Going Solo: How to Navigate Active Senior Living as a Solo Senior

Posted By on October 1, 2022

When it’s time to start planning for senior living and care options, many older adults have support and help from their spouses or children. But what happens if you don’t have a spouse or children?

Baby Boomers, those between the ages of 55-75, are hailed as the generation that revolutionized modern culture. Growing up in a turbulent social and political environment led to their contributions to music, art, politics, and other facets of culture that make American history so uniquely special. 

Many were heavily independent, skipping the traditional norms they’d grown up with; rather than prioritizing starting families, they chose to focus on career goals and lifestyle choices. 

Because of this, more than 1 in 5 American adults above the age of 65 are “elder orphans,” or solo seniors, according to AARP. It’s estimated that about 20% of the baby boomer generation will be without family caregivers. 

If you’re a solo senior who has started preparing for your aging journey, HarborChase Senior Living shares tips and plans to ensure you can continue celebrating life and find the support and care you need.

Think About How You Want to Age

Evaluating your current living environment is a great place to start when thinking about how you want to age. 

  • What location is ideal for you?
  • Do you want a tropical or colder environment?
  • Do you want to have the feel of a vibrant city or a cozy, serene small town?

Think about how your lifestyle can continue to be fulfilled, whether you want to focus on hobbies and passions or more community-based activities, like volunteering or having opportunities to meet new people.

Develop a Social Community

As a solo senior, it’s a smart idea to surround yourself with like-minded people, whether they’re your already-close friends or a community group. For instance, in 2016, a woman named Carol Marak had an epiphany after spending years caring for her aging parents:

“I realized there are so many demands in giving care to an older person. I don’t have family to do that for me.” 

Marak founded the Elder Orphans Facebook Group, which now has over 8,000 members, to see who else was going through the same unsure feelings regarding aging alone. Marak’s requirements for membership in the group were simple: people over the age of 55, who had never married or who had children living long-distance. As a result, members of the Elder Orphans Facebook Group have found support, comfort, and friendship. They rely on each other for advice regarding various topics, from recipe ideas to revocable trust information. 

Creating a social safety net is a great way to network with others in your situation while creating a support system where everyone involved has a helping hand. After all, some of the best families are the ones you choose and create for yourself.

Get Your Affairs in Order

Without a spouse or children to make these decisions on your behalf should an event or illness impact your ability, it’s best to become your own practitioner when it comes to legal and financial affairs. Here are some specific details to get in order in case of emergencies and to give yourself peace of mind for the future.

Durable Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney allows you to designate a trusted person to manage your financial affairs in the event that you can no longer do so. As a solo senior, consider assigning this role to an attorney or a financial professional. 

Health Care Proxy

Similar to a Power of Attorney, a Health Care Proxy means you can designate someone to make decisions on your medical care needs if you’re unable to do so yourself. Consider appointing a social worker or an attorney for this role. 

Execute a Will

A Will allows you to designate who will inherit your property and funds after you pass away and also delineates who will manage your estate. In this case, a Trust could be a great way to do so while protecting your privacy.

Plan to Stay Safe

When you’re living alone, it’s vital that you begin to plan for every possible emergency. Thankfully, many resources are available for solo seniors who don’t have immediate nearby support or help.

Many phone apps are designed to contact the local police department or other emergency services at the press of a button, and some are designed to provide a daily check-in call, such as: 

Consider a Senior Living Community

Moving to an active senior living community is an excellent way to enjoy your life as a solo senior. These communities are designed to provide a maintenance-free experience with exceptional amenities, like fitness centers, transportation services, and dining experiences, and engaging social opportunities like day excursions, special events, and activity clubs.

HarborChase creates a senior living experience where every day is a cause for celebration. We encourage our residents to live their lives to the fullest by providing vibrant and dynamic social events and activities, elevated and indulgent cuisine experiences, and personalized care options to go above and beyond every expectation of senior living. 

The aging process is a unique journey for every older adult, and at the end of the day, it’s important to embrace each step. HarborChase invites you to discover how active senior living can complement and elevate your unique lifestyle. Visit our website and find a HarborChase community near you!