Showing posts with label single seniors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label single seniors. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Tips for Boomers Who Live Alone

Sooner or later, the majority of people will spend some time living alone.  Even if you are currently married, it is likely that one of you will outlive the other.  "Gray" divorce, involving people over the age of 50, is also becoming more common.  Most of the time, single Baby Boomers are quite capable of handling this living arrangement and may even enjoy the freedom that they have.

However, it is likely that there will also be times when most single seniors will wish they had someone else around to lend them a helping hand, especially when they are sick, have surgery, or when they are dealing with other types of life emergencies. 

These are the times when you need to have a plan.  Below are some suggestions to make life easier for you when you go through these difficult times.

Preparing for Emergencies When You Live Alone

Everyone should know how to order their groceries online or by phone.  This will make life so much easier if you are sick or recovering from surgery.  Practice by ordering your groceries this way once in a while, for example when the weather is bad and you don't want to get out.  Then you will know exactly what to do when the time comes that you have to order your groceries.  You won't be trying to learn something new when you are already under stress.

Meals on Wheels - In addition to being able to order your groceries, you may also want to investigate the local Meals on Wheels service.  Many of these organizations will provide meals temporarily to people who are recovering from surgery or permanently for people who are experiencing other issues such as severe arthritis that could make it difficult for them to prepare their own meals.  In addition, it can be comforting to know that someone will check on you each day when they deliver the meals.  You will probably be asked to donate between $2 and $8 per day for the meals, but the service is well worth it.

Medical Alert Devices - Meals, of course, not the only problem you might have when you live alone.  As you age, one of the biggest risks you will face is from falling.  You could also suffer from other medical emergencies, such as experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack or a stroke.  As a result, people who spend a lot of time alone may want to invest in a medical alert pendant.  There are a variety of companies that offer this service, such as the GreatCall Medical Alert Device.  Depending on the company you choose, the service that is connected to your medical alert device (for a small monthly fee) will be able to connect you with 911, a nurse, a neighbor or the relative of your choosing, so you can quickly get help when you need it. Make sure you compare several brands and choose the device that suits your lifestyle.  Some only work when you are in or near your home.  Others work off a GPS system, which means you can use them wherever you are ... on a trip, while taking a walk, or at the local mall. 

Medical Alert Engraved Bracelets - If you have a condition such as epilepsy or diabetes that could cause you to pass out or have a seizure, it would be wise to wear a bracelet that identifies your medical condition and any other relevant information that would be useful to emergency personnel, in the event you cannot speak.  You can order medical alert bracelets online, although you may want to talk to your doctor first about specifically what information you will want to include on your bracelet.

Transportation can be another issue when you live alone.  What happens if you lose your drivers license or if there is simply a short period of time when you cannot drive ... because of foot surgery, for example?  Many communities offer transportation services in the form of buses that will come directly to your home or low cost taxi vouchers.  Some communities even have volunteers who will drive seniors to medical appointments.   Contact your local senior center or city hall to find out what transportation resources are available in your area.

Online Banking - Learn how to pay your bills by using online banking and have your Social Security, pensions and other sources of income automatically deposited.  This will dramatically simplify bill paying for you.  I even know of people who have all their bills charged to their credit card and then they simply pay that one credit card bill each month.  I advise this only for people who do not overspend and end up with a credit card bill that is more than they can afford. Either way, learning how to use online banking will save you money on stamps and reduce the time you need to spend paying bills.  In fact, many of your bills can be set up to be automatically paid every month, with no additional effort from you.  That means you will not forget to pay a bill, especially if you are sick or hospitalized for a period of time.

Try to build up a circle of friends who you see periodically.  Not only is the socialization important for people who live alone, but it is reassuring to know that there are people who would miss you and come looking for you if you unexpectedly did not show up for a routine get-together.  You may want to take a class, form a walking group, join a book club, or get involved in similar activities.  Have coffee with a neighbor once a week.  Volunteer at the library or your local senior center.  These types of activities will also help you fight one of the biggest issues for people as they age ... loneliness.

Phone calls, emails and text messages are other ways that you can stay connected.  As you age, you may want to contact an adult child, a sibling, or a close friend several times a week, just to reassure them that you are OK.  In some communities, you can sign up to have an automated phone call made to your home every day at a certain time, when you are virtually always at home ... such as 7:00 in the morning or 10:00 in the evening.  If you do not answer, they will send someone out to check on you.

Household help - If possible, hire a person or two who can help you around your house ... with cleaning, yard work, pool maintenance or similar services.  This will give you at least one more person who will be checking on you periodically.  In addition, it will make it less likely that you will get injured doing something risky or stressful ... such as shoveling snow, washing windows on a ladder, cleaning your gutters, etc. 

Finally, put together a list of emergency numbers and keep it in a prominent place.  You may also want to keep a copy in your car and carry one in your purse or wallet.  Make sure it contains contact numbers for your doctors, relatives, neighbors and anyone else you might need to reach in an emergency.  When you are upset or confused, it could be difficult to remember even familiar phone numbers.  In addition, if you are unconscious, this list could make it easier for others to get in touch with your family or physicians.

In addition, add ICE as a connection on your cellphone.  That stands for: In Case of Emergency.  Then, enter the phone number of someone who should be contacted in an emergency.  Emergency personnel have been trained to check your phone for this entry, if you should be found unconscious or incapacitated in some way.  

Taking the right precautions will make it much easier for you to live comfortably alone and could postpone the time when you will have to move into assisted living ... which most of us want to postpone as long as possible.

If you want other helpful retirement planning information, check out the tabs at the top of this article.  They contain links to hundreds of other useful articles.

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Saturday, May 3, 2014

New Blog for the Single Retiree

There are so many new adventures in store for people who are retired or planning to retire soon, that it is nearly impossible to cover every possible scenario.  That is one reason why I periodically introduce my readers to new books, articles or blogs that I think you will find helpful.  I have no desire to limit your research to just the articles I have written.  My goal is to expand your horizons and knowledge as much as possible.

In fact, I feel that one of the benefits of reading my blog is that I try to either summarize the information I discover and save you time, or I try to provide you with direct links to sources of information that would be too cumbersome to summarize on this blog.  In this way, I feel that I am providing my readers with comprehensive retirement information from a wide range of sources.  I hope to be the one site you can come to for all types of useful resources to help you get the most out of your senior years.

With that thought in mind, today I want to introduce you to a new blog that was recently started by a friend of mine.  It is:

As you can guess from the title, Elizabeth, the author of the blog, discusses some of the joys and challenges of being a single retiree.  For example, she recently covered the problem of grocery shopping for yourself when you live alone and you have injuries or medical issues that could make it difficult for you to shop for your own groceries.  She explains how online grocery shopping works.

I found this article, and others that she has written, to be interesting and I thought that some of the readers of my blog might also be interested in following Elizabeth.  I hope that you will bookmark both of our blogs on your computer and check back frequently.

After all, it is quite likely that many of us will spend as least part of our retirement as a single person, either because of divorce or the death of a spouse.  Knowing how others have addressed the challenges could make life much easier for us.

I hope you enjoy her blog and consider it an enhancement to what you are learning from mine.  Meanwhile, I will continue to read and research more information that I believe you will find useful.

If you are retired, or planning to retired soon, be sure to use the tabs at the top of this blog to find links to hundreds of additional articles on where to retire in the United States and overseas, financial planning, medical issues, family relationships, travel and more.

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