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Posted in Senior Wellness | May 2015

I’m alone. What now?

im-alone-now-what
At some point in our lives it’s possible that we’ll find ourselves on our own, particularly as we get older. In fact, 28% of American homes are single-person homes1, and 35% of Canadian female seniors live alone at home while 17% of their male counterparts are also flying solo2. Older folks are living longer, healthier lives, and many are managing to stay in their own homes, which is a comfort and a blessing to them and the family members that love them. While being on your own does present some unique challenges, happily they can be met head-on with a little research, planning and help from those with answers and practical advice.

If you’re a senior living alone, consider this checklist of tasks that can help you plan for a happy and content future:

  • Ensure that you have a legal will and that your estate plans are in order now while you’re mentally sharp and capable. It’s always best to make your wishes known now so that your friends and family don’t have to guess what you would have wanted later.
    List down your financial information and your final requests in a document and ensure your loves ones know where to find it. Download the For My Family document to get started.
  • Ensure that you have a power of attorney. This is someone who has the legal authority to act on your behalf in certain specified matters (like financial dealings) should you be mentally or physically unable to do so yourself.
  • Consider talking to a Legal Link counselor to discuss your legal needs. Legal Link connects Foresters members with certain free and discounted legal services in your local area. You can connect with lawyers for help with a variety of issues including wills, home ownership and family law. Visit MyForesters.com for more information.
  • Find out more about investing and financial planning by contacting Everyday Money, Foresters toll-free and confidential phone-based helpline gives members access to an accredited counselor who can help answer your questions about everyday management of your money. Visit MyForesters.com for more information.
  • Start doing some research and looking at options for when you may need additional help. Visit local assisted living facilities and continuing care facilities, and contact home health care providers to ask about services and rates.
  • Talk to your doctor about any health-related concerns you have, particularly those that might impact your ability to live alone safely. Your doctor will be able to give you advice about treatments and home health care aids to help you when the time comes.
  • Find out if your local grocery store and pharmacy will deliver an order placed by phone. This will make it easier for you on days when you can’t manage to get out of the house to run your errands.
  • Connect with friends. Not only can staying social help you live a happier life, you may also be able to share things like cooking duties with friends and have a weekly potluck dinner together. If you think making nutritious meals might become a challenge for you, look into meal delivery services that can bring you hot, healthy dinners.
  • Think about where you would like your family treasures and heirlooms to go. If there’s no one interested in taking them and you can’t or don’t want to store them, consider donating them or selling them so you have some extra money when you need it.

The best way to enjoy your future is to plan for one that’s safe, happy and secure. Foresters Everyday Money and Legal Link can help get you on the right path.

For more information on aging at home, visit National Institute on Aging and HelpGuide.org.

SOURCES

1 http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/record-28-of-american-households-one-person-only/

2 http://www.carp.ca/2014/02/27/majority-seniors-living-home-statscan-study-reveals/
412445H CAN/US (05/15)

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