive, so get your affairs in order now. Research the cost of assisted living homes, skilled nursing facilities, and other long-term care arrangements in your area. Many elderly individuals rely on their children for financial help, and you won’t have that option in your old age.

Speak with a financial planner who specializes in senior planning to determine your saving and investment goals. You may also want to consult with an elder care attorney to arrange your legal representation and power of attorney should you lose the ability to communicate. Think of a close friend or relative you want to appoint as your legal guardian, and start the discussion with them about what it would entail.

Thinking about aging, losing your faculties, and eventual death isn’t easy, but the earlier you start, the easier time you’ll have. Nobody should have to grow old alone and scared; plan now to fill your golden years with social connection, health, and security.