Roughly 15 percent of the Baby Boomer population won’t have children to look after them as they age, either because they didn’t have kids, or the kids they have aren’t available or reliable. Without help, these individuals face isolation, financial exploitation, malnutrition and other ills, according to Sara Geber, author of “Essential Retirement Planning for Solo Agers.”
In a recent Associated Press article, 3 Steps to Keep ‘Solo Agers’ Happier, Safer in Retirement, Geber offered this advice:
- Expand your social networks. Strengthening ties with relatives and making new friends, particularly younger ones, can counteract isolation;
- Choose the right home environment. Your current home may not be ideal if there are limited opportunities to socialize, and assisted living and 55+ communities can be expensive. “Look for ‘naturally occurring retirement communities’ where residents socialize and informally look out for each other,” says Gerber. “These communities can crop up in a variety of locations, including apartment houses, condos, mobile home parks and even tightknit neighborhoods of single-family homes. Other possibilities include sharing a place with other solo agers — ‘Golden Girls’ style — or renting a room to a younger person;” and ·
- Enlist or hire future guardians. Estate planning attorneys recommend all adults have documents in place that allow someone else to make decisions should they become incapacitated. Without this paperwork, solo agers could become wards of the court with strangers making decisions for them, Geber says. In California and Arizona, residents can hire licensed fiduciaries, while in other states people can contract with contract with professional guardians.