From Aging Solo to Aging in Community

August 8, 2019

Here at Iona, we encounter many people who lack a support system of family or close friends to rely on as they age. We call it aging solo—and it’s not as uncommon as you might think. If this sounds like you, there are a number of ways that you can build your own support network, and plan ahead now.

When making a plan, you might need to consider how you envision living in the future, and what support you may need. Consider the help you may need in the areas of finance, legal support, medical care, and more. Specifically, here are some questions to consider when mapping your plan for the future:

  • What services or planning do I need to age in my home?
  • Should I make a move?
  • Would I consider moving to a Continuing Care Retirement Community or assisted living?
  • Can I afford care if I need it?
  • What sources of funding are available to me?
  • Do I have long term care insurance?
  • Do I have an Advance Healthcare Directive?
  • Do I have a financial Power of Attorney (POA)?
  • Do I have someone I trust who I can give my user names and passwords for online accounts to?
  • Can I identify someone to come to the hospital to be my communicator or advocate?
  • Have I researched services like Care Management or tapped into my local Village?
  • Would I benefit from a consultation with an expert?

If you’re aging solo, Iona has programs that support adults of all income levels and needs. Our goal is to help you go from aging solo to aging in community. We will not only help you navigate changes in your health or functional ability, but also help you tap into or build meaningful relationships. Some of the ways we do this include:

Education: Iona’s Take Charge/ Age Well Academy offers presentations and workshops on critical topics like legal planning, deciding among housing options (aging in place or making a move), how to pay for care, and how to build a social support network.

We even have a series specifically on Aging Solo and how to age well while aging alone. If you don’t quite have the answer to any of the questions above, you can register at the link for our next Aging Solo series, which begins on Wednesday, September 4th.

Community: Many of our programs encourage social connection. Iona’s Active Wellness Program at St. Alban’s welcomes DC residents over 60 for discussions, films, field trips, fitness, and lunch. We also provide social events for our Take Charge/Age Well Academy alumni. Or, you might get involved by volunteering with us.

Direct support: Another good option for aging solo may be Iona’s Care Management Services. Iona Care Management consists of a team of experienced, licensed social workers and nurse care managers who have deep knowledge of local resources and aging-related issues. Care Managers can be on call for health crises and coordinate care if needed. Even if you aren’t currently in need of help, a care manager can serve as your expert advisor providing individualized guidance. This fee-based service can also ensure a case manager is available to assist you in the event of a health crisis down the line. Additionally, we offer free subsidized case management services to eligible individuals. Having a Care Manager on call provides great peace of mind.

If you’re feeling anxious or unsure about your social support as you age, you’re not alone.

Iona can help. To learn more about our services and speak with a social worker, we encourage you to contact our Helpline. Iona’s Helpline is open Monday – Friday from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Call (202) 895-9448 or email info@iona.org.

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