Living Alone After 70: Addressing Common Concerns and How To Maintain an Enriching Life
It’s not uncommon for those in their 70s and beyond to feel concerned about living alone.
With all the changes and challenges that come with aging, it can be hard for many seniors to feel as though they are living an enriching life after retirement.
If you (or your loved one) can relate, you’ve come to the right place.
In this guide, we’re discussing if living alone at 70 and beyond is something to worry about, the most common concerns seniors or their loved ones have, and how to continue living a purposeful life.
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Is Living Alone at 70 Cause for Concern?
Seniors living alone is more common than many might realize, especially in the United States.
According to a recent study done by the Pew Research Center, 12 million seniors over the age of 65 live alone. Reasons seniors are living alone at 70 years old and beyond vary, but tend to be due to:
- Choosing to age in place
- Death of a spouse
- Having no family nearby
For many seniors, “aging in place,” or living in their home as they age, is something that they strive to do — but is it safe? Should those who are 70+ and their loved ones be concerned?
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t black and white.
Read on for the most common concerns for those living alone at 70 and beyond.
What Are Common Concerns for Those Living Alone at 70 and Beyond?
For those living alone at 70 years old and beyond, safety is often a major concern.
But what are some of the most common safety concerns for seniors living alone at 70 and above? Let’s take a look.
We’ve all seen the Life Alert commercials where a senior falls and yells …
“Help! I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!”
… and although it may seem like a dramatic commercial to some, it’s a harsh reality that falling or acquiring an injury is a big concern for seniors, especially those living alone.
According to the CDC, more than one in four seniors experience a fall each year. About half of these falls take place in the home and require hospitalization.
Living alone at 70 years old and beyond isn’t easy to do. Aside from injury and fall concerns, medication management is also a large safety issue.
One study found that 40% of seniors take at least five prescription medications, and many seniors who need prescription medications don’t take them correctly.
Falling Victim to Scams and Theft
For many seniors and their loved ones, a large safety concern, especially during a time with so much technology, is falling victim to scammers and thieves.
Seniors living alone at 70 and beyond are oftentimes considered “easy targets.”
According to the FBI, seniors are commonly the target of scammers and thieves because they:
- Are more trusting and polite
- Tend to be financially set with savings, a good credit score, and their own homes; or
- Are unaware of how to report fraud or scams
#2: Loneliness & Isolation
One of the other large concerns for those living alone after 70?
Loneliness and isolation.
In fact, according to research, more than 40 percent of seniors experience loneliness — and the concern is justified.
Social wellness is vital to your health, no matter what your age. The consequences of living in isolation or dealing with feelings of loneliness as a senior can be detrimental.
Some accompanying health risks include:
- Higher rates of depression, anxiety, and even suicide
- Risk of premature death
- Mental health decline
- 50% increased chance of dementia
- And more
For many seniors, living alone as an elder can cause severe loneliness or leave them feeling isolated because they:
- Don’t have any family support; or
- May not have the assistance they need to join in community events or participate in activities they enjoy
At Senior Services of America, we understand that many seniors living alone at 70 and beyond may looking into assisted living, not because they cannot care for themselves but because they are looking for a sense of …
- Purpose; and
At Senior Services of America, we are honored to help seniors remember their purpose and regain their sense of self. We never want residents of our communities to feel isolated and alone.
Keep reading to learn some of our top tips for continuing to live a life “well-lived” — even after the age of 70.
Top Tips for Living a Purposeful Life at 70 and Beyond
#1: Stay Involved in the Community
If you (or your loved one) are looking for ways to avoid feeling isolated or are combating feelings of loneliness, one of the best things to do is to stay involved in the community.
Whether that means joining in on activities with friends of their own generation, or participating in events with people the age of their kids or even grandkids, staying involved in the community gives older adults a chance to re-invest in themselves.
And there are some very simple ways that people over 70 can get involved in their communities — let’s look at some of the most common.
If you, or your loved one, isn’t looking to live in an assisted living or skilled care facility, volunteering at one is a great way to meet other people and still feel fulfilled.
But the volunteer options don’t stop there.
Consider volunteering at a local:
- Soup kitchen
- National park
- Library; or
Qualified seniors may even consider becoming foster grandparents, where they’ll have the opportunity to:
- Mentor students
- Care for infants, even
- Guide young mothers looking for help.
No matter what your age, moving your body and staying active is one of the best ways to:
- Maintain flexibility
- Promote endorphin production; and
- Reduce stress
For those living alone at 70, exercise classes or groups can be especially beneficial to:
- Keep their blood moving
- Maintain their strength or flexibility, and
- Encourage independence
These activities don’t have to be anything overly exerting, and can be as simple as:
- Walking with group
- Water aerobics
- Restorative/modified yoga
- Dance classes
- Tai Chi
- Bodyweight training
- And more
If you, or your loved one, is interested in attending a senior fitness class or group in your area, reach out to your local …
- YMCA or other fitness centers
- Senior center; or
- Even your local church
… and discuss the type of program you might be interested in.
Don’t Be Afraid to Try a New Hobby
No matter how old we are, learning something new is a great way to keep our minds sharp and gives us the chance to meet others with similar interests.
Attending a new class or workshop to spark creativity or get involved with others could mean joining a …
- Woodworking; or
- Music Class
… or finding a hobby you enjoy doing regularly.
#2: Continue Healthy Habits
Aside from staying active, one of the biggest things those living alone after 70 can do to continue living a healthy and purposeful life is to maintain good habits.
What does this look like? Simple steps like:
- Taking care of your appearance. “Look good, feel good” is a common phrase that doesn’t have to change as we age. This is as simple as …
- Drinking water regularly
- Getting dressed each morning; or
- Continue daily skin routines
… whatever it takes to make you feel like yourself.
- Maintaining a nutritious diet. Cooking for one might feel less enjoyable or even overwhelming. Eating dinner alone, for some, reminds them that they are alone. And for many seniors, appetites change, and eating regular, healthy meals becomes less of a priority. Nourishing your body is one of the best things you can do to promote health and independence. Consider reaching out to members of your community to meet for dinner weekly, or enjoy a meal subscription box that makes cooking nutritious meals easy and convenient. Take small steps to make meals enjoyable.
#3: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Living alone at 70 and beyond can be difficult. Daily tasks become harder, and oftentimes, elders are afraid to ask for help.
While some seniors might have friends and family nearby, others living alone don’t have people they are comfortable asking to help them with:
- Home maintenance
- Transportation, and
Thankfully, there are many resources available to seniors. Some of these programs include:
Each of these programs offers seniors a way to get the help they need with daily situations while maintaining their independence.
Worried About Living Alone at 70 and Beyond? Make the Most of Your Senior Years at a Senior Services of America Community
If you (or your loved one) are concerned about living alone at 70 years old and beyond, it’s important to know that options are available to help you continue to lead a healthy, purposeful life.
Whether you’re searching for volunteer opportunities or you’re ready to make the most of your retirement years — without having to worry about home maintenance, transportation, and other daily needs — Senior Services of America can help.
Our senior living communities offer seniors the chance to be part of an environment that provides:
- Social opportunities
- Craft rooms; and
Senior Services of America communities are known for their friendly atmosphere and welcoming community.
We believe that your age doesn’t determine your quality of life, which is why we are committed to providing seniors a safe place to live while maintaining their independence and the ability to come and go as they please.
Ready to learn more about how we can help you (or your loved one) maintain your independence and purpose as you age? Find your nearest community today to contact an advisor.