Approaching Retirement Alone? 3 Strategies to Stay Social, Happy and Healthy
Financial matters are the top concern for most women 60 and over. Recently, a research project by the National Council on Aging announced “unsurprising” data.
What Were the Study Results?
I’m not downplaying the study; however, members of my community more often than any other issue, say money and outliving their finances is their main worry.
The study names other worrisome factors like health care and prescription drug costs. The other two are being a burden to family and losing independence. Which is your biggest concern? Mine are money and health.
The 2019 Ipsos survey included 1227 U.S. adults aged 60 and older and was conducted on behalf of the National Council on Aging. It shows that seniors are especially concerned by health and finance-related matters.
The survey also highlights how much female and lower-income seniors are particularly prone to worry about financial security.
Why Are Women Most Affected by Financial Difficulties?
While caregiving, most women who help a loved one will risk losing their financial security because they quit or cut back on their work hours. By doing so, they forfeit contributing to their retirement funds and savings accounts. That happened to me but there are thousands of us in the same situation.
What can be more stressful than coming up close and personal to growing older with no one to help and worrying if you have any money to pay for life as a senior citizen?
In 2016, nearly 15 percent of women ages 40–44 hadn’t given birth and were childless. That’s a 5 percent increase from 1976, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A 2013 report from AARP projects that by 2040, about 21 percent of the older, disabled population will be childless.
The number of childless older people in the UK is expected to double by 2030, putting huge pressure on a health and social care system that is already struggling to support the vulnerable, warned Kirsty Woodard, founder of Ageing Well Without Children.
Where to Find Support
If you’re in this situation, have you thought about how you will find help and support in the years ahead? The members in my group talk about it a lot.
But it’s not just the child-free individuals who think about it; so do the women with adult children due to estrangement or living hundreds and even thousands of miles apart.
It’s a sore reminder but one that we must think about.
A study conducted in my Facebook group by an academic professor revealed other factors for individuals to think about and even plan for:
- To identify a caregiver who would help if you become ill or disabled;
- To find a trusted person to help you cope with life’s challenges, like medical and financial decisions;
- To have access to someone in case there’s a crisis;
- To find people to socialize with to avoid loneliness;
- To mitigate your chances of developing chronic conditions.
When you create a plan to tackle these issues, then you’re less confused and uncertain about handling them in the coming years.
Here are three strategies I use to help me, and hopefully, they will get you moving in the right direction. You can use this strategy no matter the concern or issue.
First, identify and select one top concern you are now struggling with or have deep concerns about.
Secondly, list the reasons why you want to change. For me, it was health. After giving care to Mom and Dad, I knew if I was unhealthy later on, dealing with multiple chronic illnesses, I would be in a world of hurt since I have no one to rely on for help like my parents had.
Identify What Intensifies the Issue
Then, assess the factors of the issue or concern – here’s where you’ll go deeper. If you want to avoid chronic illness, like I did, then the factors that affect health conditions are tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, blood pressure, physical inactivity, cholesterol, unhealthy diet, and blood glucose – a few of the factors I addressed when planning for a better health.
Or if you want a larger support system – what are you willing to do to increase that system of support? Are you willing to leave your house, join a Meetup group? What are you willing to invest to make this happen? You see, no one will do it for you. It’s up to you to get going in the right direction.
Above all, shift your mindset from problem solving to a possibility focus. That can be done by asking questions that open your thinking to possibilities. The favorite ones that I use are: “Why does this issue exist?” and, “What might be an interesting new way to come at this challenge?”
How are you planning to age alone? Do you have a support system? What are your major concerns and how do you plan to cope with the issues that will come your way? Please share your thoughts with our community!