Planning for the Future as a Solo Ager

Senior woman with laptop.
This strong and self-reliant group faces a few distinct concerns in aging.

Baby boomers without children of their own can now boast a new title: solo agers. This strong and self-reliant group faces a few distinct concerns in aging, chiefly who to designate as guardian and decision-maker if they become unable to do so themselves. Inside her book, Essential Retirement Planning for Solo Agers, author Sara Zeff Geber, Ph.D. outlines several options to consider:

  1. Sift through your support system. Usually, a solo ager’s spouse would be the natural option for guardianship and also to make critical decisions pertaining to health care, but it’s worthwhile to have at least one and preferably two younger alternate options. Consider brother or sisters and their children, friends, and neighbors, considering whether or not each candidate holds comparable values and is also a person you are able to fully trust to make decisions in accordance with your wishes.
  2. Hire a professional guardian. Professional guardians, also called private guardians or professional fiduciaries, are getting to be increasingly popular for solo agers. If considering this option, it’s necessary to interview several candidates to make sure they’ve got the required knowledge and experience, and don’t forget to ask for references. Check with your attorney for recommendations, or the National Guardianship Association or Professional Fiduciary Association in your state.
  3. Accept a court-appointed guardian. If a solo ager hasn’t already selected a guardian and is suddenly unable to make care-related and/or financial decisions, a probate court will designate a guardian to handle his or her affairs.

When checking out potential guardians, gather answers to questions such as:

  • How much time have you been in practice?
  • Have you been certified by the National Guardian Association?
  • Have you been bonded and insured?
  • What would be the succession plan if you predecease me?
  • Are criminal background checks performed on all of your current employees?
  • What is your familiarity with the particular health conditions I’m facing?
  • What are your fees, and just how often will I be billed?

After your guardian option has been determined, make sure your attorney updates your existing (or creates a brand new) durable power of attorney or advance medical care directive, will, and durable power of attorney for finances.

For more help in planning for long-term care needs, contact the Dallas home health care professionals at Heaven at Home Senior Care. We are able to partner with seniors to produce a plan of care to ensure needs are fully met now and can keep on being met effectively as needs change in the many years to come, always in accordance with each individual’s wishes. Give us a call at 866-381-0500 for more information.