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Are You a Solo Ager? Here is How to Plan Ahead

| Ageing

Are you an older adult living on your own without a spouse, partner, or adult children nearby? If so, you are a solo ager – and, to put an ironic twist on it, you are not alone! The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated that most older Australians (94.8%) were living in households in 2015, while one in twenty (5.2%) lived in cared accommodation such as nursing homes and aged care hostels. Over one-quarter (26.8%) of all older people lived alone.

Why Solo?

Older adults may be living alone for a variety of reasons. They may have never married or had children, they may have outlived their spouse or partner, or they may be divorced. Solo agers who are part of the LGBTQ+ community may be concerned about facing discrimination in group living settings.

Whatever the reason or combination of reasons, solo agers are a growing part of the population, and they will need to tackle the same planning tasks that couples or people with family support do including living arrangements, receiving care, socialising, and more.

We have listed a few important items that solo agers may need to consider and plan for.

Where To Live

Most older people today, solo or not, express the desire to live at home in their community rather than live in an assisted living or care home. If you wish to live at home, you should prepare the home itself for what is referred to as aging-in-place. Working with an aging-in-place expert, examine areas of your home that might benefit from safety devices, better lighting and related updates, including:

  • Bathrooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Cabinets
  • Entrances
  • Flooring
  • Kitchen
  • Seating
  • Stairs and steps
  • Wardrobes

At Right at Home, we encourage older adults to not only prepare their homes but also to create a plan B in case of illness or other circumstance that may dictate a move to a care home. Do the research now about where you might like to live and note who your local real-estate agents and downsizing firms are.

Home and Health Care Needs

Thanks to the wide availability of professional in-home care services, many solo agers enjoy living at home even if they need help around the house, with personal needs, or in-home health care.

In-home care services might include:

  • Specialty care, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia care, hospice support, Parkinson’s care, diabetes care, and respite support for family carers who need a break.
  • Companion care helps with chores around the home, such as cooking nutritious meals, light housekeeping, shopping, and safety supervision, as well as companionship inside or outside the home.
  • Personal care, whereby solo agers may find they need a little help with personal grooming, hygiene or getting out of bed.
  • Nursing care, such as medication setup and administration, catheter care, and vital signs monitoring and reporting to physician. Some Right at Home locations offer nursing care, so you will need to check with your local Right at Home office to see if they provide it.

Social Connections

Couples inherently benefit and enjoy their own friendships as well as the connections they make as a couple. Solo agers may also have busy social lives filled with friends and families. As you age in place, will your local friends be around, or will they move away? Will you still be able to visit long-distance friends or relatives?

Many older adults enjoy care homes and residential housing because of the social connections and activities they provide. On the other hand, you may find that you can maintain the social life you desire without moving.

It is a good idea to think through your closest friends and anticipate any changes that may affect your ability to see them. Fortunately, community connections like centres for older adults, churches and gyms, while members may come and go, offer a stable presence in older adults’ lives. 

Assistance With Planning 

Elder law attorneys, financial planners and geriatric care managers can help you do much of this planning especially when it comes to funding and what type of services will be required.

Home Care Packages 

Fortunately Australia also has the incredible advantage of Home Care Packages which help fund the support to older people in their home. Right at Home is an approved provider of Government Funded Home Care Packages. We are a quality provider providing care and support from levels 1 through to 4. We not only deliver the services but we do a thorough care assessment and then together with the client, agree a care plan. The care plan is reviewed every six months to accommodate changes in the client's condition and needs. Our care plan will include socialisation, home assistance and personal care and nursing as required. 

To see how Right at Home can help you navigate the system to qualify for a Home Care Package, call 1300 363 802 or visit www.rightathome.com.au for a free consultation. 

Keep up to date with COVID 19 information on the following links: 

Australian Government Department of Health 

Victorian Health and Human Services 

NSW Health 

Queensland Health 

ACT Health 

WA Department of Health 

Tasmanian Department of Health 

Northern Territory Department of Health 

SA Health 

Founded in 1995, Right at Home offers in-home companionship and personal care, and assistance to seniors (elderly and aged care), and any adult who needs our care at home including adults living with a disability who want to continue to live independently or age in their home. Right at Home is your local expert for issues related to caring for your loved ones and is dedicated to keeping you informed about home care. With no admin or subscription fees Right at Home allows you to get more care from your package or budget. 

Right at Home is a 'My Aged Care' government approved, home care provider for levels 1 – 4 and offers flexible in-home care services such as nursing care, after hospital care, post-operative care, respite care, dementia and Alzheimer's care. Right at Home also offers assistance with daily living and personal care such as grooming, hygiene, transport, shopping, meal prep, domestic services and social support, so your loved one can enjoy a more independent, vibrant life. Our nurses and caregivers are screened, highly trained, and insured prior to entering your home so you can trust us with the caregiving while you focus on your loved one. 

To find out more, please give us a call on 1300 363 802 or visit our website. 

Right at Home Offices in Australia: Brisbane Bayside; Brisbane North; Brisbane South; Brisbane West; Central Queensland & Wide Bay; Darling Downs; Far North Queensland; Gold Coast North; Gold Coast South; Greater Logan; Mackay; Moreton Bay Region; Noosa, Gympie & Hinterland; Sunshine Coast; Townsville; Central West New South Wales; Gosford; Hunter & Port Stephens; Macarthur Penrith; Newcastle; Northern Rivers; Padstow St George; Southern NSW; Sydney Central & Eastern Suburbs; Sydney Inner West; Sydney Liverpool; Sydney Lower North Shore; Sydney Norwest; Sydney Northern Beaches; Sydney Parramatta; Sydney Ryde; Sydney The Hills; Sydney Upper North Shore; Kalgoorlie Wheatbelt; Perth Como; Perth Midland; Perth Northern Suburbs; Perth West Coast; Southwest Victoria 

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