The holiday season has come and gone. It was the time of year when every red-and-green light display and jingling bell reminded Janice Boss that she is, for the most part, alone.
She is almost 65, divorced with no children. She spent years caring for her father, who died after struggling with heart complications, and then her ailing mother who died in 2013. Her brother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and died last year.
Boss is what researchers call an elder orphan — an older person who is socially or physically isolated, without any available family member or caregiver to help them manage as they age. Based on the number of people older than 65 who are unmarried, widowed and childless and who have no nearby family, experts estimate 23% of the older population nationwide is at risk of aging alone or already is.
You more than likely know someone like this and, if you don’t, you soon will.
What are her challenges?
- As we age, the ability to make complex financial decisions declines. We are at a higher risk of falling prey to a financial scam.
- Unmarried Boomers generally have fewer resources and are at a higher risk of running out of money.
Once retired, there is a need to replace workplace connections with other connections. We are at a higher risk of loneliness and depression, sleep dysfunction, increased blood pressure, increased stress hormones, and lower overall sense of well-being.
Elder orphans are at risk of premature health declines. They are at a higher risk for:
- Putting off routine medical procedures due to lack of a support system
- Not having a healthcare advocate (HIPAA, DPA) or their advocate is not knowledgeable
- Suffering accidental injury such as falling at home
Long-Term Care and End of Life
Care is often received from a family member. When aging alone, you are at a higher risk for:
- Running out of money by paying for care that would have been provided as unpaid care by a spouse
- Ending up alone and vulnerable in a low-quality care situation (e.g. home care, assisted living, nursing home)
- Having someone make end of life decisions that go against their wishes leading to greater suffering
How can Marca Life Planning help solve these problems?
In addition to retirement and portfolio planning, our clients have access to:
- Planning for desired life
- Planning for essential income
- Education/planning for housing in later life
- Planning for fraud, abuse, and undue influence protection
- Education/planning for declining social networks
- Education/planning for advocacy networks
- Education/planning for advanced care and end of life decisions
What if Janice never worked with Marca Life Planning?
If she never put a plan in place for the future, she could experience:
- Financial disorganization
- Some or all of the Four Fearsome Fates of Aging
- Looks back with regret
- Premature health declines
- Running out of money before running out of years
- Ends up alone and vulnerable to exploitation
Aging can mean uncertainty, but single, childless seniors are missing the backup that many people take for granted. Many will need special strategies for retirement savings, health care, and estate planning. Keep your social network strong, and decide not to wait to plan for your later years.