April 29, 2018…A Guest Post by Leandro Mueller
In our society, growing old is often depicted with a happy couple living together while single older people are often presented as hot-headed, mean, and lonely. You can obviously see this stereotype in movies or tv shows. Growing old alone and single should not be miserable like what is usually perceived, because it is not. Happiness and self-fulfillment is possible even if you do not have a special someone to grow old with.
In this article, we will enumerate ways that you can do to eliminate fear and be successful growing old alone.
How to overcome fear and be successful in growing old alone and single?
Find your comfort with these tips and links for further reading:
1. Be healthy and secure your healthcare needs
Health often deteriorates faster if you let growing old alone burdens you. Don’t let being alone sneak up your mind, instead get up and adopt an active lifestyle! Jennifer Wasylenko enumerated in her article a number of ways how exercising can make you happy. Exercising has positive effects on your mood, immune system, sleep, energy, and aging. It can also keep depression and anxiety at bay.
Keep your fears away by securing your future possible health care needs in aging. Medical expenses and long term care are both inevitable in aging. You will never know when or will it hit you. Reduce your fears and worries by obtaining a protection against these unwanted possibilities. Get to know different healthcare options that you can take advantage as you age. Know how you can take advantage of Medicare and Medicare Supplement plans to provide you assistance in paying for health care expenses.
Don’t forget about long term care. Anyone of us might need any forms of long term care at some point of our lives. Consider long term care insurance as early as possible to enjoy a cheaper premium.
2. Find beauty in ordinary
For Daniel Wallen, finding beauty in ordinary will help you live a happy life alone. Take time to have a pause to listen to birds chirping or stop to appreciate the beauty of grass and flowers. Growing old alone and single should not limit you to be home alone and feeling down, instead get out of your house and spend some time with nature. There are lots of beauty in our surroundings waiting to be appreciated.
To get really immersed and in commune with nature, you can plant some flowers, vegetable garden or a tree in your backyard or join a community of gardening or any hobby.
3. Consider relocating
To succeed in aging, Anthony Cirilo suggests considering moving to other location even if you are already in an urban area. Consider this move if your current location is not suited for aging in place. Find a place that will easily serve your needs. You may need a home that will enable you to move freely and comfortably as you age. You might want a community that is able to support your lifestyle and has easy access to different establishments like church, clinic, hospital, support groups, and organizations.
4. Be clear how you want to live and know your needs
Carol Marak poured her experiences and her thoughts in her post, How to Thrive When Aging Alone. In the post, she suggested that being clear about how you want to live and what compromises you are open to, outlines your whole aging alone strategy. Read her story to learn and be inspired how she managed to thrive and cope with aging alone.
5. Create a “micro board”
In an article written by Susan Garland, one of the first steps that older single people should make is to hire an elder law lawyer, who can draw up documents that will protect them if they become incapacitated. While still independent and functional, it is important to appoint people who will be responsible for making decisions when the time comes that your abilities have diminished. Typically a friend, lawyer, clergy or a niece or nephew can be appointed to make medical decisions. Your micro board can also comprise of a lawyer, the health care and financial agents, an accountant and a geriatric care manager. Those people will have the power to make decisions when the time comes that can’t.
6. Connect and Re-connect
If you are feeling lonely, talking to someone can help you cope with the sad feeling. Connect with your neighbors, support groups, church members and reconnect with your old friends. Surround yourself with people that you can connect with any time. Maintain your social circle but avoid staying much on Facebook and other social media. Always choose to connect personally for more interpersonal interaction and deeper relationships. Or if you must, find people who are like you. You can join community groups like Elder Orphan Group which is a community of people who are aging alone. Joining a community that has members that are like yourself will make you feel that you are not alone. You can also find more resources that will help you in your every need of aging alone here.
7. Find your purpose
Related to connect and re-connect above, finding your purpose will importantly run your life and aging process. According to Loss of Purpose — A Danger of Aging Alone by Paula Spencer Scott, loneliness takes a toll on mental health and physical health, in part by undermining this core aspect of being human: one’s very sense of life having meaning and purpose. The sense of purpose or your reason for being can be revived by interacting with others. Perceiving meaning, mission, and purpose tends to bring more happiness, more hope, positive outlook, and a generally better sense of well-being. Learn more about the ways how to foster purpose by reading the full article here.
An Epilogue by DG Gridley
Aging With Grace–The Health Club for Seniors can help you with all the suggestions in the article above. We help our members implement a healthy lifestyle and we invite our members to make a legal plan that we keep in their Wellness Map at the clubhouse, so we can help them carry out their definition of aging with grace 50+. If our members health fails to the point that they need help at home, we will be there for them, to do whatever they would like us to do to improve their health and quality of life.