Wednesday, July 4, 2018
Residents of nursing homes are usually over-joyed when their adult children come to visit them, often with grandchild or even great grandchildren in tow. Many of the residents tear up when they see pictures of their later generations hitting milestones, and love being taken to an relaxing lunch or family holiday event.
But what about the Baby Boomers without families? Why do almost 20% of Baby Boomers do not have children? When the political changes of the 1960's and 1970's allowed women different avenues for birth control and careers, they hopped on eagerly. These newly independent women could decide to forgo having children at all, or got married with plans to start a family but ended up becoming divorced. Thousands more have become estranged from their children for different and personal reasons. These women and their male counterparts are now reaching their 70's and 80's and are aging alone.
Older adults that are isolated have a higher risk of loneliness and earlier death, so planning is important when a person realizes they may be alone during their later years. "Starting in their mid-fifties, and certainly by their early seventies, solo agers should be contemplating where they want to spend their latest years." If the answer is a retirement community, much of the challenge of isolation and loneliness disappear. If a person wants to stay in their home, becoming a member of a virtual community may be amazingly beneficial.
See Sara Zeff Geber, Millions of Baby Boomers will Retire and Age Solo, Forbes, July 2, 2018.
Special thanks to Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.