Addressing women’s concerns about planning for their future

Recently, a female friend asked me if there is a book she can read to learn about the things she should be doing to plan now that she is getting older. She mentioned that she has other single female friends of varying ages, who are also wondering the same thing. 

The responsibility of planning for our future can be daunting, especially when you may not have close family to lean on for support, and the belief that we’ve covered all our bases is often a misjudgment.

As a society, we are not very good at thinking and planning for what may happen in the future.

I began by asking my friend what she had done around (what I consider to be) the two most important planning tools. First, I asked her if she had designated a medical power of attorney – someone her doctors could confer with if she were very sick or hospitalized and needed help in sorting out her medical options.

Then I asked her the same question as it pertains to designating a legal and financial power of attorney. Have you named someone who can pay your bills or sign up for services on your behalf?

While there are some good books out there to guide us in planning, like Essential Retirement Planning for Solo Agers by Dr. Sara Zeff Geber, many older women may not pick up the book because they have been retired for years and don’t feel they need advice on how to retire. I think a better title for the book could be Essential Life Planning for Solo Agers, and that might help it to reach a broader audience.

A book may open our eyes to “the things we should be doing,” but I really believe women having conversations about what hurdles they may face in their future, and talking about what plans they may make address them, is invaluable.

I wonder how many older women who are aging alone have thought about what they would do if they faced a sudden serious illness or debilitating accident? How many have thought about what they would do if they could no longer drive, or go to the store to feed themselves?

Even if married, older women statistically will outlive their husbands. If the husband keeps track of the money and the bills, or manages important household tasks, how will these get done when he is gone?

My column about our world getting smaller since COVID resonated with a lot of people. Many readers told me they were feeling the same way. How will we remain engaged with the world and continue being social as we get older?

I read a statistic the other day that older adults are by far the highest percentage of souls lost during natural disasters like wildfires. How will we ensure our safety in the future, especially if we live alone?

And the reason I think the legal, medical, and financial power of attorney documents are so important is because it is my belief that all of us want our choices and wishes honored, no matter what our condition. If we can’t make it happen, we need someone we can count on to do that for us.

I’d like to open dialogue between older women who have these concerns on their mind.  

On Tuesday, October 10, Senior Concerns will host a Solo Aging workshop from 3:00 – 4:30 pm at 401 Hodencamp Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91361.

Women, age 65+, who have concerns or questions about what they should be doing to ensure they have the right plans in place for their future are invited. The event is free, donations will be welcome.

Space will be limited to the first 40 people who call or email to register. Please email info@seniorconcerns.org or call 805-497-0189.  You may only register for yourself. If you have friends who want to attend, they will need to register themselves.

Our goal at this first session will be to uncover the most important concerns of attendees. We will then plan future workshops to bring in experts for guided dialogue on those topics.

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Categories: Elder ConcernsNumber of views: 489

Tags: solo aging

Andrea GallagherAndrea Gallagher

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