How to plan care for your later years when you’re aging solo

April 11, 2018

Here at Iona, we’ve encountered many people who lack the traditional support system that so many older adults rely on as they age. We call it aging solo—and it’s not as uncommon as you might think. In fact, the New York Times recently reported that there’s a growing number of older Americans who are living alone, unmarried, and childless. Instead, they’re aging solo.

In the article, “Single? No Kids? Don’t Fret: How to Plan Care in Your Later Years,” the New York Times outlined a number of ways that you can build your own support network and make plans now (when you’re still independent and functional) in case a crisis occurs in the future.

These plans could include making a move to an accessible and age-friendly community, signing up for home-delivered products or services, or hiring experts in elder care.

If you read the story (or, read it here now), you may have noticed Iona’s very own Iona Care Management services were referenced as a valuable tool for individuals who don’t have someone to oversee their care.

Iona Care Management is comprised of a team of experienced, licensed social workers and nurse care managers who have a deep knowledge of local resources and issues related to aging. Care Managers can be on call for health crises and coordinate care if needed. For those who are aging solo, having a care manager on call provides great peace of mind.

Though the article only touched on Iona Care Management, it is not Iona’s only service that helps you if you’re aging solo. We have programs that support adults of all income levels and needs.

Our goal is to help you go from aging solo to aging in community. What that means is that we’ll support your aging solo by not only helping you to 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.

Community: Many of our programs encourage social connection. Iona’s free Active Wellness Program at St. Alban’s welcomes men and women from diverse backgrounds all over the District 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: If you’re aging solo, but don’t currently need help, a good option for you may be Iona’s Care Management Services. A care manager can serve as your expert advisor, giving you individualized guidance as you plan for the future. As previously mentioned, 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 individuals that meet eligibility requirements.

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

4 thoughts on “How to plan care for your later years when you’re aging solo”

  1. I’m a 70-year-old woman. I’ve recently had several falls. I live on my own, unmarried, no children. I belong to the Cleveland & Woodley Park Village, but the only thing they can do is drive me to and from medical appointments. My medical power of attorney is seldom reachable and it is doubtful she would come in an emergency. I may have to hire an advocate. Although my apartment is small, my condo building is being made accessible with renovated ramps and elevators. I can walk to most things, and nearby dry cleaners and grocery stores provide delivery service. I need to know now if I need to hire a home health aide–the agencies have a minimum number of hours per day and per week–and if I should consult a social worker. I am in general good health.

    1. Hi Marcia,

      Thanks very much for your comment. Someone from Iona will contact you directly about your questions. Sincerely,
      Rosie Aquila
      Communications & Marketing Manager

  2. Growing old is hard especially when you don’t have the traditional support system that older adults must have. Thanks for sharing these programs and services that can make aging solo much easier. We’ve included this in our monthly roundup to help our readers find the best solutions to aging and long term care. You can check it here:

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