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Never Forget to Do These 3 Things If You’re Left to Your Own Devices While Aging

As we age, we need to consider how and where we will live, who will take care of us if we are no longer able to do it on our own, and our finances. For those of us with a partner or family, the process may seem cut and dry. We may designate our partner or family members as caretakers, medical proxies, and beneficiaries of our estate. However, more of us are aging alone or remaining single in our golden years.

Aging Parents

Many aging singles may be wondering how to go about planning for those golden years. While some of the details of end-of-life planning can be more obscure for singles, the overall framework is similar to those who have partners or families. Here are some important steps you don’t want to neglect if you’re aging alone.

Establish a Support Network

You don’t have to have a large network of friends, but if you’re aging on your own, it’s still important to find a community to socialize with regularly. Check to see if there are any senior support groups in your area, book clubs, or other groups that discuss your hobbies and interests. Some cities and towns also have senior centers that host activities for both residents and non-residents.

Make Future Financial Plans

Determine where you will live as you age and whether your current residence will be suitable for your future needs. Will you be able to age in your current home if your physical mobility deteriorates and will you be able to keep up with the interior and exterior maintenance? Or will you feel more comfortable in an assisted living center?
It’s also beneficial to project what your future income needs might be and determine what income sources you’ll have. Are there any assets such as properties, savings accounts, and financial securities that you’ll need to designate to one or more beneficiaries? Draft a will if you don’t already have one or make any changes to your existing document.

Designate a Care Plan and a Trusted Representative

This can be challenging for singles, as an immediate relative may not be available to designate as a medical proxy, power of attorney, or executor of your estate. However, you might consider a trusted friend or an advisor who can step into one or more of these roles when the time comes. You’ll also want to map out what you’d like your future medical and support care to be.

For instance, what happens if you get sick with a serious illness or are no longer able to fully care for yourself? Will you prefer in-home care, want Hospice care, or desire to live in a nursing home? Are there any medical circumstances or conditions where you’d need someone else to make decisions for you? Figuring out probable answers and discussing your wishes with those who might need to step in for you is important before things get to that stage.

Aging as a single person can present additional challenges and seem scary. However, with a little introspection, planning, and communication, you can put a blueprint into place. Being single doesn’t mean you have to do everything by yourself or feel alone. Building a community and reaching out to others you trust will help lay down the foundation for a successful and supportive process.

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