When she was in her forties and fifties, Maria Thompson, 66, never gave much thought to getting older. “Aging seemed a little distance away,” she says. “I didn’t take it that seriously.”
Recently, Maria retired and had to start watching her spending. Her relationships with family were also strained. “I started wondering, ‘How am I going to age by myself?’” she says.
Several months into the pandemic, Maria received an email about Aging Solo—Iona’s six-week online series that addresses the practical
aspects of planning for aging. “I wanted to learn what I needed
to do to put myself in a position where in old age and death I don’t
impose on anyone,” she says.
“At first I was overwhelmed,” says Maria. “But I started hammering
through the booklet, and I called Iona’s Helpline. It helped me make some real concrete decisions.”
One of the biggest changes in Maria’s life since taking Aging Solo has been downsizing her apartment. “Because of Aging Solo, I knew that now was the time to do it,” she says. “I’m glad I did. There was so much stuff I didn’t want, need, or even remember I had!”
Aging Solo has also played an important role in helping Maria strengthen her social network. “I have been much more proactive in solidifying my friendships and family ties—which is a major step for me,” she says. “I have gotten much closer to my sisters, aunts, cousins, and nieces, and it has made me feel so connected.”
“Every person aged 55 and older should take Aging Solo,” says Maria. “It’s a very important program.”