According to the Institute on Aging, 47% of women aged 75 or older lived alone in 2010. And 95% of the women polled in the Sixty and Me community admitted they’d rather live alone as a senior than in a managed care community. It seems that senior women who are no longer in relationships want – and enjoy – their independence and feel that living alone lets them simplify every aspect of their lives. But, how can they still accept help when needed without compromising their independence?
The Choice to Live Alone – And Stay Happy
Whether a woman chose the single life through divorce or never marrying, or found her way there after the death of a spouse, it seems that a good portion of them enjoy the single lifestyle. Senior women are choosing to remain in a house by themselves rather than move in with their grown children or other relatives, or enter a nursing home or managed care community.
In fact, independence is important to senior health, as it builds confidence, reduces the risk of depression, keeps them active, and can even prevent dwindling cognitive function.
Accepting Help When Necessary
If you’re a senior woman who enjoys a simple, independent lifestyle, you obviously aren’t alone. Relatives do have valid concerns, though, related to the desire for complete independence in the seniors they love. Senior women who have deep-rooted pride in their independence may find it difficult to accept help from others, even when they know they need it. Fortunately, you can find a good balance between being independent and taking necessary help without hurting their self-esteem. It’s worth noting that there is no shame in changing your mind at any point either. Even if you’ve chosen to live by yourself for many years and then decide for whatever reason that you would prefer the security of living in assisted care, it is perfectly understandable that you might want to make a change.
For those that do prefer to remain at home, automated calling systems are a good way for others to check in on you without being intrusive. Someone from a local police department makes a quick daily phone call to make sure you have what you need and are safe. You can also accept help with chores that can start to become difficult as you age, like yard work or grocery shopping. It’s not necessary to have a caregiver help you with things you can do effortlessly on your own. But, allowing well-meaning people who respect your need for independence to help you occasionally with more complicated tasks can keep you safe, healthy, and happy.