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The Conundrum of Aging Alone

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

In recent years, researchers have turned their attention to the unique challenges faced by people aging alone with little or no support from family or close friends. One research project, headed by Rupal Parekh, uncovers the preliminary data that brings clarity about the issues facing the population he calls “elder orphans.”

We prefer the term “solo agers.”

For solo agers, there are no easy answers to questions like these:

· Who will look after me as I grow older?

· Who will take care of me as my independence wanes?

· Where will I live if I can’t get the care I need at home?

· How can I make sure I get the care and treatments I need?

· How can I make sure I avoid the care and treatments I don’t want?

When you are sick and confined to a bed, you need someone you can rely on to help. However, if you’re a solo ager, it’s possible that you won’t have anyone to call.

If you’re a solo ager, have you identified someone to make healthcare decisions for you if you can’t make them yourself? Who will be there for you?

Even if you have a spouse and family members in your life today, that’s no guarantee that you won’t end up a solo ager. Some of us will outlive all our relatives, leaving no family members to look after us as we age. The “last man standing” in any family becomes a solo ager by default.

If you are a solo ager who hasn’t given any thought to who will make your healthcare-related decisions for you when you can’t make them yourself, what will it take to get your attention? Will it take a fall? A devastating diagnosis? What will it take to identify who can provide help when the time comes? Whose name will you list as the “additional contact” on the healthcare forms you fill out?

Rupal Parekh’s research intends to develop a stronger understanding of older adults who are aging alone and have limited support within the U.S. Older adults aging alone are often a hidden population, which makes this research critically important. However, all research and statistics won’t help if you’re aging on your own and there’s no one there for you. That’s why you need to start the planning process now.

If you’re aging on your own, it is vitally important to have a comprehensive estate plan that identifies people who will make your healthcare decisions and manage your financial affairs when you’re no longer able to do so yourself. Even if you’re not sure whom you would choose to serve in those agent and fiduciary roles, Takacs McGinnis Elder Care Law can help you create a solid plan for your future. Our attorneys can help you think through your options and connect you with professionals who can serve in those crucial agent and fiduciary roles.

Call Takacs McGinnis Elder Care Law at 615.824.2571 to schedule your consultation.

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