Planning For Solo

Planning For Solo
| by Corina Savela

The definitionof solo is: «for or done by one person alone; unaccompanied, companionless.»

Are you an a solo ager? Reading on the subject of aging shows that the number of seniors over 65 living alone is on the rise and they are called «solos.» Let us take a look at this from another angle. You might live with your spouse and you both have dementia or physical issues, you have supported each other over the years and still do but neither of you can now manage the complexities of everyday life. You might live with your spouse but have very different views on end of life decisions, healthcare, funerals and how you want to live in your «old age».

Having your own house, apartment, room, condo, or whatever and not sharing it with others does not mean you are alone, you just have your own space. You might have quite the support system of friends and relatives but live, «solo». You might live in a space with many people but are «solo», you are surrounded by people but you are not connecting with those around you. You are not physically alone but emotionally you are alone.

We change over time, the brain starts to shrink in our 60s, our reflexes and hearing degrade as the decades move forward and each of us goes through this in our own unique way.

Some of this is simply personality, there have always been those people who have never met a stranger, in 30 minutes they seem like they have known you forever no matter who you are. There are also those that are reserved, take time to warm up to folks, prefer to ponder ideas and think, make few friends but have great relationships with those they do have. And then there are the 80% who are somewhere between those extremes. Which means most of us are in the middle somewhere.

Each of us, whether married or not, needs to plan how we want to live as we age. We change over time, the brain starts to shrink in our 60s, our reflexes and hearing degrade as the decades move forward and each of us goes through this in our own unique way.

Ponder the following and determine to put yourself in the right position to successfully live solo. After all, as individuals, we are all indeed solo. And remember, every five (5) years you need to review what we are going to review here and make sure the documents are still appropriate. Each of these can be quite complex depending on your unique situation. When clients come to me to work on their Aging Plan,there is a list of items they must review and think through before we talk again:

* HCS, Healthcare Surrogate, know who will make those decisions when you can't, talk to them and be sure they know what you want and make sure they are prepared to do it. Have a backup that is not likely to be in the same «age» situation you are. Remember, who you want might not be able to handle your wishes so choose the person that will.

* Living Will, answer the questions about how you want your healthcare at those end of life situations. Talk to your HCS, friends, and family too! The more support you have for your desires, the more likely they will be followed. It is okay to discuss this topic with those that will likely be there as you go through this.

* Healthcare, there are many Medicare options because there are many unique situations. You and your spouse could have very different medical needs and your insurance choices could be quite different.

* Estate plan, if you have an estate to leave behind, be sure to prepare so it goes to those you want it to, otherwise, the legal system will determine who gets what. This can be done in a wide variety of ways so be sure to talk to several people about how to do this before making decisions and spending money on documents. And remember, if you have a spouse and rarely are out without each other, think about what happens if you both pass away suddenly in an accident.

* LTC, Long-term Care planning, the majority of us will not be able to live at home independently until we die. Those that do remain at home either have the right amount of support or live in unsafe and sometimes tragic situations. Think realistically about your finances and support system. Each time I work with a client/family it brings this home to me. As humans we want what we want, it is rare that it works out, life is a compromise. Talk to someone to help figure out how to optimize the resources available, there are usually many options when you are open-minded.

* If you are young enough, Life Insurance, Final Expense Insurance should be on the table so your family is not left without a safety net.

* Funeral arrangements, why leave this to someone else? Decide what you want and make your plans ahead of time. This will be a gift to your family and friends as they say good-bye.